DSA and college students

If you are a full or part-time student with a Specific Learning Difficulty (such as dyslexia, dyscalculia or dyspraxia) you may find that your college or university has a range of services and facilities that can be tailored to meet your needs.

As soon as you have a confirmed place on your course, make an appointment with the Student Support unit. You usually don’t have to wait until term starts to do this.

If you have a suitable Diagnostic Assessment report or a history of difficulties, you may be able to agree support arrangements immediately. Some support arrangements, such a extra time in exams, can be put in place by the College but other aspects may require external funding. If this is the case, you will be advised about the Disabled Student’s Allowance (DSA), a government grant to cover extra costs such as specialist equipment or a non-medical helper.  If you are eligible for the DSA, the application process may take up to 14 weeks so it is important to apply as soon as possible.

Further information on how to apply for the DSA can be found at the Directgov website or contact Student Finance England on 0845 300 50 90.

If you don’t have formal evidence, your college may have a screening service or be able to help fund a diagnostic assessment. You should request an appointment as early as possible as you may be required to undergo further assessments and a feedback session before you can apply for the DSA. Once you have applied for the DSA, you will need to wait for Student Finance England to confirm that you are eligible for the DSA.

You will be asked to attend a Needs Assessment interview. The interview is your opportunity to discuss what you feel would assist your studies and various learning strategies. You will then receive a Needs Assessment Report detailing the type and level of support that meets your individual needs.  Your college can only start to allocate resources to you once this report has been received and you can only purchase recommended support items once you have received the letter.  If the report recommends that you receive assistive technology aids, you should also receive funds for a training session on how to use them effectively. The assistive technology training is normally provided by the Assessment Centre.

DSA non-medical helper rates

Telephone: 0208 251 7920