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Funding higher education for disabled students 2018/19

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Disability Rights UK Factsheet F5  

1. Introduction

If you’re going to study a higher education course at college or university, you may need funding to cover tuition fees, living costs and disability-related costs.

This factsheet tells you about the financial support that is available and where to apply for it. It covers undergraduate higher education courses, including:

  • a first or Bachelor’s degree
  • an undergraduate Master’s degree
  • a Higher National Diploma (HND) or Higher National Certificate (HNC)
  • a Diploma of Higher Education (DipHE), a National Vocational Qualification (NVQ 4 or 5) linked with a degree or other job-related courses
  • most foundation degrees.

Although tuition fees have increased since 2012, there is plenty of support available to lessen the cost and you don’t need to pay for the course up front.

One reason fees have increased in recent years is to make up for government cuts to institutions’ teaching budgets. There has also been a change of funding policy since 2012 with much of the cost of university courses switching from the taxpayer to the student.

The policy changes have been controversial and not something that Disability Rights UK or other student organisations necessarily agree with. However it’s important not to scare yourself off the idea of going to university with the thought that you “can’t afford to go”.

There are a number of support measures in place which may lessen the cost and, in any case, you don’t need to pay any cash up front. Even more importantly, the repayment system has changed. Many students will never reach the point of having to pay back the full amount they’ve borrowed. On the other hand you need to accept that your student loan is something you’ll be gradually paying towards for a long time, probably the majority of your working life.

2. Where do I apply for funding?

Depending on where you currently live, you should apply to one of the following agencies for higher education government funding:

  • In England contact Student Finance England.
  • In Wales contact Student Finance Wales.
  • In Scotland contact the Student Awards Agency for Scotland (SAAS).
  • In Northern Ireland contact Student Finance Northern Ireland.

It’s important to apply for funding as soon as you can. If you live in England, you should aim to complete your student finance application by the end of May to be sure you have all your money by the time courses start in September.

3. How is my income assessed? 

Your household income - parents

If you’re considered dependent on your parents, their residual income (the amount left after specific allowances have been deducted from their income) will be assessed. Your Student Finance company will then decide the amount of loans and grants you can get. 

Independent student

If you’re an independent student, your parents’ income will not be taken into account.

You’re an independent student if you meet one of the following conditions.

  • You have care of a child or children on the first day of the academic year for which you’re applying for support, or
  • You’re 25 or over before the start of the academic year for which you’re applying, or
  • You have been married or entered into a civil partnership before the start of the academic year for which you’re applying for support, or
  • You have no living parents, or
  • You have supported yourself for at least three years before the start of the academic year of your course. or 
  • You’re estranged from your parents.

Contact your Student Finance company if you need more information.

4. Do I qualify for funding?

Personal eligibility

You must be ordinarily resident, or normally living, in the United Kingdom (UK) three years before the academic year in which your course starts.  You should contact your awarding authority for exceptions to the three-year residence rules.  You should also have settled status, which means you should be ordinarily resident in the UK without being subject under the Immigration Act of 1971 to any restrictions on the amount of time you can remain in the UK. 

Course eligibility

Most full-time higher education courses in publicly-funded UK institutions are automatically eligible.  This includes most initial teacher training (ITT) courses and those offered by the School-Centred Initial Teacher Training scheme.  Other courses at the same level may be designated part-time courses, and attract a different package of support.  Contact your Student Finance company to find out if the course you want to do is eligible for support.

Previous study

If you previously studied in higher education but withdrew or transferred before receiving a qualification and don’t already have an equivalent (or higher) qualification, you should be able to apply for a maintenance loan for the whole of your new course.

With the exception of supplementary grants, further support is not usually available to students who have used up their entitlement to funding. You will still be eligible for Disabled Students’ Allowances (DSAs) whether you’ve studied at undergraduate level before or not.

Repeat study, withdrawing from your course, transferring courses and taking time out

Student Finance can use their discretion to fund students who have to change, suspend or withdraw from their course due to personal reasons or reasons that were unforeseen. These are known as ‘Compelling Personal Reasons’ (CPR) for student funding purposes. CPR can include disability. You will need to obtain evidence to support a request made for further funding, for example medical evidence from your GP or a letter from social services.

