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DSA (Disabled Students' Allowance) Assessment

Note: If the student is vulnerable and shielding from COVID-19, a remote Evaluation of Need for DSA can be administered instead of face-to-face. Student Finance England have agreed to accept an Evaluation of Need administered remotely up until 31st March 2021 to determine the support needed by a student during their current course of studies.

If desired, an Evaluation of Need can be followed up at a later date with a top up assessment to convert an Evaluation of Need Assessment into a Full Diagnostic assessment.

  • Students with a Specific Learning Difficulty [SpLD], such as dyslexia, who are or intend to start a full or part time higher education course, may be eligible to apply for Disabled Students’ Allowance [DSA], which is a non-means tested government grant to help towards the cost of non-medical support, including specialist study skills, tuition, and IT equipment/software. This money is a grant and not a loan, and so does not need repaying.

  • DSA awards for 2020/21 academic year are based on the cost to deliver the support needed and is not based on income or savings. The maximum amount that can be awarded by the government can be found here. 

  • Your school or university may pay for DSA assessments, but this is not normally offered prior to the student starting the first year, which can delay the receipt of DSA support. 

  • The details of your DSA and needs assessment report will then be sent to the disability adviser at your chosen university or college, who will then make arrangements for any support or adjustments you require.

  • DSA Diagnostic assessments will be administered by a qualified dyslexia specialists with a current Assessment Practicing Certificate. in our Grantham office either on week days or at a weekend.

  • The DSA diagnostic report is delivered within 14  days following the assessment.

  • A DSA diagnostic assessment costs £380. Full payment is required prior to the assessment.

Answers to frequently asked questions about the Disabled Student Allowance can be found below:

For more information about DSA assessments, or to make a booking, please either send an email to, or complete the form below. Someone will respond in 24 hours.

Thank you for your enquiry

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Answers to frequently asked questions about DSA (Disabled Student Allowance) assessments:


What kinds of expenses can the DSA allowance be used for?
•    specialist equipment, for example a computer if you need one because of your disability
•    non-medical helpers
•    extra travel because of your disability
•    other disability-related costs of studying

You may get a new computer if you do not already have one, or your current one does not meet your study needs. More information will be provided to you if you’re assessed as needing a new computer.
You’ll need to pay the first £200, which is the minimum cost that any student is likely to incur when buying a computer. (

Who is DSA for?

DSA is available to both full-time and part-time students, those on unpaid sandwich courses, open and distance students, and those on postgraduate courses. You may apply for DSA even if you have already taken a higher education course, although you can’t apply for more than one at a time.

You may claim DSA in addition to your student finance loans and grants to cover any extra study-related costs you incur due to an impairment, mental health condition, or learning difficulty.

It is neither a benefit nor a loan, so it doesn’t need repaying. The amount you’ll receive depends on your individual needs not on your income, nor that of your parents or partner. There are some restrictions on what you may use your DSA for, so check the details below carefully.

Who is eligible?

You are eligible for DSA if you meet all the following criteria:

  • You are taking a full-time or part-time undergraduate or postgraduate course in the UK [including Open University and distance learning courses] that lasts at least one year.

  • You normally live in the UK.

  • You qualify for student finance.

  • You can prove you have a disability, medical condition, sensory impairment, mental health condition, or specific learning difficulty which affects your ability to study.

You should check your eligibility with your university or college directly.


How DSAs are paid?

Money is paid either into your bank account or directly to the organisation providing the service or equipment.


What evidence do I need to apply for DSA to help with a Specific Learning Difficulty?

In order to apply for DSA, you will require a specialist diagnostic assessment as evidence of your Specific Learning Difficulty.  Not the case anymore. But the assessment must have been administered by either a educational psychologist of a Specialist Assessor with APC

Your university or college should be contacted for advice prior to any reassessment being undertaken.


How can I obtain a specialist diagnostic assessment?

Assessments must be carried out by a qualified specialist teacher who holds a practising certificate [‘APC’], or by an educational psychologist. 

Some higher education establishments provide access to qualified assessors, and may be able to offer reduced fees or waive them entirely.  Other establishments do not provide this service, and students will need to make their own arrangements to obtain a diagnostic assessment.


How do I apply for Disabled Students’ Allowance?

You don’t have to have a confirmed place at a university before you apply for your DSA.  It is recommended you apply early so that this in place before your course starts, but you can apply at any point during your studies.

You will be asked to provide proof of your disability, medical health condition, sensory impairment, mental health condition, or specific learning difficulty [e.g. a diagnostic assessment of dyslexia, or letter from a medical authority].

FAQs DSA Allowance
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