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Report shows students ignorant of DSAs when applying for HE

17 January 2019

Evaluation of disabled students’ allowances research report.

View report

More about Disabled Students’ Allowances

Disabled Students’ Allowances (DSAs) are payments to help with the additional cost a disabled student faces when studying.

This report assesses the extent to which DSAs are meeting their objective, which is to reduce barriers to learning that disabled students might experience and to look at the effect of recent changes to DSA funding.


  • DSAs are instrumental in the decision to apply to higher education among those who know about them – but good quality DSAs support is a key factor
  • Not enough students know about DSAs at the point of application for them to be a more widespread influence.
  • Students report high satisfaction with the application and assessment process overall
  • Students with certain types of disability are more likely to be deterred from pursuing their application if they face delays/ difficulties with the process
  • The biggest stumbling block in terms of the DSAs ‘customer journey’ appears to be the ease of accessing support once it has been identified
  • Students would welcome having a single point of contact for advice to help them through this process.
  • Higher Education Providers (HEPs) support which replaced some DSA functions appears to be working well – but there is room for improvement