Next appointment:

We have very good availability for both online and face to face assessments.

Please contact us to discuss your requirements.

November 2023


We have been accredited by the Disabled Students Allowances Quality Assurance Group (DSA-QAG).

DSA application process

There are nine main steps involved in applying for DSA:

  • Step 1 – Getting the evidence
  • Step 2 – Completing your application forms
  • Step 3 – Confirming eligibility for DSA
  • Step 4 – Booking your needs assessment
  • Step 5 – The DSA assessment of needs
  • Step 6 – The DSA needs assessment report
  • Step 7 – Response from your funding body
  • Step 8 – Putting the support in place
  • Step 9 – Enjoy your course!

Step 1 – Getting the evidence

To qualify for DSA, you must provide medical evidence of your disability. It’s a good idea to make sure you have this before starting the application process.

Typically, you can provide a medical report or doctor’s letter. In the case of a specific learning difficulty, you will need an educational psychologist’s report. You are responsible for the cost of obtaining this evidence. It’s worth checking with Disability Support at your institution to find out if they are able to help with these costs.

SFE provide a Disability Evidence Form template which can be given to your doctor and used for most conditions, excluding Specific Learning Difficulties.

Step 2 – Completing your application forms

SFE have an online DSA application facility. Eligible full-time students can access this via their portal on the SFE site. Login to your Student Finance account and the DSAs application should be on your ‘to-do list’. If it isn’t, select ‘change your circumstances’ to apply.

If you don’t have an online account because you applied for student finance by post, you may need to complete the paper forms.

Application forms and guidance for Student Finance England funded students are available on the gov.uk website. Send the form off to your funding body with the appropriate evidence.

Step 3 – Confirming eligibility for DSA

Your funding body will write to let you know whether you are eligible for DSA. If you are, the email / letter will ask you to contact an assessment centre, such as CLASS, for a DSA needs assessment. The centre will invoice your funding body directly – you will not be charged at all for the assessment

Step 4 – Booking your needs assessment

You can arrange an appointment with CLASS by calling our admin team on 0800 015 3158 / 020 7911 5808 or by sending us an email. To make a booking we will need to see a copy of the letter from your funding body authorising you to have an assessment and the same medical evidence as you sent to them. We will also need a completed Pre-Assessment Form which you can download in Word format by clicking on the link.

CLASS will contact you to arrange a mutually convenient appointment and will confirm by email. We will include directions to the centre if you’re having a face to face assessment.

Step 5 – The DSA assessment of needs

Assessments are fairly informal meetings and nothing to be concerned about – they do not entail further testing. You will discuss the effects of your disability or specific learning difficulty with a needs assessor, who will suggest strategies to help overcome the impact of the disability on your study. You may have the opportunity to experiment with different kinds of assistive technology, ranging from ergonomic supports to specialist dyslexia software.

Step 6 – The DSA Needs Assessment Report

At the end of the assessment, you will: review the agreed recommendations with the assessor; indicate if you wish to see a draft report before it is sent to the funding body; and if you wish the a copy of the final report to go to the Disability Officer, at your place of study.  After your assessment, the assessor will produce a DSA Needs Assessment Report outlining your needs and recommended strategies. Depending on the nature of your disability, these may include recommendations for equipment, human support, and help with travel. You should receive a copy of this report within 10 working days. A copy will go to your funding body at the same time, unless you have asked to see a draft copy first.

Step 7 – Response from your funding body

Having received the DSA Needs Assessment Report from CLASS, your funding body will contact you to let you know if they accept the assessor’s recommendations, and how to go about obtaining your recommended support. If your funding body hasn’t approved some elements of the support, the assessor should contact you to discuss.

Step 8 – Putting the support in place

Depending on the type of support recommend (e.g. equipment, non-medical helper support, travel assistance), you may have to contact several suppliers to get your support in place.

Your funding body will explain what you have to do. Most funding bodies will send you a letter or email telling you which supplier quotations they have approved. You will then need to contact the named supplier and place your order. The supplier will need to see a copy of the authorisation letter before they supply the equipment, and the funding body will pay the supplier directly.

The NHS will pay money directly into your bank account, in which case you will need to order and pay for the equipment or services yourself. From the 17/18 academic year, some previously NHS funded courses will be administered by SFE, so the process described in the paragraph above will then apply. Research councils funding postgraduate studies will usually fund support through your institution, so you should liaise with the Disability Officer responsible.

In all cases, the Disability Officer at your place of study may be able to help you if you are having difficulty or you can contact us. If you have reimbursements agreed for items like additional photocopying or printing expenses, you will need to send a claim form and receipts to your funding body for reimbursement. All receipts must be dated after the date on the letter agreeing reimbursement. Links to SFE expenses claim forms: 21/22 & 22/23. The NHS require you to print a cover sheet from your account to submit with the receipts. Research council’s generally don’t fund support of this nature.

Details of suppliers can be found in section E of your needs assessment report, ‘Suppliers Details’.

Step 9 – Enjoy your course!

The DSA is intended to help you fulfil your potential in higher education.  If you have any further queries about this process, just give us a call (Freephone 0800 0153158), or send us an email.

You are free to contact us at any point during your studies if your needs change or unanticipated new challenges arise.

Updated 06/10/22

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