Katherine Last, MA student

Katie Newstead, PhD student

A guide for prospective students with an illness or disability

It is important that before you start your studies you consider the support available to you to make sure that your time at university is a positive experience.

There are many things to consider and many unknown factors that could cause anxiety. This guide provides you with answers to some of the most frequently asked questions. If there is anything else you would like to know before coming to university, please contact AccessAbility.

AccessAbility for prospective students (PowerPoint presentation)

Frequently Asked Questions:

Will there be someone who knows about disability related issues that I can talk to at university?
Will the university respond positively to disability related issues I may experience?
If I have a disability, should I declare this when I apply to university?
If I disclose a disability, will everybody at the university get to know about it?
Am I entitled to financial support to pay for extra resources I may need?
What do I need to know about the accessibility of the University campuses?
If I leave my home area to go to university, how will I continue to get medical support?

Will there be someone who knows about disability related issues that I can talk to at university?

Yes, we have a Disability advice team based at the University whose role is to specifically support students who have a disability or experience mental health difficulties. This is a confidential service where you will be offered advice and support in an informal setting. The team can provide support for course related issues and assistance with accessing appropriate support from other departments within the university as well as providing information about community based support which is available.

Will the university respond positively to disability related issues I may experience?

Yes. Disability awareness training is offered to all staff. In addition, within the university we organise events and workshops which promote well-being, raise awareness and reduce stigma. As a university we have a duty of care to you and must make reasonable adjustments for students who have identified a disability.

If I have a disability, should I declare this when I apply to university?

When applying for a place at university and then when you enrol, you will be asked for a lot of personal information, for example whether you have any disabilities. Some students worry that they could be disadvantaged if they declare their history. The university is committed to equality of access and opportunity for all and aims to provide a supportive and flexible learning environment. There is also legislation to protect you from discrimination.

Under the Disability Discrimination Act and the funding body’s regulations you may be able to receive funding for the support you need. The AccessAbility Team can help you to access this funding and support.

Some students will confide in staff individually as and when they feel it is appropriate or necessary. The choice is yours and either way can work effectively. However, it is important to know that the university seeks information in order to properly advise students about their choices regarding support. Our role is to support you, therefore it helps us to have as much information as you are able to give.

If I disclose a disability, will everybody at the university get to know about it?

Confidentiality is key to the advice and support we provide. Information about you would not be disclosed to anyone outside the department without your permission (except in exceptional circumstances). More information can be found under confidentiality or speak to the Disability Advice Team.

Am I entitled to financial support to pay for extra resources I may need?

You may be entitled to claim the Disabled Students’ Allowance. This is administered by your funding body and is designed to provide students with disabilities with the resources they need to give them an equal opportunity to succeed at university. It is advisable to make enquiries about this to your funding body as soon as you know you are applying to go to university, as the application process can take some time. The AccessAbility Team can help to ensure you get what you are entitled to.
To find out more about Disabled Students' Allowance, please go to https://www.gov.uk/disabled-students-allowances-dsas

What do I need to know about the accessibility of the University campuses?

There are two campuses in Exeter: Streatham Campus and St Luke's Campus. While the Streatham Campus is very beautiful, it is also very hilly and we would recommend that you visit or contact us before coming to University. We can discuss options for getting around the campus, such as using an electric wheelchair or scooter, or using the travel allowance part of the Disabled Students' Allowance. The St Luke's Campus is on the level, and smaller than the Streatham Campus, although we would still recommend you contact us to discuss accessibility so that we can ensure your needs are met. Both campuses are approximately 15 minutes from the City, and regular bus services run into the centre.

Detailed building access information can be found on the DisabledGo website 

If I leave my home area to go to university, how will I continue to get medical support?

All students will be encouraged to register with the student health centre as soon as they arrive at the university. However, if you are receiving on-going specialist support in your home area, it is best to let them know your plans and discuss arrangements for access to local specialist services, if appropriate. There may be a number of options to consider to ensure that you receive the specialist support you require in the most appropriate place for you. This is often best put in place before you arrive at University and the AccessAbility Team are able to advise on this.