FAQs

DSA

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  • What is Disabled Students Allowance (DSA)?

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    Disabled Students Allowance (DSA) helps to pay for extra study-related costs that you might incur due to your disability, whilst studying at university.  For example, non-medical helpers (such as a Specialist Mentor, or Study Skills Tutor), travel costs, or assistive technology and software.

    DSA doesn’t provide you with money, rather it pays for support you may need.  It isn’t means tested and you can get DSA on top of your other student finance.

    Further information about DSA can be found here. Alternatively, there is a free resource called The DSA Hub (www.thedsahub.co.uk) which is user friendly and includes information regarding the whole DSA process and a forum for students to communicate with each other.

  • How do I apply for a Disabled Students Allowance (DSA)?

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    To apply for a Disabled Students Allowance (DSA), you will need to submit an application to your funding provider.

    You should refer to the relevant guidance and application process/forms for your funding provider:

    Student Finance England

    Student Finance Wales

    Student Finance Northern Ireland

    Scottish Awards Agency Scotland

    If you are eligible for NHS funding, you should apply for DSA through your Bursary Online Support System (BOSS) account.

    If you are a postgraduate student in receipt of Research Council Funding, you may be eligible for DSA via your individual research council.  Please contact Disability Advice & Guidance (DAG) to discuss this further, as the University will need to apply on your behalf.

  • I’m applying for my Disabled Students Allowance (DSA) and need Section 5 of the application form to be completed by the University. What should I do?

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    If you are a current student, or have applied for an undergraduate or postgraduate course at the University, Disability Advice & Guidance (DAG) can complete this section for you.

    Once you have completed the form, you can either: bring your application form along to one of our drop-in sessions and we can fill this in for you; or post it or e-mail is to us.  We will then complete the relevant section and are happy to forward it to student finance on your behalf, or return the form to you.

    Alternatively, you can ask DAG to complete a Confirmation of Course Attendance form, which you can submit along with your DSA application form (in lieu of completing section 5 of the main application form).

  • I’ve applied for my Disabled Students Allowance (DSA) and been told to arrange a Needs Assessment; what is this?

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    A Needs Assessment is an informal meeting with a professional Needs Assessor.

    The assessor will talk to you about how your disability impacts on your studies and they will make recommendations for support (e.g. specialist 1:1 support, assistive technology or software), to be funded via your DSA.

    The assessment meeting usually takes approximately 1.5 hours and you can take someone with you (i.e. friend or family member) if you don’t want to go alone.

  • I’ve applied for my Disabled Students Allowance (DSA) and been told to arrange a Needs Assessment; how do I do this?

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    DSA assessment providers (Access Centre’s) based throughout the UK undertake Needs Assessment.  To locate your nearest provider you can access a list here.  Alternatively, there is a free resource called The DSA Hub (www.thedsahub.co.uk) which is user friendly and includes a DSA Assessment Centre Locator complete with contact details and website links, searchable by post code.

  • I’ve had my Needs Assessment report from the Access Centre; what happens next?

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    Your funding provider (e.g. Student Finance England) will review your Needs Assessment report and will then send you a funding approval letter (you may hear this referred to as a ‘DSA 2 letter’), which will list all the support that has been agreed to be funded. 

    The letter will outline what you need to do next in order to access this support.  You should read the letter carefully and follow the instructions given. 

    If you would like any help in arranging your DSA support, you can come to a Disability Advice & Guidance (DAG) drop-in session.

  • Do I need to apply every year for my DSA?

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    You only need to apply every academic year if you:

    • are a postgraduate student
    • are a part-time student
    • only get DSA funding (i.e. no tuition fees/maintenance loan etc.)

    You don’t need to provide medical evidence and ID every year if you’re continuing on the same course at the same university.

  • My circumstances have changed, what do I do?

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    If your circumstances change this may affect your support.

    For example, if you’ve changed university the supplier of your non-medical helper support may need changing. You need to e-mail your Disabled Students Allowance (DSA) funding provider (e.g. Student Finance England) to advise of any changes so that they can ensure that your correct entitlement is in place.

  • I have an additional medical condition / disability which is affecting my studies, what should I do?

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    If you have a disability/medical condition that hasn’t been taken into account during your Needs Assessment, you need to send a copy of your evidence relating to this, to your Disabled Students Allowance (DSA) funding provider (e.g. Student Finance England). 

    Once the DSA funding provider has received acceptable medical evidence, they will write to you to confirm you can attend a review at the Needs Assessment Centre where your previous assessment was carried out.

  • Does Disabled Students Allowance (DSA) pay for personal / social care?

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    No. If you require personal or social care support, you should contact your home Social Services (i.e. where you ordinarily live, not Liverpool Social Services).   

    We would encourage you to contact Social Services as early as possible, as it can take a long time for this support to be approved and arranged.

  • What is Non-Medical Helper (NMH) support?

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    Non-medical helpers (NMH) are support workers who provide a range of specialist 1:1 support for disabled students. 

    Non-medical helpers (NMH) can carry out a wide range of support roles, including note-takers, specialist mentors, specialist study skills tuition, laboratory assistant, library assistant and study assistants.

  • I need additional or different non-medical helper support; what should I do?

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    If you require additional non-medical helper support, or feel different support is required, you’ll need to contact your Needs Assessor to discuss your requirements.  The details of your Needs Assessor can be found on the front page of your Needs Assessment report.

  • I feel that I need assistive technology training or need more than initially agreed, who do I contact?

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    If you require assistive technology training that hasn’t been agreed as part of your DSAs entitlement, you’ll need to contact your Needs Assessor to discuss your requirements.

  • I want to change my non-medical helper support provider, how do I do this?

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    If you wish to do this, you should e-mail the DSA funding provider (e.g. Student Finance England) to discuss your request and the reasons for this.

  • How do I upgrade the recommended equipment to a higher specification/different model?

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    If you want to upgrade your equipment you’ll need to pay any extra costs for this. To upgrade, contact the supplier (named on your funding approval letter) to discuss what equipment you would prefer. The supplier will tell you if this meets the minimum specification and if it will run your recommended software. They’ll also advise on the extra costs for the upgrade. The supplier will then invoice your Disabled Student Allowance (DSA) funding provider (e.g. Student Finance England) for the amount they have agreed to cover with your DSA, and will then invoice you for the extra costs for the upgrade.

  • The equipment provided via my DSA is faulty / not working properly, what do I do?

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    If you experience any issues with your equipment whilst it’s under warranty, you’ll need to contact your equipment supplier.