Funding your support

Disabled Students' Allowance (DSA)

Most UK students with a physical disability or mental health difficulty, long term health condition or specific learning difficulty will be able to apply for DSA. There may be other options available for international students.

DSA can help towards the cost of:

  • Specialist equipment (e.g. digital voice recorder, assistive software)
  • One-to-one support (e.g. specialist study skills, specialist mentoring)
  • Other costs you have to pay because of your disability

Personal Care cannot be funded through DSA, although Adult Services in your area may be able to help. 

Ideally, you should start to apply before you start University, as the whole process can take up to 12 weeks. If you complete an application and are not eligible for DSA, please make an appointment with a practitioner in the relevant pathway to discuss alternative funding and support.

Application process

This step-by-step guide to applying for DSA will give you all the information you need. 

Please note that we strongly recommend that you also get in touch with our AccessAbility or Mental Health teams, in order to discuss declaring your disability/health condition to the University, and setting up an Individual Learning Plan.  

  • Download the DSA forms from www.gov.uk, you can also get these from Student Finance, the funding body or Wellbeing Services
  • Wellbeing Services are happy to help you fill these out
  • Send form to Student Finance or the funding body
  • Include evidence such as a copy of the Educational Psychologist’s report or a medical letter
  • This is an opportunity to discuss your study needs with a specialist assessor
  • They will advise on the support needed for your course i.e. assistive software and specialist support
  • The assessor will write a report to you within 10 days
  • You should respond within 5 days
  • Student Finance or the funding body should issue a response 2 to 3 weeks after the report has been sent
  • The DSA2 letter tells you what support Student Finance or the funding body has agreed to, based on the SNA report
  • It will explain how to obtain your DSA provision
  • If you have received a DSA2 letter that lists the University of Exeter as one of your providers, please fill out our DSA Funded Specialist Support request form to request your support.
  • Make an appointment with Wellbeing Services (AccessAbility Pathway/Mental Health Pathway) to ensure recommendations are put in place
  • If you are entitled to equipment, you should contact the supplier directly, details are given on the DSA2 letter
  • DSA will normally stay in place for the duration of your studies, providing that you apply each academic year

If you need any further guidance, please use the following link to download a guide on applying for Disabled Students' Allowance:

https://www.gov.uk/disabled-students-allowances-dsas/further-information

International students

All students are eligible to receive advice and support from Wellbeing Services irrespective of funding. Although non-UK based students are not eligible for funding through DSA, there may be other sources of funding. Many students coming to the UK to study are eligible for funding through their home government; this is usually applied for before you begin your programme of study.

If you would like to explore the support available you can contact us to make an appointment with a practitioner from the Mental Health or AccessAbility teams.

Apprenticeships

Apprentices are not eligible for Disabled Students’ Allowances but there is funded support via the apprenticeship funding from the government. If you have a disability/health condition and require support from the Wellbeing Service, including reasonable adjustments, then we recommend that you contact the AccessAbility and/or Mental Health team to request an appointment with an advisor. At the appointment an advisor will discuss your learning needs in relation to your academic experience and consider the options available to you to support your studies. If you require help at work then you should discuss possible eligibility for the Access to Work grant with your employer. 

Assessor Information

Information for DSA Assessors regarding what support can be offered by the University of Exeter can be found here: ‌DSA Assessor Information.