Financial support for disabled students

If you're a UK undergraduate, postgraduate or EU research council funded student, you can apply for Disabled Students' Allowances (DSA) to cover some of the extra costs you incur due to a mental health condition, long term illness or any other disability.

You can receive DSA in addition to other student finance and it does not affect any other UK Government benefits you are entitled to. You will not need to repay DSA.

It could help you cover the costs of additional support, such as a non-medical helper or major items of specialist equipment.

We can provide further advice at your Student Services Hub.

Check your eligibility and apply

In order to get Disabled Students' Allowance (DSA), you need to apply to your funding body.

If you are a self-funded postgraduate student, then apply to Student Finance England. There are certain criteria you need to meet in order to apply to Student Finance England.

You can do this before you start your course or as a current student:

Our advisers can provide advice on how to complete the form if required and can also advise on obtaining evidence if applicable.

Contact us to discuss funding.

Book an Assessment of Need

If you’re eligible for DSA and your funding body has asked you to book an Assessment of Need, you need to find an Assessment Centre near you and book an appointment. The Cambridge Access Centre have outreach centres on the Colchester and Southend Campuses. If it's more convenient, you can search for an access centre nearer your home and book an appointment there. Book your appointment as soon as possible.

When you have booked your appointment you will need to provide the following to the Access Centre:

  • copy of your evidence
  • copy of the letter from your funding body confirming your need for an assessment

They may also ask you to complete a self-assessment document prior to the appointment.

The fee for your Assessment of Need will be deducted from your DSA and your funding body will pay the Access Centre directly.

About the assessment

Students are often anxious about the assessment process, please don’t be! This is not a test or an examination, it is a meeting with a friendly and knowledgeable assessor who will identify useful study strategies to help you deal effectively with the curriculum in light of your disability.

They will be able to introduce and demonstrate to you, a range of equipment and adaptive computing hardware and software. You will have the opportunity to discuss any particular difficulties you have accessing your course.

The assessor will write all their recommendations for support in a report which will include quotes from suppliers of specialist equipment. A copy of the report will be sent to you and your funding body (usually within ten working days) and, with your permission, the University.

Once approved, your funding body should then contact you. How long this takes depends on the time of year and how busy they are. If you don't hear within four weeks, we recommend you contact them to check on the progress of your application. They will confirm the recommendations they have approved and advise you how to order equipment and arrange support.

If you have difficulties finding an Access Centre or booking an appointment please contact the Student Services Hub for advice.

Equipment and support

The letter from your funding body should give you the contact details so you can contact equipment or support suppliers. Find out what equipment and support that could be available to you

If you have any questions, please contact your Student Services Hub.

Arrange training

Once your equipment has arrived, contact the trainer in your Study Needs Assessment report to arrange training. If you need any help with this then please visit your Student Services Hub and speak to an adviser.

Other funding sources

Anybody, including international and part-time students, with physical or sensory impairments can apply for a Snowdon Trust grant to provide equipment and support that cannot be funded from other sources.

International students

Disabled Students' Allowance is only available for UK students who meet certain residence conditions. Students from other EU countries or overseas are not eligible to apply. If this applies to you, you should contact us to discuss funding.

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Need help?

If you need any further help and advice, please contact or visit the Student Services Hub who will be happy to assist you.