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  Disabled Students Allowance (DSA)

DSA is specific funding for students diagnosed with specific learning difficulties, medical conditions or disabilities. The DSA is provided by your Student Funding Authority.

The fund is to help with the extra costs you will have whilst studying. In the Republic of Ireland, this funding is called Funds for Students with Disabilities.

Our ambition as a University is to become as inclusive as possible.  That will mean that, as much as we can, we look to make sure support is available without you needing to apply for additional funding.

It is your choice to apply for DSA funding.  If you think it would be worthwhile – for instance, because it will fund additional specialist support – we will help you throughout the process.

DSA is specific funding for students diagnosed with specific learning difficulties, mental health conditions, other medical conditions or disabilities. The DSA is provided by your Student Funding Authority. 

The fund is to help with the extra costs you will have whilst studying. In the Republic of Ireland, this funding is called Funds for Students with Disabilities. 

Our ambition as a University is to become as inclusive as possible.  That will mean that, as much as we can, we look to make sure support is available without you needing to apply for additional funding. 

It is your choice to apply for DSA funding.  If you think it would be worthwhile – for instance, because it will fund additional specialist support – we will help you throughout the process. 

Who is my Student Funding Authority?

Scotland: Student Awards Agency for Scotland (SAAS)

England:  Student Finance England (SFE)

Wales: your Local Education Authority (Student Finance Wales)

Northern Ireland: your Regional Library Board (Student Finance Northern Ireland)

Republic of Ireland: Higher Education Authority (Fund for Students with Disabilities​)

Application forms and notes on the application process can be downloaded from these sites.

What can DSA pay for?

DSA can help with the cost of things like

  • Specialist study skills tutors
  • Mental health mentoring
  • Proof readers 
  • Note takers
  • British Sign Language Interpreters
  • Printing and photocopying
  • Computers and other technological devices
  • Specialist equipment
  • Assistive software packages such as Mind Mapping tools, specialist spellcheckers, voice to text tools, proof-reading support or note-taking tools
  • Coloured spectacles, overlays or reading rulers
  • Digital stethoscopes

Who is eligible?

Eligibility for DSA depends on UK residency requirements and on the nature of your course arrangements. In general you are unlikely to be eligible for DSA if you are

  • An EU student receiving a ‘fees only’ funding award
  • A part-time student undertaking less than 50% of a full-time course
  • Undertaking a course below HNC level or if you are on an access course
  • A post-graduate student receiving funding from a Research Council or the Social Work Department 

Evidence of your specific difficulty or medical condition is needed to process your application, for example a dyslexia report, or letter from your doctor or consultant confirming the nature of your disability. You will normally need to complete an application form and obtain any medical evidence required to support your application. You will also be required to provide your student reference. If you do not meet the requirements for DSA but we recognise you have additional support needs, other university arrangements can be made to provide you with support.

Your adviser at Edinburgh Napier University may need to sign the application form for you before it can be sent to your funding authority. You will also be asked to attend a meeting at which your support needs can be assessed before decisions are made about the support that can be funded for you.

Your adviser in the Disability & Inclusion Team can assist you with applying for DSA and answering any questions.

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