If you transfer your funding to another course, or even to a different institution you should consult Student Finance before because your entitlement to support may change.

You can also suspend your award with the agreement of your Student Finance company if you have to take time out because of a health condition or disability, but plan to restart your course in the future.  It may be a good idea to suspend rather than terminate your award in some situations, because if you terminate a student award your entitlement to any future support might be restricted by the ‘previous study’ rules.

5. Funding for full-time students 

The level of tuition fees and financial support available will vary depending on what part of the UK you’re studying in and also where you’re from.

Studying in England

Publicly funded institutions in England are allowed to charge up to £9,250 per year for full-time undergraduate courses if they have achieved a Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF) rating of ‘Meets Expectations’ and have an access agreement with the Office for Fair Access (OFFA). Other institutions can charge between £6,000 and £9,000 depending on their rating and whether or not they have an access agreement. 

Loans for tuition fees

You can apply for a loan to cover tuition fees. The loan is paid directly to the institution on your behalf. In most cases this loan will cover the total costs of your fees, unless it is a private college. This means that you don’t have to find the money before you start the course or while you’re studying.

Loans for living costs

You can apply for a loan for help with living costs if you’re a full-time student. When Student Finance England has decided what support you’re entitled to, you need to tell them how much you want to borrow. The amount of loan you can receive varies according to your household income and where you live or study, and your age.

New students, aged under 60 at the start of the course and not living with their parents, can get a maximum loan of £11,354 if studying in London and £8,700 if studying outside London. For students living at home with their parents the maximum loan available is £7,324.

If you’re aged 60 years or over at the start of the course you can get a maximum loan of £3,680.

Loans for living costs if you’re entitled to certain benefits

You can receive more support with living costs than other students if you qualify for certain benefits such as Disability Living Allowance or Personal Independence Payment. The loan has a maintenance element and a special support element. The special support element will be ignored as income for means-tested benefits. New students not living with their parents can get a maximum loan of £12,382 if studying in London and £9,916 if studying outside London. For students living at home with their parents the maximum loan available is £8,640.


You start repaying your loan in the April following graduation and/or when you’re earning over £21,000 per year. Above this level you pay nine per cent of your income. For example, if your salary is £25,000, you will pay nine per cent of £4,000 which amounts to £30 per month taken through the income tax system.

Some other things to bear in mind:

  • You’ll repay the same each month whether you choose a course that costs £6,000 or £9,250.
  • If you never earn more than £21,000 you'll never have to repay anything.
  • If you start repaying but lose your job or take a pay cut, your repayments will go down.
  • After 30 years any remaining debt will be wiped clear.

Access agreements – financial support from institutions

Universities and colleges which are charging more than £6,000 have to put in place measures to recruit students from poorer backgrounds - and also support them when they are studying. These measures have been agreed with the government's access watchdog, the Office for Fair Access (OFFA). Each university offers its own individual scheme, but they generally include means-tested bursaries and scholarships as well as spending money on increasing access and outreach work.

Outreach work includes summer schools, mentoring programmes, after-school tuition, links with schools and colleges in disadvantaged areas and activities to improve retention and success. Check if there are any activities in your area.

Studying in Wales

Following the Diamond Review, the Welsh government has proposed a new package of support for students starting undergraduate degrees from September 2018. Tuition fee loans will be available to cover the cost of fees which will be set at a maximum of £9,000 for all subjects.

Under the new system, all students will receive a £1,000 annual non-means tested maintenance grant. Students may also be eligible for an additional means-tested maintenance grant. The grant amount will be based on household income.

Students who do not receive a full grant will be able to apply for a maintenance loan for the difference between their grant award and the maximum level of maintenance support (grant plus loan). These are as follows:

  • £9,000 for students living away from home and outside London
  • £11,250 for students living away from home and in London
  • £7,650 for students living at home.

Studying in Scotland

The standard tuition fee in Scotland is £1,820. However, if you meet the residency conditions the Students Awards Agency for Scotland (SAAS) will pay these fees. Scottish Universities can charge up to £9,250 per year to students from elsewhere in the UK.

