Disabled Students Allowance

The Disabled Students’ Allowance (DSA) is a government bursary that can fund additional support for your studies.



Who provides Disabled Students Allowances?

If you’re a UK undergraduate or taught postgraduate, you will apply through your student finance funding body depending on where you live: 
•    Student Finance England 
•    Student Finances Wales 
•    Student Finance Northern Ireland 
•    Student Awards Agency Scotland  

Do I have to pay it back?

No -  this is a government funded bursary which is part of Student Finance, so you won’t have to pay it back at the end of your studies. You may need to make a £200 contribution if you are recommended a computer. Please note that DSA money is not paid to you directly. The suppliers of any equipment or support will manage payments on your behalf.

What type of support can DSA pay for?

The Disabled Students’ Allowance can pay for support such as: 
•    Equipment: computers, printers, ergonomic equipment, audio recording devices 
•   Specialist software and assistive technology: voice recognition, mind mapping, screen readers 
•    Non-medical helpers: specialist mentors, study skills tutors, assistive technology trainers 
•    Travel allowances: taxi allowances (this covers the difference between public transport costs and the type of transport you need because of your disability)  
•    General allowances: printing and photocopying materials, fridges for medication 

How do I apply for DSAs?

You will usually apply online through your Student Finance account and submit evidence of your disability. Evidence needs to: 
•    Clearly state what the diagnosis is 
•    State that it is long term (lasting or likely to last 12 months or over) 
•    Include how it affects you 
•    Be as up to date as possible 
•    Be provided by a medical professional, or an Educational Psychologist if you are providing evidence of a specific learning difficulty 
•    Written on headed paper, or you can download a DSA Evidence Form (you can find these on your funding body webpage) 

Your funding body will then let you know if your application has been approved and ask you to book a Study Needs Assessment. This is an informal discussion with a Needs Assessor who will discuss what types of support you would find helpful for your studies.

Find your nearest assessment centre

You can find your nearest assessment centre here. The Leeds Assessment Centre is based in Chemistry West, the same building as Disability Services.  

What next?

  • Your assessor will write a report containing their recommendations and send a copy to you, Student Finance and the University. 
  • Once the recommendations have been approved, you will receive an ‘entitlement letter’ with a list of suppliers for your support and information about accessing it. 
  • Please note, you will need to contact each supplier directly to arrange the support.

Disability Services can help you with your application. Please contact us to arrange a 1:1 with one of our team if you would like assistance.

How long does the process take?

It can take several months for DSA to be awarded. For this reason, we recommend you start the process as soon as you can. You can apply for DSA even before you have an offer to study or have decided to come to Leeds.

If you have already started your studies, it’s never too late. Contact us and we can talk you through the process of applying for DSA.

While you’re waiting…

If you haven’t yet applied for DSA, or are waiting for support to be put in place, you can access the following useful University resources at any point:

  • Assistive technology: visit our dedicated webpage with links to free programmes, downloads and software to help with a range of issues.
  • Have a 1:1: Talk to our team about anything we can do to help whilst you are waiting for funding

Download our guide to applying for DSA (PDF)