DSA guide

Assistive Technology software such as “Spell Aid” and hardware are used by thousands of Students throughout the UK via the Disabled Students’ Allowance (DSA) scheme. Its motivation is to assist impaired students in advanced education with financing and support to cover their necessities while studying at university. Funding includes specialist computer equipment unique to the student to provide support in lectures, photocopying and taxi fares. The DSA process is thorough and in depth and for some students can be very overwhelming; however there is a lot of assistance and counsel accessible to enable students to get the help they require. In light of that, here’s our DSA guide:

Who can qualify for DSA?

A student who has a disability that affects their education can possibly get some support.  The DSA includes a wide range of disabilities, as follows:

  • Specific learning difficulties such as dyslexia and dyspraxia
  • Visual impairment such as Scotopic Sensitivity Syndrome
  • Mental health condition
  • Physical disability
  • Long term illness

What Support does DSA offer?

Firstly DSA will not cover any medical costs regarding your disability, however any of the following could possibly be financed through DSA:-

  • A laptop or desktop computer
  • Assistive technology software / hardware
  • Contributions towards printing and photocopying
  • Transportation to and from lectures
  • Non-medical helpers providing study skills support and assistive technology tuition

What is the actual DSA process?

Apply for DSA

To apply for support your application form should be sent to your funding body, e.g. Student Finance England or the NHS.  The majority of Universities have a centre where help can be obtained to fill out the form.  A successful application depends on proof that you have a disability which has to be verified by a doctor, psychologist or specialist teacher.


If your application is successful you will then need to make an appointment at your nearest assessment centre. in order to meet with an assessor who will recommend suitable software and equipment appropriate for your needs.  Following the assessment you will receive a report outlining what has been suggested and a copy will be forwarded to the funding body you have chosen for them to make a decision.


Upon receipt of the assessment centre’s report, the funding body will also send a letter letting you know the status of the award and whether they have agreed to offer you a part or full award. Details will also be provided of a supplier you will need to order and arrange delivery from. It is the supplier who will provide the equipment, software and an option for training.

Additional Resources

There is a great deal of information regarding the resources available to students, therefore if you are aware of anyone else who could benefit from this but are not sure how to access it, steer them in this direction.

If you’re a student with a learning difficulty, health problem or disability, start by looking at Gov.UK DSA and the official site for DSA applicants DSA-QAG.

Help with finding your nearest assessment centre.

Keep track of your statements and letters from Student Finance England.