All eligible students can apply for a loan towards their fees and living costs. There are various grants, bursaries and extra help to meet your costs as a student. For more information, contact Lead Scotland.

Studying in Northern Ireland

If you live in Northern Ireland the maximum tuition fee is £4,160. This fee doesn’t need to be paid up front. Universities in Northern Ireland can charge up to £9,250 per year to students from other parts of the UK.  Students should check the UCAS website or contact the university or college directly.

All eligible students can apply for a loan towards their fees and students from lower-income households may be eligible for maintenance grants. Living cost loans are also available.

6. Funding for part-time and distance learning students 

Studying in England

Publicly funded universities and colleges can charge £4,500 per year for part-time HE courses. Some charge up to £6,935 where they have achieved a Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF) rating of ‘Meets Expectations’ and the Office for Fair Access (OFFA) has approved an access plan. Some universities and colleges offer money back through bursaries. Part-time students don’t have to pay up front. If it's your first higher education course and you're studying at least 25% of the equivalent full time programme, you can apply for tuition fee loans on exactly the same basis as full-time students.

From 2018/19, living cost loans are available for part-time undergraduate students, just as they are for full-time students. The amount you can get depends on the intensity of your studies, up to the following maximums:

  • Living away from home and studying in London £11,354
  • Living away from home and studying outside London £8,700
  • Living in your parents’ home £7,324

If you start a part-time course in September 2018, you won’t have to start repaying your loan until April four years later. Even then this would only happen if you’re earning over £21,000.

There is a useful repayments guide and video for part-time students on the Independent Taskforce on Student Finance Information website at www.studentfinance2012.com/resources.

Part-time students in England aren't eligible for living cost loans or grants but you can apply for Disabled Students’ Allowances (DSAs) towards extra disability-related study costs. 

Studying in Wales

If you’re studying at least 50% of the full-time equivalent course, you may be able to apply for a course grant towards study costs such as books, materials and travel. You may be able to apply for a tuition-fee loan if you’re studying at least 25% of the full-time equivalent course.

Studying in Northern Ireland

If you’re studying at least 50% of the full-time equivalent course, you may be able to apply for a course grant towards study costs such as books, materials and travel. You may also be able to apply for a means-tested fee grant. There are three different rates of fee grant depending on the intensity of the course.  For example, if you study at a rate equivalent to 75% of a full-time course, you could qualify for a higher fee grant than if you were studying at a rate equivalent to 50% of a full-time course

Studying in Scotland

If you’re from Scotland and studying in Scotland, you can also apply for a part-time loan from SAAS to cover study-related costs such as travel or books. You may also be eligible for a fee grant to help pay fees. Contact SAAS Scotland for more information.

Part-time students can also apply for a Professional and Career Development Loan (PCDL). PCDLs are available from participating banks. You can borrow between £300 and £10,000 and the government pays the interest while you’re studying.

The Open University

The Open University is the largest open learning institution in the UK. It has over 22,000 disabled students studying with them and offers more than 250 undergraduate and postgraduate courses and professional qualifications. For a typical Open University student, studying half of the full-time equivalent, the fees were £2,786 per year in 2016/17 academic year.

A number of other colleges and universities also offer distance learning options.

7. Other financial support 

  • Hardship Fund (England)
  • Discretionary Fund (Scotland)
  • Financial Contingency Funds Scheme (Wales)
  • Support Fund (NI)

These schemes are broadly similar across the UK. Each institution administers the funds, which are available to support students experiencing financial hardship. Priority is often given to part-time students, students with children, mature students, disabled students, final year students and care leavers over the age of 18 and homeless students. They can sometimes be used to pay towards the costs of diagnostic assessments for dyslexia or the £200 contribution towards the cost of a laptop recommended through Disabled Students Allowances. Contact student services at your university or college for details of how to apply.

Adult Dependants’ Grant (UK)

You may get this additional allowance if you’re studying full-time and have adult dependants. In England, Wales and Northern Ireland this includes your wife or husband or civil partner and other adult family members, if they’re financially dependent on you. In Scotland, you can only receive Dependants’ Grant for your husband, wife or civil partner. The grant is calculated by taking into account the income of your dependants as well as your own income.  The maximum available is £2,925 per year. The grant is paid by Student Finance along with your loan.

