"My assessor was lovely and put me at ease straight away. He had knowledge of all the software he had shown me and went through in detail explaining how you use it."

Niamh, (City of Bristol College)

Niamh (City of Bristol College)


What you need to do

  1. Step 1

    Obtain medical evidence of your condition, impairment, specific learning difficulty eg dyslexia, or mental health difficulty. 

  2. Step 2

    Apply to your funding body for Disabled Students' Allowances (DSA) with your medical evidence.

  3. Step 3

    You'll receive a letter from your funding body confirming you're eligible to attend a Study Needs Assessment.

  4. Step 4

    • Contact Access West of England (AWE) to book a provisional DSA Study Needs Assessment or register your details on the AWE portal.
    • Let us know if you have accessibility requirements such as accessible parking or a (British Sign Language (BSL) sign language interpreter, and we can make the necessary arrangements.
  5. Step 5

    least two working days before the assessment you must:

    • Upload your medical evidence to the AWE portal.
    • Upload your funding body letter confirming DSA eligibility to the AWE portal.
    • Complete an online pre-assessment form on the AWE Portal.

  6. Step 6

    Once AWE have received the required documents we will contact you to confirm the appointment and provide additional details. 

  7. Step 7

    • You should allow about two hours for the assessment.
    • Your Assessor will ask you about the disability-related difficulties that affect your studies and may show you some assistive software and equipment.

    This isn’t a test. This assessment is a discussion between you and your Assessor to decide what recommendations of support should be made to your funding body and university.

  8. Step 8

    • AWE will send you a report within ten working days of your assessment.
    • If you have requested a draft version to check, you must request any changes to AWE within three working days from receiving it. If, for any reason, you haven’t contacted us within five working days of receiving it the report will be sent to the funding body automatically.
    • With your consent, AWE will send your agreed final report to you, your funding body and the disability service at your university or college.
  9. Step 9

    • Once your funding body have processed your report, you'll receive a letter from them which confirms what support/equipment they will fund and who will supply that support/equipment.
    • You should hear from your funding body within two weeks of them receiving your report. If you don’t, you should contact them directly to check where your letter is.

    Request your support or equipment

    • Read through every page of your entitlement letter. This will give you the details of all the companies who will provide your support/equipment. Your letter will confirm the supplier of your equipment and will give contact details and a quote number. You will need to contact the supplier and provide the quote number, then they will arrange delivery of the equipment with you.
    • 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.

If your needs change

What to do if your requirements have changed

  • You may find that your needs change as you continue with your studies. If that happens, talk to your disability service first to see if they can help you.
  • They may suggest contacting AWE or your Study Needs Assessor as we can provide reviews and make changes to your original recommendations.

You may also be interested in