Disability funding support
Disabled Students’ Allowances (DSA)
Disabled Students' Allowances (DSA) are government funded support for students:
- with a disability, long term health condition (including mental health) or specific learning difference which has lasted or is expected to last for 12 months or more
- studying an undergraduate or postgraduate degree which is longer than 12 months
- eligible for student finance.
You can apply for Disabled Students' Allowance (DSA) if you are studying:
- a full-time course that lasts at least one year (including distance-learning)
- a part-time course that lasts at least one year and doesn't take more than twice as long to complete as an equivalent full-time course (including a distance-learning course)
- you are ordinarily resident in the UK for at least three years before any period of study in higher education
- read the full UK Government information on eligibility
DSA is a non-repayable government grant to help towards costs related to your study which you may have as a direct result of your disability. It is separate to social services funding and separate to your maintenance loan. It is separate to other support provided by the University.
If you are an EU or international student, we recommend you check with your sponsor or student finance authority to see if you are eligible for any additional support.
Self-funded students who may need additional support should provide evidence and discuss any needs in advance with the Disability Advisory Service. You can find out more information in our ‘Guide to support for Disabled Students’.
- DSAs are available to pay for support for students with mental health conditions, specific learning differences, long-term conditions, visual and Deaf or hard-of-hearing, Autism Spectrum Disorder and students with mobility differences
- The funding pays for the support rather than going directly to you, and doesn’t have to be paid back
- DSA is additional to other support you may already get, for example care provided by your local adult social care department
- The funds are for additional study costs that a student incurs as a direct result of studying as a disabled student
- DSAs can provide a package of support for studying which is individually tailored to your specific requirements
- It isn’t means tested, there is no age limit on applying and you can apply as an undergraduate or postgraduate student
- It doesn’t affect your general student finance application, or your eligibility for any other funding sources
- The funding is made up of four different types of support; equipment and software, non medical helpers, general and additional disability-related travel costs
- DSA pays the funding directly to approved suppliers to cover the cost of support you need
How do I apply?
There are three steps to the process:
- Apply to your funding body by completing an application form and sending it with evidence of your specific learning difference, disability, or physical or mental health condition.
- Once your funding body has approved your application, they will write to you to explain next steps including how to book an appointment with a DSA needs assessor. This is your opportunity to discuss your needs and what support is available.
- The funding body will review the recommendations and contact you to let you know what they can fund. This will include who to contact to arrange support and where to order equipment. If you need help or have any questions, please get in touch with the Disability Advisory Service and we will be happy to help.
It may take a couple of months to process your claim, so we recommend applying for your DSA as soon as possible. If you are not eligible for DSA please contact the disability office to discuss your support needs.
Disabled Students’ Allowances (DSA) Resources
If you would like to find out more about the DSA process, see the resources we have put together below:
- Disability Advisory Service guide to: Disabled students’ allowances
- Video: Disabled Students Allowance Guidance University of Reading
- Step-by-step instructions on applying for DSA
- More information about DSA funding
- Understanding your DSA letter
Financial assistance with Halls costs
If a standard (wash basin) room in halls cannot meet your disability related needs, you may be eligible for financial assistance towards the additional costs of an adapted room or an en-suite room.
Halls Contribution Eligibility Criteria. Please note that this form cannot be used for students staying in private halls of residence or private accommodation.
You may be eligible for a halls contribution if you meet the three conditions below:
- You have evidence of a disability or long term medical condition
- Standard (wash basin) halls do not meet your disability needs or you are able to provide evidence that you would be placed at a substantial disadvantage in standard halls
- Your needs cannot be accommodated in other ways
See further information on how to apply for halls contribution, and how much you may be entitled to, complete the form.