Disabled Students' Allowance (DSA)

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The Disabled Students' Allowance (DSA) is a fund that can meet the additional study costs that a student incurs due to a disability, Specific Learning Difficulty (SpLD) such as dyslexia, visual or hearing impairment, long-term health condition or mental health difficulty.  

The DSA:

  • Is separate from your student loan and it does not have to be paid back.
  • Is not means-tested, i.e. the support you receive depends on your needs, rather than your income.

The support provided via DSA is based upon need. It is tailored to the individual and takes into account the demands and activities associated with your HE course. It may include specialist equipment / assistive technology, non-medical helper support, and / or support for travel.

Examples of specialist equipment / assistive technology include:

  • A computer
  • Ergonomic furniture
  • Text-to-speech software
  • Speech-to-text software
  • Software to help with note-taking

Examples of non-medical helper support include:

  • One-to-one study skills tuition
  • One-to-one specialist mental health mentoring
  • Specialist note-taking support
  • British Sign Language interpreting
  • Assistive technology training

Support for travel:

  • Some students may find it challenging to travel to / from University by public transport because of a disability. DSA can fund the additional cost of travelling to / from University in such instances (subject to funding body approval).

Full-time and part-time undergraduate / postgraduate students who are eligible for student finance as 'home' students are likely to be eligible for DSA. You may not be eligible for the DSA if you are an international student or an assessment only student. If you are ineligible, please contact the DDS to discuss support further. 

If you are eligible for DSA, your funding body will depend upon your UK home country, or in some instances your course. Please refer to the links below for further information concerning DSA funding bodies:

Note: In most instances your DSA funding body will be the same as your student finance funding body. For many students at London Metropolitan University this is Student Finance England (SFE). 

You should apply for DSA as soon as possible, ideally before you start your course. It may take up to six weeks for your funding body to process your application and further weeks before DSA funded support is in place (up to twelve weeks in total). 

To apply for DSA you will need to complete a DSA application form. This must be sent to your funding body along with supporting medical documentation that confirms your diagnosis. Your medical documentation must confirm all of the diagnoses that you wish to have taken into account as part of your DSA application.

We advise you to check with your funding body to establish what is required with regard to medical documentation. However, Student Finance England suggest the following:

  • Disabilities or long-term health condition (including mental health conditions): A copy of a report or letter from your doctor or consultant that confirms your health condition or disability. 
  • Specific learning difficulty such as dyslexia: A copy of a 'diagnostic assessment' from a practitioner psychologist or suitably qualified specialist teacher.

Your DDS Advisor will be able to give you advice and guidance concerning DSA at any time during your time studying at London Metropolitan University.

Please refer to the links below for further information concerning DSA funding bodies:

Step 1 - Apply for DSA.

Apply for DSA as soon as possible.

Step 2 - Eligibility established.

If your funding body accepts your DSA application you will receive a letter (via email or post) to confirm this. The letter will also invite you to attend a DSA Needs Assessment. 

Step 3 - Attend your DSA Needs Assessment.

A DSA Needs Assessment is required to enable your funding body to identify appropriate support that is tailored to your needs. DSA Needs Assessments are completed by DSA assessment providers external to the University. You are at liberty to choose any DSA assessment provider that is approved by your funding body. 

Many students find it convenient to have their DSA Needs Assessment with Contact Associates, a company that is able to undertake assessments on-campus at London Metropolitan University or remotely. Please see the registration website to book a DSA Needs Assessment with Contact Associates. Alternatively, use the contact details below:

Telephone: +44 (0)1823 273 060

Email: officeadmin@contact-associates.co.uk

Other DSA Needs Assessment Centres can be found via the Gov UK webpage 'Find a Disabled Students' Allowance assessment centre'.

Step 4 - DSA support recommendations are sent to your funding body.

After you have attended your DSA Needs Assessment your DSA Needs Assessor will write a report that details the support that is recommended. A copy of this report will be sent to you and to your funding body.

If you not satisfied with the support that has been recommended, or have any queries, you should contact your DSA Needs Assessor and / or funding body to discuss this further. 

Step 5 - Funding body approval for DSA support. 

After your funding body has reviewed your DSA Needs Assessment Report they will write to you (via email or post) to indicate the DSA support that has been approved. If you are not satisfied with the support that has been approved, or have any queries, you should contact your funding body to discuss this further. 

Step 6 - Make arrangements to have your DSA funded support. 

The letter sent to you by your funding body will indicate:

  • The support that has been approved.
  • The supplier of the support.
  • The next steps you should take to get support in place.

It is your responsibility to make arrangements for support. However, if you require any assistance your DDS Advisor will be happy to provide advice and guidance.

All decisions concerning DSA are made by your funding body. However, the DDS can provide advice and guidance if you have any questions.

We advise students to contact their DDS Advisor with any DSA related queries in the first instance. Your DDS Advisor will be able to indicate the most appropriate next steps and in some instances act on your behalf to communicate with your funding body, DSA Needs Assessor or external support provider.

If you are yet to register with DDS or cannot remember who your DDS Advisor is please contact us via email studentservices@londonmet.ac.uk or telephone +44 (0)20 7320 2848. 

Disabilities and Dyslexia Service (DDS) contact details

+44 (0)20 7320 2848

9am to 5pm 

Monday to Friday

Tower Building

166-220 Holloway Road
N7 8DB



Room: TM1-33

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