Only 29 percent of students with a disability in England receiving DSA allowance says new report
A new report has found that just 29 percent of university students in England and Wales with a known disability have been receiving the Disabled Students’ Allowance (DSA) – this means an estimated 186,000 students have gone without the government-funded support.
This money – a grant of up to £25,575 a year – provides essential resources for disabled students, and covers any costs incurred due to their disability. The allowance can include funding for BSL interpreters, mental health mentoring, specialist equipment, amongst other types of support.
The Student Loans Company (SLC), suggested one reason why DSA uptake is low is that universities may already have the appropriate provisions and systems in place to support student needs.
“The administrative burden can act as a barrier to study rather than the support intended by the scheme.”Lord Chris Holmes
The report was overseen by former paralympic swimmer, Lord Chris Holmes. He described the DSA as “a gem of a policy” but criticised the 30-page application process saying that the “administrative burden can act as a barrier to study rather than the support intended by the scheme.” Lord Holmes also highlighted that many students were unaware that DSA support was available to them.
In response to concerns about the length and difficulty of the application process, a spokesperson for the SLC has stated that there are already reforms being put in place to “remove key pain points in the customer journey, provide the student with a single point of contact and support throughout the process, and contractual control to ensure consistent quality of service.”
Editor: Orla Mackinnon