What is disabled students allowance, how to apply, etc

  • 9 Replies
  • 3062 Views

Sofie

  • *
  • Guest
Disabled students allowance is given to students in higher education who have a disability (including specific learning disabilities, such as Dyslexia, mental health problems and physical disabilities) and need extra support with their studies.

What will disabled students allowance pay for?
This is entirely dependent on what a disabled student requires. This can include non-medical helpers, such as a note taker, specialist software, a computer, printer, scanner, etc.

They will not pay for expenses unrelated to studying (such as expenses for medical appointments) or expenses that non-disabled students will require.

How to apply:
You need to fill in a form. With this form, you must send in medical evidence. If you're applying due to a learning disability, the assessment must be done after you're 16.

The assessment:
You have an assessment to decide what help would benefit you. You will be asked questions about how you currently manage (if applicable) where you currently study. If you require equipment such as a dictaphone, you will be given a chance to play around on this to see how it feels.

After the assessment:
A report goes to you and a report goes to your funding body, who will then decide whether the equipment is reasonable. You will then receive a letter stating whether they agree. You can then order your equipment.

The whole process can sometimes take quite a while. It took around 6 months for my first application, which managed to completely mess up the first 2 months of uni. It didn't take long for my second application to be sorted out.

Any other questions, just ask.

Sunshine Meadows

  • *
  • Global Moderator
  • Super Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 8009
Quote
The whole process can sometimes take quite a while.

Very good point because it does pay to plan ahead and have an idea of what can be done if you DSA is delayed.

http://www.direct.gov.uk/en/DisabledPeople/EducationAndTraining/HigherEducation/DG_10034898

There is more information on the link.

Thank you for starting the thread Sofie, it is good to have people who have claimed DSA posting in this part of Ouch Too  >thumbsup<

Sofie

  • *
  • Guest
If your equipment is late, speak to your uni. Mine lent me a voice recorder for a few weeks until mine came through.

If you need to, you are able to request equipment / non-medical helpers after your report. I sort of managed without a notetaker for the first term and asked for one for the second term; as it was getting difficult.

devine63

  • *
  • Guest
Hi

some additional points:

It is a great idea to go and visit your intended Uni (and I don't mean on a routine open day) - contact the disability service there and ask them to organise a prospective visit for you, ideally do this before you submit your application to UCAS.

if you are applying for DSAs ideally I would suggest you start in the March / April BEFORE your course starts in the Autumn, to allow time for the process to be completed.  Most people have to apply to the STudent Loans Company (Student Finance England) but some people on health related courses need to apply to the NHS Bursaries Unit.  The Uni Disability Service will help you sort out which one to apply to.

If you have a specific learning difference you will need TWO assessments - the first one to diagnose the SpLD is usually done by a Chartered Educational Psychologist and must be completed after you turn 16.  The diagnostic assessment CANNOT be paid for the the DSAs, so you need to talk to your Uni or college about help with funding that.  This diagnosis replaces the need for medical evidence.

  The second one is the Needs assessment - which almost all DSA applicants will need to do - it involves going to one of the Assessment Centres dotted around the country and talking to an assessor who will help you work out what you need from the DSAs and will write that up as a report full of recommendations.

The DSAs can pay for specialist equipment, various kinds of helpers (e.g. dyslexia tutor, mentor, notetaker, BSL interpreter), some other costs such as ink cartridges and paper, and the ADDITIONAL travel costs associated with studying (they subtract the costs others have to pay).

The DSAs cannot pay for personal care or domestic assistance - if you need that the funding comes from Social Services / DLA etc just as it does at any other time in your life.   Many Universities have adapted accommodation which can be suitable for most people.

regards, Deb

devine63

  • *
  • Guest


I forgot to add: the University has obligations above and beyond helping you get the DSAs, so if your funding is delayed talk to the Uni Disability Service about what they can do to help.
regards, Deb

Sofie

  • *
  • Guest
Some disability charities (such as RNIB) also do the assessments for DSA.

ally

  • *
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 517
If you are Deaf, and, need Note takers, or, more importantly an Interpreter, make sure that this is in place before starting your course.  Quite a few years ago, I started a BA Social Worker course at University. because I wanted to be a Social Worker for the Deaf.  However, I couldn't get an Interpreter.  The DSA at the University did try, but, to no avail.  Eventually, the stress of getting nothing from the course got to me, and, I changed over to another course where I could rely on my friend taking notes. (I read the notes during the lectures etc)  Part of the Social Work course was placements etc which I couldn't do due to the lack of an Interpreter.  I couldn't believe what happened, I still can't, especially as the lectures were about equality and Disability discrimination etc.  :-(

devine63

  • *
  • Guest
Hi Alli

sorry to hear you had such an experience, but you are right, there is a problem in getting enough properly qualified BSL interpreters because the few qualified ones that there are are kept very busy by the courts and hospitals.   For example at one point there were only 40 Level 4 qualified BSL Interpreters in the south of England - which is nowhere near enough!   Most unis don't get any where near enough deaf applicants to justify employing Interpreters on the staff, so we are dependent on agencies - and then we have to book weeks and weeks ahead and pay hourly rates which are often above 60 per hour.

There are a few Unis which have some Interpreters on the staff - mostly Bristol, Central Lancs and Sheffield Hallum for example.  They tend to be the ones who teach Deaf Studies - so they have built up a Deaf community among their students.
regards, Deb

ally

  • *
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 517
Thanks for your reply.  One of the reasons I got on the course, was because I was the first Deaf person to apply.  However, once on the course I had the feeling they expected me to be hearing!!  It was impossible to continue without an Interpreter.  I had lots of meetings, in fact too many, but, without help it was useless.  I did feel a failure at the time, but, looking back I doubt any one else would be able to cope in the same situation.  So, again I can't stress enough how important it is for someone who is Deaf to make sure an Interpreter is in place before starting the course.  Also, make sure your Disabled Student Allowance can cover the cost of Interpreters, Note takers, etc.  Unfortunately, being a Deaf Student can be very costly.  :-(

devine63

  • *
  • Guest
It's very common for a Deaf student's support costs to exceed the DSAs funding available.  However, the Uni's Disability Service should be able to help you identify additional sources of funding (e.g. the access to learning fund; charities sometimes help; sometimes bursaries and scholarships are available; and ultimately, the Uni may have to chip in to cover some of the costs).
regards, Deb