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Assessment appointments are available between 9am and 5pm, Monday to Friday. Please contact us to find out about current appointment availability.

You can find more information below about assessment appointments including what to expect, support and frequently asked questions.

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What is a Needs Assessment?

A Disabled Students’ Allowance (DSA) Needs Assessment is an informal meeting between you and an assessor. Assessors are experienced in recommending support and equipment for students applying for the DSA.

Student Finance England have provided a helpful video to explain.

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What you can expect from your Needs Assessment at DUAC

  • Allow approximately two hours for your needs assessment.
  • Your assessor will discuss the impact your disability has on your academic learning. Such as:
    • Research and reading
    • Writing and reviewing academic work
    • Note-taking in lectures and seminars
    • Managing time and organising work
    • Practical sessions, placements, field trips and additional course activities (if relevant)
    • Examinations and timed assessments
    • Social interaction and communication
    • Travel and access to higher education environment
  • After your needs assessment you will be offered the chance to see a draft of your report before this is sent to your Funding Body.
  • If you are unsure about anything in your report, please contact us.
  • Reports are usually processed by the funding bodies within 10 working days. If you have not had confirmation from them within four weeks then let us know.
  • There is no guarantee everything we recommend in the report will be approved.
  • Once you receive a copy of your Needs Assessment report and your Funding confirmation letter from your Funding Body, it is important you make an appointment to meet with either your Disability or Learning Support Adviser at your College or University. They can help you with setting up any agreed support.

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Financial support for your assessment

Please note the assessment fee is payable by the funding body.

DUAC offers a fully inclusive assessment fee. This means all work for the duration of your course is covered, including:

  • Additional needs with which you may present
  • Any activities undertaken by a DUAC Assessor or DUAC to review your DSA support, for the duration of your original course
  • Any required liaison with funding bodies, equipment suppliers, HEIs or other appropriate stakeholders for the purpose of review of your support needs.

If your support needs change, please contact us.

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Frequently asked questions

Will I have to pay for the Needs Assessment?

Your funding body will pay for the assessment.

How long will the assessment appointment take?

Allow approximately two hours for your assessment. Remember, your assessment is not a test. It’s a means of identifying your needs through friendly discussion. There is no need to be apprehensive. However, you will need to allow time for discussion to take place.

The assessor will want to talk about your study needs including equipment, study skills support and strategies designed to help you. Also, a range of appropriate equipment and assistive software appropriate will be demonstrated to you where possible.

Can a parent or friend accompany me to the assessment?

Yes. You can bring someone along with you if it makes you feel more comfortable. The decision to do this lies solely with you. Once you are 18 years of age, your parents do not have the right to accompany you to your assessment.

Remember, the interview is between you and the assessor. Its purpose is to establish your needs. Therefore, accompanying individuals are politely requested not to intervene in the assessment interview.

If you need help to communicate with your assessor please let us know in advance.

Do I have to return the equipment at the end of my course?

No. The equipment is yours to keep. However, please make sure you don't dispose of it if you intend to take another course, as any equipment you have previously been given will be taken into account.

Do I have to pay for the equipment?

If your assessor recommends a new computer you may be asked to contribute £200 towards the cost. This is based on the average cost of a standard computer for study, which all students need.

Can I keep my own computer?

The assessor will discuss this with you. It will depend on the age of your computer and its specification. It needs to be able to run any software recommended by the assessor.

What happens if I transfer to another course?

DUAC charges a single assessment fee. This means that in most cases you won’t need to have another assessment if your course or support needs change. Just tell us about your change in circumstances and we will advise you what to do next.

What is a Review Assessment?

In some cases, you may be entitled to a Review Assessment. This might apply if, for example, you progress to a postgraduate course or you acquire an additional disability. We may advise you to contact your funding body to request a Review Assessment.