Accessing Disabled Student Allowances and support at the University of Sheffield

Applying for DSA can sometimes be a confusing process, but it doesn’t have to be that way! You can access support and guidance for the DSA process at university by speaking to a Disability Adviser and there are many useful online resources to help make the process simpler. The following post is a brief guide to DSA and highlights useful links for students looking to access DSA or other support at the University of Sheffield.

What is DSA?

“Disabled Students’ Allowances (DSA) helps to pay for any extra study-related costs which you incur at University due to your disability.

DSA can help with the costs of:

  • support workers like specialist study skills tutors, support and guidance mentors or sign language interpreters
  • specialist equipment you need for studying, like digital recorders or computers and assistive software
  • travel to and from University

For more information on DSA eligibility, the process and how to set up support with the University, please visit the DDSS website.

Applying for DSA

First, you need to find out if you are eligible for DSA.

You have to be able to prove that you have a disability, medical condition, sensory impairment, mental-health condition or a specific learning difficulty which affects your ability to study. Find out more about providing evidence on the Your DSA webpage or you can speak to a Disability Adviser via booking an appointment through DDSS.

If you think you might have a specific learning difficulty like Dyslexia or Dyspraxia and you do not have a post 16 diagnostic assessment which is needed as evidence to apply for the DSA, the University can refer you for this and they will meet the cost of this assessment.

If you have not already been diagnosed with dyslexia before you can apply for a diagnostic assessment you need to complete a brief online screening test called Quickscan. If the result of your Quickscan screening indicates it is likely that you have a specific learning difficulty DDSS can refer you for an assessment with an educational psychologist. The University will not usually refer final year students for a diagnostic assessment within the last 3 months of their course as this does not allow them the time to put useful support in place if the diagnosis is positive

Once you have all your evidence you can apply for DSA .

To find out what kind of funding you are eligible for you will receive an approval letter and you will need to book a needs assessment.

screenshot of DSA process flow chart

www.YourDSA.com offers a full interactive roadmap on the DSA process. I have linked to them often in this blog post. Their aim is to “produce a site that provides useful information on: Student Finance, Work grants, Specialist Support, and Assistive Technology.” so it’s well worth a visit.

If you aren’t eligible for DSA, YourDSA.com also provide a dictionary of free assistive software that may be helpful. Plus, you can speak to a Disability Adviser about the support that is available at the University.

Thanks for reading,

Rachel