Childcare Grant (UK)

You’re eligible to apply for this grant if you’re a full-time student from England or Wales and have dependent children in registered or approved childcare. The grant helps with childcare costs for children under 15, or under 17 if they have special educational needs. You can apply before or after the start of your course. You must fill in a form from your awarding authority and enclose documentary evidence of your household income. The grant pays 85% of actual childcare costs up to a maximum of £164.70 per week for one child and £282.36 per week for two or more children. You’ll receive the grant from Student Finance along with your loan.

In Scotland you can apply to your college or university for help from the Higher Education Childcare Fund and, if you’re a lone parent, you can apply for an additional grant from SAAS.

In Northern Ireland, you should apply to your regional Education Authority (EA).

You won’t qualify for this grant if you receive Lone Parents’ Grant or if you or your partner claim the childcare element of Working Tax Credit.

Parents’ Learning Allowance (England, Wales and NI)

If you’re a full-time student with dependent children, you may qualify for help with course-related costs. The amount you can get depends on your income and that of your dependants, including your husband, wife or civil partner. The maximum amount available is £1,669 per year.

Charitable trusts

If you have extra disability-related costs which can’t be covered by funding from any other sources, you could try applying to a charitable trust such as the Snowdon Trust www.snowdontrust.org. Snowdon bursaries are made for one or two years and can be up to £3,500. You can apply between 1 February and 31 August for the academic year starting in September. The panel also meets in October to consider late applications – funds permitting. Disability Rights UK produces a free factsheet called Funding from charitable trusts. 

Part-time work

Many students work part-time to supplement their incomes. Students work in lots of places, including the students’ union, local restaurants, shops and call centres. Many universities have student ‘job shops’ for part time work on campus or in the local area or you could talk to the careers office or students’ union.

8. Disability and welfare benefits

Most full-time students can’t claim welfare benefits. However, if you’re living with a health condition or disability, you may still be able to apply for the benefits listed in this section. It is important to let the Benefits Agency, Jobcentre Plus and other relevant agencies know that you’re starting a course. This is a change in your circumstances, so you must tell them even if you believe it won’t affect your benefits.

For individual advice it’s best to speak with a welfare rights specialist in the student money advice team at your university or college or try your local Citizens Advice Bureau www.citizensadvice.org.uk/getadvice.htm.

Disability Living Allowance (DLA)

You can continue to get DLA as a student. Starting college or university does not usually result in DWP reassessing your entitlement. If your condition has changed in a way that means you qualify for a different rate, or your award is due to end, you may have to claim PIP instead. If you get DLA, you can receive more support with living costs than other students.

DLA is gradually ending for people of working age. Most people with a current DLA award will be contacted about Personal Independence Payment (PIP) and re-assessed by the end of October 2018.

Personal Independence Payment (PIP)

Personal Independence Payment (PIP) is for people who need help taking part in everyday life or who find it difficult to get around. PIP replaces DLA for people between the ages of 16 and 64. Sometimes the activities you do as part of your course can suggest that your daily living or mobility needs have changed and you can be asked to undergo a reassessment. You should be entitled to more support with living costs if you get PIP as explained above for DLA.

Income-related Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)

As a full-time student you can only claim income-related ESA if you also receive DLA or PIP. You’ll be treated as having a limited capability for work without having to pass the work capability assessment. You may still have to complete an ESA50 form and attend a face-to-face assessment but this should be only to determine whether you meet the criteria for the work-related activity group or the support group.

If you’re entitled to a maintenance loan (even if you don’t take it out) part of it will be considered as income and the amount of income-related ESA will be substantially reduced. The loan has a maintenance element and a special support element. The special support element of the maintenance loan will be ignored as income when calculating your ESA award.

