Additional Learning Support for Higher Education Students

Additional Learning Support is available for HE students who declare a disability or a specific learning difficulty and who have claimed the Disabled Student Allowance (DSA).

DSA is available to full-time or part-time undergraduate and postgraduate students.
DSA provides funding for goods and services that may be needed to enable you to access your course, for example learning support and a computer with specialist software if you are dyslexic or a communication support worker if you are deaf or hearing impaired. It is not a lump sum of money given to the student.

You may be eligible for DSA if you have any of the following:

  • Specific learning difficulties such as dyslexia
  • Developmental conditions such as Autism, ADHD
  • Mental health difficulties
  • Mobility difficulties
  • Hearing impairments
  • Visual impairments
  • Other disabilities and long-term medical conditions

Other medical and psychological conditions not mentioned on this list may be covered by DSA.

Students should apply for the DSA as soon as they can as the process can take up to 3 months.

How to apply for the DSA

1. Complete and return the DSA1 application form with evidence of your disability, mental health condition or specific learning difficulty.

This form is available from the website www.direct.gov.uk/studentfinance .

Contact Learning Support team for help in completing the application form.

2. Student finance will assess your application and send you a letter to let you know if you qualify for DSAs or not.

3. If you are eligible you will need to attend a Needs Assessment to identify any specialist equipment and other support that you may need for your course.

4. You will receive a report which identifies any specialist equipment and other support you may need. Student Finance England also receives the report and will send a letter to you confirming help available.  The letter will give you instructions on ordering equipment and accessing support.

For more information please visit www.direct.gov.uk

Needs Assessment Evidence

You won’t automatically get DSAs – you need proof of your eligibility.

For physical conditions   – A report or letter from a student’s GP or Consultant
For Specific Learning Difficulties –  A post 16 report from:  the student’s appropriately qualified Educational Psychologist; or a teacher who has ‘Approved Teacher Status’ awarded by British Dyslexia Association, or PATOSS (the Professional Association of Teachers of Students with Specific Learning Difficulties)
For Mental Health Difficulties  A letter from the student’s GP should suffice or you can also fill in the Mental Health Evidence form (PDF, 60KB)

The costs of gathering the evidence vary from student to student. These costs are not covered by DSA but may be recoverable from the college’s Access to Learning Fund (ALF) once you have started the course.

A guide produced to help you with the process can be found here:

http://www.sfengland.slc.co.uk/media/864997/sfe_dsa_guide_1516_d.pdf