The Disabled Students’ Allowance (DSA) funding is available for UK students with disabilities (including dyslexia) who are undertaking full time and part time courses in Higher Education. The award is intended to cover any extra costs or expenses a student may have to meet whilst studying, that arise because of a disability. DSAs do not depend on your or your parents’ income and there is no upper age limit. You will need to pay the first £200 of your order, which is the minimum cost that any student is likely to incur when buying a computer.
The rates of allowances for the 2016/17 for new students are as follows:
- Specialist equipment allowance: up to £5,212 for the whole of your course – the same amount of funding is available for part-time students. For students with dyslexia this can mean computer, scanner, general purpose and specialist software, speech recognition software, text-to-speech software, mind mapping software, a digital voice recorder, note-taking software, note-taking hardware, an electronic dictionary or spell checker, a reading pen or portable scanner, coloured overlays etc, insurance and course-long support for the equipment, according to your individual needs.
- Non-medical helper’s allowance: up to £20,725 a year for full-time students and up to £15,543 a year for part-time students. For dyslexic students this can mean training to use your specialist equipment (although can be included in the equipment allowance); extra help to deal with study skills, reading skills, work organisation, grammar, spelling and numeracy difficulties; but not extra tuition for your course.
- General disabled student’s allowance: up to £1,741 a year for full-time students and up to £1,305 a year for part-time students. For dyslexic students this can mean extra photocopying, recording tapes (for lectures), coloured paper or even extra books if your dyslexia means that you cannot read books in the library in the normal way. As with the non-medical helpers’ allowance, part-time students are eligible for an allowance of the equivalent percentage to their course. The cost of your needs assessment will also come from the General Allowance.
Postgraduates can get a single allowance of up to £10,362 a year. These rates are the maximum you can get. They are meant to cover people with a high level of need, so most dyslexic students will get quite a lot less than the maximum. You will only get enough money from the DSA to cover the cost of the equipment or support that the funding body agrees that you need.