Housing Benefit

Normally you can’t claim housing benefit if you’re a full-time student. However, there are some exceptions that allow some students to claim. For example, you may be able to claim if you receive any part of DLA or PIP or you’ve had limited capability for work acknowledged for the last 28 weeks (although you don’t have to be receiving ESA to qualify). You may also be able to claim Housing Benefit if you’re registered blind, or receive Disabled Students’ Allowances because you’re deaf.

Housing Benefit can be paid towards the cost of living in halls provided by your university or college, as well as if you live in private rented accommodation. You may also be entitled to help towards the cost of an extra bedroom if you need an overnight carer. Contact your local authority for details.

If you’re entitled to a maintenance loan (even if you don’t take it out) part of it will be considered as income and may affect the rate of housing benefit paid.  

Tax Credits

Means-tested Child Tax Credit and Working Tax Credit should not be affected by studying as long as you meet the eligibility criteria. Both credits are treated as income when calculating entitlement to other welfare benefits.

Universal Credit

Universal Credit is a new benefit being rolled out across the UK to replace working age means-tested benefits, including income-related ESA and Housing Benefit. Whether you can claim depends on where you live and your personal circumstances. You can check on the gov.uk website to see if you are (or will be) living in an area that has moved to a full Universal Credit service:


Most full-time students are not able to claim Universal Credit, but there are exceptions. For example, if you’re disabled, have been assessed as having a limited capability for work and receive either DLA or PIP.

CPAG Scotland has produced a detailed factsheet on students and UC


Although this guide is for Scottish students, the situation is similar across the UK. Higher education students eligible for UC will usually be placed in the ‘no work-related requirements’ group for the whole academic year.

9. Disabled Students’ Allowances (DSAs) 

Disabled Students’ Allowances (DSAs) can pay towards specialist support you need on your course.  The four allowances for undergraduate students are:

  • Specialist equipment - maximum £5,529 per course for full and part-time students.
  • Non-medical helpers - maximum £21,987 per academic year of the course.  For part-time students the allowance depends upon the percentage of study in relation to the full-time equivalent course. The maximum part-time amount that you can claim per year is £16,489.
  • Other and general expenditure - maximum £1,847 per academic year of the course.  For part-time students this allowance depends upon the percentage studied of the full-time course. The maximum amount that you can claim part-time is £1,385.
  • Disability-related travel costs – there are no maximum amounts.

In Scotland there are no DSAs for travel. However, you may be able to claim extra disability-related travel costs from the Students Awards Agency for Scotland (SAAS).  You should write to SAAS to make a claim, preferably at the same time as you send in your application for the DSAs.  You must send SAAS proof of your disability (if you’ve not already done so) and give details of the additional costs.  SAAS may also consider making a 50% advance payment of normal travel costs in certain circumstances.

DSAs are non-means-tested.  This means your income or your parents’ income is not taken into account when assessing the level of DSAs you will receive.  Previous study doesn’t affect your eligibility to get DSAs.  There is also no upper age limit on applying for DSAs. The allowances you receive are only based on the assessed support you need while studying.  DSAs do not fund items or costs related to your disability that you would have regardless of whether or not you were studying.  

How to apply

All awarding authorities use standard forms to work out who qualifies for student support. These forms contain a section on applying for DSAs. When you’ve completed this form and returned it to your awarding authority, they should send you information about the DSAs. If they don’t send you an application form, contact your awarding authority to ask for one. The application forms are also available on the Student Finance websites listed at the back of this factsheet. You can apply before you have a confirmed place at a college or university.

Part-time study

Part-time students are eligible for DSAs as long as they’re studying a designated course which is at least 25% of the full-time equivalent.

See Disability Rights UK’s information factsheet Applying for Disabled Students’ Allowances for further information.

10. Funding for personal care

Personal care or personal assistance is the practical help and support you need for your daily life. For example; support with cooking, cleaning, personal hygiene, correspondence, shopping and transport.

Under the Children and Families Act 2014, young disabled students with education, health and/or social care requirements can ask for an assessment of their needs. Local authorities in England must carry out an assessment and prepare an Education, Health and Care (EHC) Plan for those who need one.

If you have an EHC Plan you can request a personal budget. This will give you greater choice and control about how you buy your support whilst studying and who you choose to provide the service.

