Digital Capability Scheme

The Digital Capability Scheme (DCS) provides grants to help students who have no access to IT equipment.

Being a student means being able to engage with digital resources, online materials, lectures and learning opportunities. UWE Bristol expects you to be suitably equipped before starting your course.

UWE Bristol has established the Digital Capability Scheme (DCS) to provide grants to help students who have no access to IT equipment.

The scheme is open for applications from 1 August 2020.


The scheme is open to the following student groups:

  • UK Home and EU
  • new and returning
  • full time and part time
  • undergraduate, postgraduate taught, postgraduate research
  • registered on a UWE Bristol course, delivered by UWE Bristol.

To be eligible students meeting the above criteria must either be:

  • paying their own fees ‘self-funded’


  • in receipt of SLC funding (tuition and maintenance) and taken the maximum loan to which they are entitled and registered for the 20/21 academic year.

Students ineligible to access the scheme

If you are in one of the following groups you will not be able to receive funding from the scheme:

  • international students
  • students on CPD and short courses
  • courses delivered entirely online as standard
  • degree apprentices
  • Bristol international college (BIC) students
  • incoming Erasmus students
  • outgoing Erasmus students
  • students on distance learning courses
  • students on placement/study year abroad years
  • students at a UK or international partner institution
  • students funded through individual commercial sponsorship arrangements (e.g. where the employer pays fees on the students behalf)
  • masters students if your dissertation is due to be submitted for consideration at a September/October examining board.

Disabled Students' Allowances (DSA) students

DSA students should continue to apply for DSA funding as usual. If financial support is needed  from the DCS you will need to supply details of your DSA award as part of the application process.

How the DCS works

All courses have been assigned a cost band that relate to how IT intensive the demands of the course are. Take a look at the list.

Each cost band has a maximum award, this relates to the cost of equipment that meets the appropriate specification for the courses assigned to that band.

There is a list of items the DCS will cover but they are not available to all students. You are free to purchase laptops of a higher value but you will need to meet the difference in price from your own funds.

When you apply

Find your course on the list so you know what you can apply for and make the appropriate selection on the application form.

If you cannot find your course or you are unsure you can leave this blank, the Student Money Service (SMS) will complete it for you.

What we can fund

What the scheme covers depends on the band your course is in:

  • Band 1 course – laptops up to £400

If your course is Band 2 or 3 you can apply for some of the funding to cover other items including:

  • some peripherals for specific courses e.g. printers and scanners
  • MiFi Mobile Broadband Device or equivalent
  • Band 2 course – laptops and/or peripherals up to £600
  • Band 3 course – laptops and/or peripherals up to £800
  • MiFi Mobile Broadband Device or equivalent.

The specification

ITS have developed specifications that are suitable for the courses and funding

  • Band 1 – i3 or Ryzen 3 processor, 8GB memory, 128GB solid state storage (or equivalent)
  • Band 2 – i5 or Ryzen 5 processor, 8GB memory, 256GB solid state storage (or equivalent)
  • Band 3 – i7 or Ryzen 7 processor, 16GB memory, 512GB solid state storage (or equivalent)

Find out more information 

What we can’t fund

  • PCs costing more than the course band
  • general tablets or smartphones
  • peripherals other than those specified
  • the installation and operation of fixed broadband or other internet services
  • data plan costs beyond that covered in the purchase of a MiFi Mobile Broadband Device or equivalent
  • software in addition to that included on the machine.

If you received an award from the 19/20 IT hardware/COVID-19 emergency:

  • Band 1 courses - You are not eligible for further funding from this scheme.
  • Band 2 and 3 courses - You are eligible only for a top-up element from this scheme

How to apply

To access this fund, you will need to complete the application form and return it to the Student Money Service via email

If you have any questions about the specific requirements for your course in the first instance please contact:

  • Faculty of Arts, Creative Industries and Education (ACE) – programme leader
  • Faculty of Business and Law (FBL) – programme leader
  • Faculty of Environment and Technology (FET) – programme leader
  • Faculty of Health and Applied Sciences (HAS) – Academic Personal Tutor

If you have a specific query please contact the Student Money Service at

You can apply from 1 August 2020, we will process your application and notify you of your entitlement as soon as possible after receipt. You will receive payment after you have been able to register for the 20/21 academic year. This may mean you do not receive payment until early September. If you are a new student due to start at UWE Bristol for the first time in 20/21 you should use your welcome ID on the application form.

We will make every effort to ensure applications received up to 7 September 2020 are processed and paid in advance of the start of teaching (subject to you being registered).

Applications made after this date may not be paid until after the start of teaching or until you are registered.

Things you need to know

The scheme is open for applications from 1 August 2020. Applications made on or after this date will be considered under the terms of this scheme, this may mean some applications that were eligible under the 19/20 scheme are no longer eligible. Applications cannot be considered retrospectively.

By applying to the fund you are declaring you are unable to provide the required equipment yourself and/or that you do not have sole access to appropriate equipment for your course.

Students with a tuition fee debt to the University are ineligible to apply.

Students with a payment plan will be means assessed.

DCS awards will be taken into account in any future Student Support Fund applications. Details of the fund will be published on the UWE Bristol Support Fund page before the start of term.

It is your responsibility to ensure you acquire the appropriate equipment.

You should ensure you retain documentation regarding warranty for repair in case of damage.

You should ensure you have suitable insurance cover for your laptop and other IT equipment, the scheme is unable to fund repairs or replacements.

For full details, read the Digital Capability Scheme.