Finance information for disabled students

This page is for UK-resident undergraduate disabled students only. If you are an EU or international student you should contact UWE Bristol's Disability Service.

Increased loan from Student Finance England

A Special Support Maintenance Loan is an increased loan from Student Finance and is available for students in certain circumstances. These circumstances include students in receipt of:

  • Disability Living Allowance
  • Forces Independence Payment
  • Personal Independence Payment
  • Disability premium paid as part of Housing Benefit Income Support or Universal Credit
  • Deaf and qualify for Disabled Students Allowance.

View all eligibility categories for the Special Support Maintenance Loan.

When you apply for your funding, you will need to include a recent award letter for the relevant benefit.

Additional study-related costs

You can apply for additional support if you have study-related expenses arising from a disability. These allowances are not means-tested – you can view more information on

Much of your study-related support is financed through Disabled Students' Allowances (DSAs) from your funding body. Disability Service will be able to tell you more about accessing disability support.

Welfare benefits

Full-time students

Entitlement and eligibility to benefits such as Universal Credit, Employment and Support Allowance may be affected by full-time study and by student funding. If you develop, or receive a diagnosis of a long-term health condition or disability during your studies, you may become entitled to benefits while you study.

If you currently receive benefits and are about to start a full-time or part-time course, or have developed a long-term medical condition during your studies and think you could be entitled, we recommend that you contact an advice agency such as Citizens Advice, Talking Money or North Bristol Advice. This is a complex area and it’s important to receive the correct advice and entitlement.

Universal Credit

Universal credit is a benefit that has replaced:

  • Income-based Jobseeker's Allowance
  • Income-based Employment and Support Allowance
  • Income support
  • Housing benefit
  • Child Tax Credit
  • Working Tax Credit.

You may qualify for Universal Credit if you are in receipt of DLA/PIP and have been assessed as having a limited capability for work before you start the course. Please note that from 15 December 2021 the Government has issued new guidelines requiring that someone entitled to DLA or PIP will only have entitlement to Universal Credit if they are determined as having limited capability for work before they start receiving full time education.

If you are in receipt of one or more of the pre-existing/legacy benefits at some point either due to a relevant change of circumstance or as part of managed migration, you will need to claim Universal Credit and your previous benefits will stop.

Universal Credits claims are made and maintained online.

Your student funding reduces Universal Credit, even if you decide not to take out the Maintenance Loan. During the long summer vacation your entitlement should increase as student funding should not be included during that period.

See guidance on how student income affects Universal Credits.

Special Support Element/Grant

The special support element/grant is awarded to students that are lone parents or are in receipt of a disability benefit such as Disability Living Allowance/Personal Independence payments. It increases the overall maintenance loan and should be disregarded as student income in the calculation of Universal Credits.

Personal Independence Payment

Personal Independence Payment (PIP) helps with some of the extra costs caused by long-term ill-health or a disability. To qualify you must have difficulties with activities related to daily living and/or mobility.

To claim you will need to ring the Department for Work and Pensions on tel: +44 (0)800 917 2222 or textphone: +44 (0)800 917 7777

View guidance on claiming PIP:

UWE Bristol Student Support Fund

Disabled students are priority for non-repayable support from UWE Bristol's Student Support Fund, especially if you are unable to work part-time during your studies. We particularly need to know about the extra costs incurred because of your impairment. We take into account any extra costs relating to any disabled dependants that you might have.

Please note: Applications are income assessed, so not all applicants receive support.

More information for disabled students and applicants

Our disability support services section has further information for applicants and current students.