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Disabled Students' Allowance (DSA)

What is Disabled Students Allowance (DSA)?

Disabled Students Allowance (DSA) is a grant that helps pay for the essential extra costs you may have as a direct result of your disability when studying at University. You generally don’t have to pay the grant back and it allows you to get additional support such as the following:

  • one-to-one study skills (for students with specific learning difficulties)
  • mentoring (for students with mental health conditions)
  • specialist equipment and software
  • travel and other course related costs

These allowances are in addition to the reasonable adjustments that we would make at the University.

Who is eligible for DSA?

You can apply for Disabled Students’ Allowances (DSAs) if you have a disability, for example a:

  • long-term health condition
  • mental health condition
  • specific learning difficulty like dyslexia or dyspraxia

You must also:

  • be an undergraduate or postgraduate student
  • have a condition that affects your ability to study
  • qualify for student finance from Student Finance England, Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland
  • be studying on a course that lasts at least a year

How to apply for DSA

You can either apply by downloading the application form from and then by sending it by post to your relevant Student Finance body. Alternatively you can complete the DSA application with one of our Wellbeing & Disability Advisers who can guide you through the process. We will make the application on behalf of current students and are happy to help applicants as well as you are eligible to apply once you have an offer of a place at university.

DSA application process

Step 1: Apply

The first step is choosing the correct DSA application form. Students who are studying a full-time undergraduate course and are in receipt of Student Finance can apply using a DSA1 slim form. Students who are studying part-time, studying a post-graduate course or are not in receipt of Student Finance will need to complete a full DSA application. Applications along with comprehensive evidence of the student’s disability will need to be sent to the student’s relevant Student Finance body.

Step 2: Needs assessment

Once Student Finance have reviewed and accepted your DSA application you will be sent a letter of eligibility and invited to book a “Needs Assessment”. Needs Assessments are comprehensive assessments of your disability outlining recommendations for additional support that you will need to access your chosen course at University. Needs Assessments can be booked at St Mary’s University or you can choose to book one closer to your home if preferred.

Step 3: Entitlement notification

Student Finance will review the recommendations from the Needs Assessor and confirm what specialist equipment and other support DSA can pay for. The letter will also give instructions for ordering specialist equipment or arranging other support.