Apply for Disabled Students' Allowances (DSA)

How to complete your application.

What you need to do

  1. Step 1

    Take a look at our DSA information to familiarise yourself.

  2. Step 2

    If you are unsure about your funding body or have any questions please contact Disability Service for further advice.

  3. Step 3

    In your DSAs application you will need to supply medical evidence that confirms:

    • the name and nature of your disability
    • the length of time you have had your disability/how long you are likely to have it
    • the impact on your day-to-day life and study.

    Read Gov.uk's medical evidence requirements for further information. Their website also has a link to the disability evidence form that a doctor or medical professional can complete if you're applying through Student Finance England. For forms for alternative funding bodies, please check their websites. 

    Specific Learning Difficulties

    If you have a specific learning difficulty (such as dyslexia) you will need to provide a full diagnostic assessment. This needs to have been completed by an educational psychologist or another suitably qualified individual. Visit the PATOSS website for more information about this.

    If you need a diagnostic assessment please see our pages about recognising dyslexia. For other disabilities or medical conditions you will need to provide an up-to-date letter or report from your GP, consultant or suitably qualified specialist.

    To find out more about medical evidence, view our guidance for applicants and future students.

  4. Step 4

    You will need to apply for DSAs through the funding body that is providing your tuition fees, loan or bursary. Your funding body depends on when you joined your course and what course you are studying but for the majority of students this is either Student Finance England.

    You can apply for DSAs at any time during your course.

    Funding body contacts:

  5. Step 5

    You will receive a letter confirming whether or not you are eligible for DSAs.

    You should chase up your DSA application with your funding body if you haven’t heard within four weeks of applying. We don't routinely or automatically chase up student DSA applications, even if we're aware that you have applied. If you're experiencing difficulty or confusion with your funding body, we can help you. Please contact us.

  6. Step 6

    If you are eligible, you will be asked to book a Study Needs Assessment. The letter will include a link to help you find an assessment centre. UWE Bristol has an assessment centre on Frenchay Campus, called Access West of England (AWE).

  7. Step 7

    • Approximately two weeks after your Study Needs Assessment, you will receive an entitlement letter.
    • Read through every page of your entitlement letter. This will give you the details of all the companies who will provide your support/equipment. When you're ready, contact the companies to book your support and organise delivery of your equipment (if recommended). If assistive technology (AT) has been recommended, contact the AT company when you have your equipment. If you’ve been given allowances, read the letter from your funding body as there will be information about how to claim costs.
  8. Step 8

    If your DSA Study Needs Assessment recommends any support (eg note-taking support, mentoring or tuition) you will need to contact the provider listed on your DSA entitlement letter. If you need any help with this process please get in touch with the Disability Service. Please see our information on disability support at UWE Bristol.

  9. Step 9

    If you are experiencing problems with equipment ordered through DSAs, you will need to contact your equipment supplier. They can advise whether your equipment is still under warranty, and if they are able to repair or replace the equipment.

    Your supplier’s contact details will be on the letter you received from your funding body confirming your DSA entitlements. If the equipment is no longer under warranty, you may need to contact your Study Needs Assessor. You can find their name and contact details on your Study Needs Assessment report.

Navigating the Disabled Students' Allowance during COVID-19

Take a look at this video by Diversity and Ability in collaboration with the NUS and NADP advising what you need to do about DSA and COVID-19.

Alternative format information

The steps that you need to take to apply for DSAs are also available as a PDF.

Download a step-by-step guide