Skip to Content

Changes to the Disabled Students' Allowance 2015-16

What is DSA for?

Disabled Students' Allowances (DSAs) help pay for extra disability-related costs associated with studying incurred by disabled students. They are not means tested, so anyone with a disability can apply, as long as they are ordinarily resident in the UK, i.e. a home student. As they are not loans, DSAs do not need to be paid back.

In the past, DSA funding has helped disabled students with the cost of: 

  • Items of specialist equipment, such as computers and assistive software and ergonomic furniture for study purposes at home
  • Non-medical helpers, such as note takers, mentors, study skills tutors
  • Additional academic-related expenses, such as photocopying and printing and consumables such as ink cartridges and paper
  • Additional charges for en suite accommodation
  • Disability-related costs of travel to and from university, (including to and from a placement or field trip).

What are the changes for 2015/16?

For students applying for DSAs for the first time on or after 1 September 2015, the following change will apply:

  • Eligible DSA students assessed as requiring a computer to undertake their studies because of their disability will be expected to contribute the first £200 towards the cost of their computer. This includes students assessed as needing a higher specification or higher cost computer. DSAs will continue to fund any additional computer costs over and above £200 if required. However, Brunel will cover this cost for all fully enrolled students. Please refer to 'What is Brunel University London doing to help?' below.

What is not changing for 2015/16?

For students applying for DSAs for the first time on or after 1 September 2015, DSAs will continue to fund:

  • The full range of non-medical help support, including note takers, mentors and study skills tutors
  • Ergonomic furniture that is required for study at home
  • Disability-related costs of travel to and from university, (including to and from a placement or field trip)
  • Assistive software where individual access to that software is essential
  • Peripheral computer equipment (e.g. printers and scanners), consumable items, (ink, cartridges and paper) and digital voice recorders for recording taught sessions and, in limited circumstances, books
  • Additional charges for specialist accommodation on campus, (e.g. an en-suite room).

Who will the changes affect?

The changes will apply to all full-time, part-time, full-time distance learning and postgraduate students applying for DSA funding for the first time in 2015/16.

Existing DSA students will remain on the current system of support for 2015/16. 

What is Brunel University London doing to help? 

We are committed to reducing and removing barriers to education for disabled students and developing a learning environment which is as inclusive as possible.

As part of this commitment, and in order that disabled students who apply for DSAs for the first time on or after 1 September 2015 are not disadvantaged by the changes to DSA funding, we will:

  • Provide all enrolled disabled students, who are assessed in a study needs assessment as requiring a computer, with the first £200 towards the cost
  • Scanning will remain free for disabled students at the University within the Assistive Technology Centre
  • The University Library already offers a number of additional services to disabled students. These include a book fetching service, extended loans, coloured photocopying, assistance with photocopying and electronic documents where available. These services will continue to be provided to ensure that disabled students have access to wider reading and non-core books in alternative formats.

For further information is available here.

What will happen in 2016/17?

The government has already announced additional changes in DSA funding for the 2016/17 academic year. Consequently, the additional assistance provided by Brunel University London for 2015/16 is likely to change again for 2016/17. 

Where can I find out further information?

For further advice and guidance about DSAs, including how and when to apply please contact the University’s Disability & Dyslexia Service:

Tel: 01895 265213