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Find a Disabled Students' Allowance assessment centre

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Find a Disabled Students' Allowance assessment centre near you. Get the support you need to succeed in your academic journey.

Find a Disabled Students' Allowance assessment centre

As a disabled student, navigating the higher education system can present unique challenges. One way to alleviate some of these difficulties is by applying for a Disabled Students' Allowance. However, before you can receive this assistance, you must first undergo a DSA assessment. In this article, we will explore how to find a Disabled Students' Allowance assessment centre, so you can take the first step towards receiving the student support you need to succeed in your academic pursuits.

What is the Disabled Students' Allowance?

Disabled Students' Allowance (DSA) is a government-funded grant that provides financial support to students with disabilities, long-term health conditions, or learning difficulties. The funding aims to help students overcome barriers that may otherwise prevent them from fully participating in their academic studies. The DSA supports both undergraduate and postgraduate students pursing higher education with learning difficulties such as dyslexia or ADHD, mental health conditions, and physical impairments.

What the DSA covers

The DSA covers various costs associated with a student's disability or health condition. These costs may include assistive technology, study needs assessments, non-medical help, specialist equipment, specialist support, and even travel costs. Here’s some common examples of support the DSA can potentially cover:

  • Assistive technology — Screen readers for visually impaired students, voice recognition software for students with physical disabilities, or software that helps students with dyslexia to read and write
  • Non-medical help — Sign language interpreters, note-takers, or personal assistants to help with tasks like navigating around campus or accessing course materials
  • Specialist equipment — Ergonomic chairs or desks, adjustable height tables, or specialized keyboards
  • Study skills support — Workshops or one-to-one sessions to help students with disabilities develop strategies for studying and managing their workload
  • Travel costs — Travel expenses to and from university, such as accessible transport or assistance with carrying luggage

DSA application process

The application process for the Disabled Students' Allowance (DSA) can vary slightly depending on your country of residence. However, in general, the process usually involves the following steps:

  1. Check your eligibility — Before applying for the DSA, it's important to check that you meet the DSA eligibility criteria. Generally, you'll need to have a disability or health condition that has a substantial and long-term negative effect on your ability to study.
  2. Apply for DSA — Once you've confirmed your eligibility, you can apply for the DSA. This is usually done through the student finance body in your country, such as Student Finance England, Student Awards Agency for Scotland (SAAS), or Student Finance Wales. You'll need to complete an application form and provide evidence of your disability or health condition.
  3. Assessment — Once your application has been received, you'll usually be invited to attend an assessment with a specialist assessor. The assessment is designed to identify your individual needs and recommend appropriate support.
  4. DSA letter — If you're awarded the DSA, you'll receive a letter outlining the support you're entitled to, along with instructions on how to access it. The support will usually be provided by external suppliers, who will be paid directly by the student finance body.
  5. Review — The DSA award is usually reviewed annually to ensure that it's still meeting your needs. You'll be asked to provide updates on your progress and any changes to your circumstances.

It's worth noting that the application process can take some time, so it's a good idea to apply as early as possible to ensure that you receive your support in a timely manner.

What is the Disabled Students' Allowance assessment?

A DSA assessment is a process that determines the student's needs and identifies the support they require to fully participate in their academic studies. The assessment is conducted by a qualified DSA assessor who determines the student's eligibility for the grant and the level of support they require.

To access DSA funding, students are required to undergo a needs assessment. This is an evaluation conducted by a DSA needs assessor at needs assessment centre, who is trained to identify the specific support requirements of the student. The needs assessor will work with the student to understand their individual needs, which may include assistive technology, study needs assessment, or other forms of support.

How to find a DSA assessor

To find a DSA assessor, students can contact a DSA assessment centre. These centres are located throughout the UK and provide assessments for students who are eligible for DSA. The assessment centres can be found by searching online using keywords such as assessor, needs assessment, and DSA needs assessment, along with your postcode.

In addition, students can also contact the funding body responsible for administering the DSA. In England, this is Student Finance England, and in Wales, it is Student Finance Wales. These funding bodies or your university’s disability adviser can provide further information on the assessment process and can help you locate an assessment centre.

Additionally, the DSA-QAG (Disabled Students' Allowance Quality Assurance Group) website has a searchable directory of accredited assessors that you can use to find a registered provider.

What to expect during the assessment

The DSA assessment appointment usually takes around two hours, and the student is required to bring evidence of their disability or long-term health condition. This may include medical evidence, such as a doctor's letter or a report from a specialist. The DSA assessor will discuss the student's needs and make recommendations for support, such as specialist equipment, mentoring, or study skills support.

To access DSA funding, students must provide evidence of their disability or impairment. This may include medical evidence or a needs assessment conducted by a qualified professional. The process of applying for DSA funding can be complex, but guidance is available on the website.

How to use the DSA to cover Speechify

Any physical writing or digital text can be converted into audio files using Speechify's text to speech technology. This makes it easier for learners who have trouble reading and taking notes to access their course materials. Speechify's technology enables users to hear their written work read back to them, which can be useful for other tasks like proofreading.

Luckily, Speechify may be eligible for funding under the DSA if you need support with reading and taking notes because of a particular learning challenge or learning disability, such as dyslexia, dyspraxia, or ADHD, or a physical condition like a vision impairment. To determine eligibility, you will need to undergo a needs assessment, and if approved, you can then apply for funding to cover the cost of the software. In the meantime, try Speechify for free today to see how it can help you.


How much does a DSA assessment cost?

The cost of a DSA assessment can vary depending on the provider and the type of assessment required. However, the cost of a DSA assessment should not be a direct cost to the student but covered through the DSA funding provided.

Who can assess for DSA?

DSA assessments can only be conducted by specialist assessment centres that are approved by the Student Loans Company in the UK. These assessment centres are staffed by qualified and experienced assessors who are trained to evaluate the needs of students with disabilities or specific learning difficulties.

How long does the DSA application process take in the UK?

The DSA (Disabled Students' Allowance) application process in the UK can vary in terms of the time it takes to complete. Generally, the process involves several steps and can take several weeks to complete.

Cliff Weitzman

Cliff Weitzman

Cliff Weitzman is a dyslexia advocate and the CEO and founder of Speechify, the #1 text-to-speech app in the world, totaling over 100,000 5-star reviews and ranking first place in the App Store for the News & Magazines category. In 2017, Weitzman was named to the Forbes 30 under 30 list for his work making the internet more accessible to people with learning disabilities. Cliff Weitzman has been featured in EdSurge, Inc., PC Mag, Entrepreneur, Mashable, among other leading outlets.