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Government response to DSA funding

Planned Government cuts to the Disabled Students Allowance (DSA) will go ahead in 2016/17 with some minor changes.

Proposed changes to DSA were postponed pending the outcome of a consultation.

Disability Rights UK responded to the consultation and now the Government has published its response.

The key changes to DSA for academic year 2016/17

  1. DSAs will retain primary responsibility for funding Sighted Guides, for those students that need such support to enable them to get around campus effectively. HE providers will be expected to take primary responsibility for the remainder of the non-medical support roles that are classified as bands 1 or 2 in the Student Loans Company non-medical help (NMH) manual. We will seek further information from stakeholders, including from disabled students and their representatives, on whether specific exceptions to this general rule should apply. In addition, HE providers are expected to consider how they deliver information to students and whether strategies can be put in place to reduce the need for support workers and encourage greater independence and autonomy for their disabled students.
  2. DSAs will retain primary responsibility for funding the most specialist non-medical help support, that are set out in the SLC NMH manual under bands 3 and 4, with the exception of Specialist Transcription Services. HE providers will be expected to take primary responsibility for the provision of Specialist Transcription Services, other than by exception.
  3. DSAs will meet the additional costs of accommodation where that accommodation is not provided by the HE provider or its agent. DSAs funding will not be available where specialist accommodation is provided by the HE provider or their agent, other than by exception. HE providers should no longer pass any additional costs for accommodation onto the student.
  4. Devices for printing and scanning will continue to be funded through DSAs. However, HE providers are expected to strive to meet the needs of their disabled students to reduce the need for the purchase of individual devices for printing and scanning. The assessment process will be more robust and individual devices will only be funded if the need cannot be met through other measures.
  5. Standard computer peripherals and other accessories will now be funded by exception only. Laptop carry cases will continue to be provided as standard to help students protect their equipment.

[Source: Disabled Students' Allowances: Written statement - HCWS347