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Durham University Service for Students with Disabilities

Disabled Students' Allowances (DSA)

Application forms for Disabled Students' Allowances can be found on the Directgov website. Detailed guidance notes, including criteria for eligibility, are also available.

When to apply

It is best to submit your application for DSA as soon as possible. This can be done as early as when you are completing your UCAS application form. You do not have to wait until you have a confirmed place.

Eligibility and supporting evidence

You will need to submit supporting medical or psychological diagnostic evidence with your DSA application, to prove your eligibility. For physical disabilities, mental health problems or medical conditions you will need to provide a letter from your doctor or specialist. It is helpful if this evidence can outline the effect of your disability on study.

For evidence of a specific learning difference (SpLD), you will need to provide a full, psychological diagnostic assessment carried out by a psychologist or appropriately qualified specialist teacher. Contact Student Finance England for advice about appropriate evidence. 

Please note, the university will also expect you to provide copies of medical or psychological diagnostic evidence when disclosing a disability. There are certain criteria this evidence must meet and you are advised to make yourself aware of these before contacting DUSSD.  

Needs Assessment

If Student Finance England agrees you are entitled to DSA, you will need to attend a Needs Assessment interview to identify exactly what support and equipment you need. DUSSD has a close working relationship with the Durham University Assessment Centre (DUAC) who can provide a Needs Assessment for you. The DUAC website also provides information regarding eligibility for DSAs and a useful FAQ page.

The DSA Quality Assurance Group provides a complete list of all available assessment centres. 

Advice from our students

What advice would you give prospective students about applying for DSA?

"Do not leave it to the last minute, because the process can take time."

Soraya, 3rd year.