Disabled Students' Allowance (DSA)

and needs assessments

DSA is available for UK students with specific learning difficulties, mental health conditions, disabilities and long-term medical condititons

If you are a UK student, you may be eligible for Disabled Students' Allowance (DSA) funding if you have a specific learning difficulty, a mental health condition, a disability or a long-term medical condition.

The aim of DSA is to facilitate access to your studies, allowing you to fulfil your potential at university. It can help with the cost of support and equipment specific to your needs as a student, for example:

  • specialist equipment and software
  • non-medical helpers, such as study skills tutors and mentors
  • extra travel because of your disability
  • other disability-related costs of studying

The process can take some time, and students are encouraged to apply early in order to make full use of their DSA provisions whilst studying at LSE. 

To find out more about the process and what to expect, please see below: 

Applying for DSA and more information

You should apply for DSA funding as soon as possible. You can start your application before you have a confirmed place at LSE.

The process can take up to four months from initial application through to getting the recommended equipment and support in place.

Read the UK Government page help if you're a student with a learning difficulty, health problem or disability for information on how to apply and which funding body your application will be considered by.

  • Make sure that you only ever send copies of evidence and keep hold of the originals.
  • You will need to be pro-active during the process. 
  • We will provide you with support before you receive DSA if appropriate. 

Needs Assessments

You will need to have a Needs Assessment once your eligibility for DSA has been agreed by your funding body.  The purpose of a Needs Assessment is to identify what equipment, software or study support will enable you to fulfill your potential on your programme.

  • You should only arrange a Needs Assessment once you the relevant funding body has confirmed your eligibility for DSA. 
  • You will need to find an assessment centre near you and book the assessment yourself. You do not need to have the assessment in London if you'd prefer to do it elsewhere.
  • The assessment normally takes about two hours. Please leave plenty of time in case it overruns, and remember to factor in travel time.
  • Prepare for the needs assessment in advance. To do this:
    a) analyse your current programme of study and any difficulties that you have experienced
    b) consider any difficulties that you might experience in the future - for example will you need help with statistical software or will you be doing fieldwork?
  • Meet with the Needs Assessor. They will ask you a series of questions aimed to establish how your studies will be impacted by your condition or disability. Be ready to explain things in detail.
  • The assessor will then demonstrate a range of equipment and software which they think might help. You will discuss between you what will and will not be useful. 
  • Before you leave, confirm how you will receive the report.

What to expect:

  • Assessments can be quite intense. 
  • You should expect to be asked questions and be ready to explain your analysis of your current difficulties.
  • Needs assessments are completely different from diagnostic assessments - they involve no testing at all. 

After your Needs Assessment

After the assessment:

  • A report will be sent to you for approval.
  • You should check the 'important bits'.
  • If everything is OK, accept and agree the report within the correct time period. If not contact the assessor immediately. 
  • Once you have agreed it, the report will be sent to your funding body and to the Disability and Wellbeing Service at LSE.
  • The funding body will then send you a letter approving the recommendations and confirming that everything is in place. This letter will tell you what steps to take next. 
  • Follow the guidance in the letter to get your equipment and support in place. The Disability and Wellbeing Service can help you if you have any difficulties at this stage.

International and EU/EEA students

The Disability and Wellbeing Service is able to provide some funds to purchase equipment and support that can help you study more effectively. 

Where appropriate, this will be discussed with your adviser when registering with the Disability and Wellbeing Service

Students with physical difficulties

The Snowdon Trust also provides means-tested grants for students who have physical difficulties.

These grants are intended to finance equipment and other study-related needs.



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