If you’re not eligible for an EHC Plan, you may still be eligible for an assessment from your local authority Adult Social Care Department under the Care Act 2014. You can ask for an assessment of all your care and support needs, carried out by a trained assessor or social worker. The assessment of need is carried out in six main areas – personal and social care, health care, accommodation, finance, education, employment and leisure, transport and access.

If you’re eligible for support, you’ll be offered a personal budget.

All universities and further education colleges are covered by the Public Sector Equality Duty This came into force in April 2011 and requires them to:

  • Eliminate discrimination, harassment and victimisation
  • Advance equality of opportunity.
  • Foster good relations.

Actions could include adapting accommodation for you and arranging assistance from volunteers.

You may also be entitled to help towards the cost of an extra bedroom if you need an overnight carer. Contact your local authority for details.

11. Professional courses 

Medical and dental courses Undergraduate programme

For the first four years of study, students taking a five or six-year undergraduate programme are eligible for the same support as other students taking Higher Education courses. Students may then qualify for an NHS or Scottish Executive Health Department means-tested bursary in their fifth and further years.  Students who get an NHS Bursary are eligible for free tuition and a non-means tested grant of £1,000.

Graduate / Professional Entry Programme

The arrangements for graduate medical and dental students on a five-year course are different. You can’t get a tuition fee loan or a maintenance grant for the first four years of the course, regardless of whether or not you’ve previously received funding. However, you may be able to apply for a full, income-based, maintenance loan from Student Finance England. From year five of the training, graduate medical and dental students receive the same support as undergraduate medical and dental students.

Additional allowances such as Disabled Students’ Allowances (DSAs) and Care Leavers’ Allowance may also be available. 

Nursing & midwifery and other healthcare professions

Nursing, midwifery and health students have access to the same student loans system as other students. The NHS BSA only provides additional funding for some students because of the clinical placement required by these courses. Eligible students can access a non-repayable grant of £1,000 per year if they have child dependents, exceptional support of up to £3,000 per year in the case of severe hardship and support for excess travel and dual accommodation expenses incurred by attending placements.

Bursaries and tuition fees are provided by:

  • NHS Student Bursaries for students from England
  • the NHS Wales Student Awards Unit for students from Wales
  • your regional Education Authority for students from Northern Ireland
  • the Student Awards Agency for Scotland for students from Scotland.

The NHS Students Grants Unit also produces a guide for students on health-related courses called Financial Help for Health Care Students which you may find useful.

Social work

Basic government support is available to all undergraduate students. You may also be able to get a Social Work Bursary in years 2 and 3 of your course. This is worth up to £4,862.50 per year if you study at a university outside London. If you study in London, the bursary is worth up to £5,262.50 per year. This is the rate for students starting in 2017/18 academic year.

The NHS Business Services Authority (NHSBSA) manages the bursary scheme for students studying approved degree courses in social work in England.

Applicants must meet eligibility criteria set out by the NHSBSA. 

Social care funding is devolved to the four countries of the UK. If you’re not eligible for support from the NHSBSA, you should contact the relevant social care regulatory body in your country.

  • If you’re from Wales, contact Care Council for Wales (CCW)
  • If you’re from Scotland, bursaries are not available to any undergraduate students

If you’re from Northern Ireland, contact the Social Services Inspectorate  Dance and Drama

Students on designated Higher Education dance and drama courses at private institutions may qualify for financial support. Dance and Drama Awards can cover some of the costs of tuition fees and there are means-tested grants for living costs. However, if you’re offered a place as a private student, you will have to pay the fees yourself.

12 Further information

For further information on the support that is available for disabled students, please contact our Disabled Students Helpline

Tel: 0330 995 0414

Textphone: 18001 0330 995 0414 (Type Talk)

Tuesdays and Thursdays 11.00am-1.00pm

Email: students@disabilityrightsuk.org

We also produce a range of education factsheets covering these subjects and frequently asked questions which you can access through the education and skills section of our website at disabilityrightsuk.org.

