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Disabled Students Allowance

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If you were born in the UK or meet specific residency requirements, you may be eligible for a Disabled Students' Allowance (DSA). If you are an Irish student studying in the UK and need additional support as a result of your disability you may be eligible for support from the Funds for Students with Disabilities (FSD). FSD is administered by the National Office for Equity and Access (Higher Education Authority Ireland) and DSA is administered by your local Education & Library Board (ELB) in Northern Ireland. 

The Disabled Students' Allowance (DSA) is a supplementary allowance available to students who may have extra expenses, as a direct result of their disability, arising from attending a higher education course. The allowance is meant to help disabled students benefit fully from their courses and is not means-tested.

More information on Disabled Students' Allowances is available here.  To access a DSA1 form and for guidance notes visit the studentfinanceni website.

There are four elements of DSA support:

  1. Non-medical help: for students requiring non-medical personal assistance e.g. readers for blind students or sign-language interpreters for deaf students;
  2. Specialist Equipment allowance: for help with the purchase of equipment necessary because of the student's disability e.g. computer, Braille printer, Dictaphone, Specialist Software etc.
  3. General allowance: for general expenses arising from attendance at the course e.g. extra photocopying, special dietary requirements etc.
  4. Travel allowance: extra travel costs you have to pay as a result of disability and not normally for everyday travel costs. You will have to pay the equivalent to the public transport rate towards your travel.

To apply for help through the DSA you must first contact the Disability Officer at the Student Support Centre who deals with student disabilities and learning disabilities. He will make arrangements to assess your needs, arising from your disability, in following the course. The application for DSA will then be made through the Disability Officer to the Education & Library Board. It must be supported by evidence of the disability (e.g. from a doctor or educational psychologist), recommendations on the form of support needed and costs.

You can apply for DSA during the course as well as at the beginning and, in certain circumstances, your application can be considered before you start the course.