Starting a higher education journey can be really
exciting, but many students have concerns
about how they’ll manage and the support
they’ll get. This worry is particularly pronounced
for students with learning difficulties, mental
health issues or disabilities who may be used
to comprehensive support at school through
their Education and Health Care Plan (EHCP).
However, there is a wealth of support available,
including the Disabled Students Allowance, or
The Disabled Students Allowance is provided to help with extra costs a student might incur as a direct result of a disability. All the support provided by the DSA is based solely on a student’s needs, so it’s not dependent on household income and students don’t need to pay back any funding or return any equipment they receive.
• Specific learning difficulties, such as
dyslexia or ADHD.
• Mental health conditions, such as anxiety or anorexia.
• Physical disability impacting mobility or dexterity.
• Sensory impairments, such as sight or hearing loss.
• Social or communication impairments, such as autistic spectrum disorders.
• Long term health conditions, such as cancer or chronic fatigue syndrome.
• Specialist equipment such as assistive
technology or ergonomic equipment.
• General allowances such as fridges for medication or printing costs.
• Non-medical helper support, including specialist note takers or a BSL interpreter.
• Travel, such as private taxi transport.
Students apply for DSA online as part of their
student finance application. They’re required to
upload medical evidence, such as a diagnostic
report, after which they’ll be invited to book a
needs assessment. During this appointment
they’ll work with an Independent Needs
Assessor to agree the support they’ll need
from DSA, and after the appointment they’ll
receive an Entitlement Decision Letter (DSA2),
confirming the help they’ll receive with
instructions on how to move forward.
Many students are put off applying for DSA because of worries about being treated differently, or wanting a fresh start at university, but this support can be vital to a young person succeeding and achieving their potential. It is vital that schools and colleges raise awareness of DSA to students and parents/carers and encourage any student who might benefit to apply. Students should start the process as soon as possible, to ensure support will be in place for the start of the term.
Alongside support from DSA, universities and colleges will also offer a package of support, such as specialised transition days, disability co-ordinators to support students directly, or peer mentors. Students can find out more about this support via university websites, or through attending open days and speaking with student support teams.
This free newsletter will include information on university events added to UniTasterDays, as well as details about new webinars and blog releases for you and your students.
by Jon Cheek
posted on 7 Feb '23
The university application process can feel quite daunting for many young people, so it is understandable that parents and guardians will want to be involved and stay in the loop with any updates. This blog will guide you through how universities communicate with students and their support network.