Into Higher Education Guide

Into Higher Education is a free downloadable guide produced by Disability Rights UK for disabled people planning to study at university. It answers the common questions disabled students have and gives them the information they need to make the right choices, including:

  • What is higher education and what does it offer?
  • Which is the right course for me?
  • How do I apply?
  • What financial support is available?
  • What kind of disability-related support can I receive?
  • What are my rights as a disabled student?

The guide also includes six inspiring profiles written by disabled people about their experiences of university and it has a useful resources section.

All of the following are available from Student Finance England.

  • A quick guide to student finance – what you need to know
  • A quick guide to Disabled Students’ Allowances (DSAs) - what, when and how to apply
  • Bridging the Gap – A guide to the Disabled Students’ Allowances (DSAs) in higher education
  • A guide to financial support for new full-time higher education students
  • A guide to student finance for new part-time students in higher education
  • Childcare Grant and other support for full-time student parents in higher education

13. Useful contacts 

Department for Education (DfE)

Website: www.gov.uk/government/organisations/department-for-education

Web contact form: http://tinyurl.com/psk4ufc

Discover DSA


Series of video case studies illustrating the range of support available through Disabled Students’ Allowances.

Disabled Students' Allowances Quality Assurance Group (DSA-QAG)

Website: www.dsa-qag.org.uk

Provides students with a database of registered assessment centres offering needs assessments for Disabled Students’ Allowances (DSAs). They also have information about university disability officers and suppliers of disability equipment.


Website: https://erasmusplus.org.uk

Advice and information on the Erasmus educational exchange programme and funding for study or work abroad.

Lead Scotland

Tel: 0131 228 9441

Textphone: 18001 131 228 9441

Information service: 0800 999 2568

Phone line open Mon, Wed and Thurs 2pm to 4pm and Tue and Fri 10am to 12pmEmail: info@lead.org.uk

Website: www.lead.org.uk

Organisation enabling disabled adults and carers to access inclusive learning opportunities in Scotland. Lead also runs an information and advice service for disabled students in Scotland.

Money Saving Expert


See Students MoneySaving for information on student loan repayments, grants and ways to save money and 20 student loans ‘mythbusting tips’.

NHS BSA Student Bursaries

NHS Student Bursaries

T     0300 330 1345

E     Email through the website using an online form

Social Work Bursaries

T     0300 330 1342

E     Email through the website using an online form

W    www.nhsbsa.nhs.uk/students

Information on NHS and social work bursaries, payment dates and downloadable application forms.

Student Awards Agency for Scotland (SAAS)

Tel: 0300 555 0505

Phone line open Monday to Thursday 8.30am-5pm and Fridays 8.30am-4.30pm.

Minicom: 0131 244 5107

Website: www.saas.gov.uk. Email through the website by selecting an enquiry subject and completing an online form.

SAAS is the awarding authority in Scotland.

Student Cashpoint


Information on student grants, loans, bursaries, scholarships and awards across the UK.

Student Finance England

Tel: 0300 100 0607

Minicom: 0300 100 0622

Phone line open Monday to Friday 8am-8pm, Saturday and Sunday 9am-4pm

Website: www.gov.uk/studentfinance

Student Finance England provides information and services to students who normally live in England.

Student Finance England also has a Facebook app to walk you through the steps to applying at http://apps.facebook.com/financeguide

Student Finance Northern Ireland

Tel: 0300 100 0077

Minicom: 0300 100 0625

Phone line open Monday to Friday 8am to 8pm, Saturday and Sunday 9am-4pm

Website: www.studentfinanceni.co.uk

Student Finance Northern Ireland provides information and services to students who normally live in Northern Ireland.

Student Finance Wales

Tel: 0300 200 4050

Minicom: 0300 100 1693

Phone line open Monday to Friday 8am-8pm

Website: www.studentfinancewales.co.uk

UCAS (The Universities and Colleges Admissions Service)

Tel: 0371 468 0468

Phone line open Monday to Friday 8.30am-6pm

Minicom: 18001 0371 468 0468

Website: www.ucas.com

The central admissions system, which processes applications for higher education.

UKCISA: UK Council for International Student Affairs

Advice service: 020 7788 9214

Advice line open Monday to Friday 1pm-4pm (UK time)

Website: www.ukcisa.org.uk

10 January 2018

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