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Applying for the DSA Pauline McInnes Head of Disability Services Roehampton University September 2011.

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Presentation on theme: "Applying for the DSA Pauline McInnes Head of Disability Services Roehampton University September 2011."— Presentation transcript:

1 Applying for the DSA Pauline McInnes Head of Disability Services Roehampton University September 2011

2 What is the DSA? The Disabled Students Allowance (DSA) is a non means-tested allowance, used to provide support for disabled students in Higher Education. The allowance is not paid directly into your bank account. It is kept by Student Finance England and administered on your behalf. It will pay for the support and equipment you need for academic study at university.

3 Who Can Apply for DSA? All full time undergraduates and postgraduates with a disability. Long term medical condition or Specific Learning Difficulty. If you are studying a part time course (at a rate of 50% or more of a full time course), then you are eligible for DSA, whether you are a post or undergraduate student.

4 When can I apply for DSA? When you have been accepted onto a university course. A conditional offer is fine. The DSA forms for the 12/13 academic year will be available in March or April of 2012. The process takes 3-4 months so it’s essential you apply for DSA early. Don’t leave it until you get your A level results.

5 How do I apply for DSA? Don’t just rely on ticking a box on the Student Loan Application form saying that you have a disability You can either: Download a form from the website: Or: Visit the Disability Services Team at your prospective University - they may even help you to complete the form.

6 When the form is completed… Send it back to Student Finance England, who will process it Student Finance England PO Box 210 Darlington DL1 9HJ You will need to send in some diagnostic/medical evidence for each disability that you state you have.

7 What about my diagnostic report/Medical Evidence? If you don’t have a dyslexia diagnostic report or medical evidence, you’ll need to obtain this before you apply for DSA, the DSA won’t pay for this. If you have a Specific Learning Difficulty, you’ll need an up to date report, conducted by a Specialist Teacher with a practicing certificate or an Educational Psychologist It must be a full report, completed after your 16 th birthday. If you are not sure that your report will be accepted, contact the Disability Services Team at your prospective University to ask for advice

8 Dyslexia Reports Most Universities will not pay for you to have a report done until you start your course – this means waiting until September to get your report done, then sending off your application for DSA funds. If you can, it is better to get an updated dyslexia report done before you start at University. If you wait until you’ve started at University, it will be at least January before you start getting all your DSA support.

9 Needs assessments Once Student Finance England has processed your application, they will write to you and ask you to have a needs assessment. Needs assessments determine the support and equipment you will get from your DSA. Needs assessments are carried out at registered Access Centres. - There are several across London and the South East, including one at RoehamptonUniversity.

10 London Access Centres Roehampton CLASS, Central London Accesscentral, Central London Access 1 st, Central London North London, Henden West London, Uxbridge East London, Stratford Greenwich Kingston

11 Local access centres… Roehampton tel 020 8392 3403 Richardson Building, Digby Stuart College Roehampton University Roehampton Lane London SW15 5PU For details of other Access centres, please follow this link:

12 What Happens at a Needs Assessment? You will meet with a qualified Needs Assessor for 1.5-2 hours. You will usually meet them alone, not with your parents there. Remember, this is your Needs Assessment and you are going to University to be an independent adult. You will talk about your disability and how it impacts on your ability to study.

13 What Happens at a Needs Assessment Con’d? You will talk about your proposed course and what its made up of e.g. lectures, field trips etc. The Assessor will show you some equipment, which they think would help you on your course and you can decide if you want it or not. They will also talk about non-medical helper support and suggest some other strategies that it might be useful for you to use at University. It is not a test, there are no right or wrong answers.

14 The Four Components The DSA is made up of four components: The General Allowance; The Equipment Allowance; The Non-Medical Helpers Allowance; The Travel Allowance. Your Needs Assessment will determine which allowances you are eligible for.

15 General Allowance Book Allowances Photocopying Consumables (batteries, cartridges, paper) Coloured overlays

16 Specialist Equipment Assistive software Computer hardware Recording devices Reading pens Franklin spellchecker Ergonomic chairs and desks Adapted keyboards and Mice Note - existing equipment may be considered before new equipment is approved

17 Non-Medical Helpers’ Allowance IT Training Note-takers/Library support Research and Lab Assistants Study skills support Mentoring Support

18 Travel Allowance This allowance funds taxi transport to and from University for those students who due to their disability cannot drive and/or cannot access public transport independently. This allowance is generally only used for students with visual impairments and mobility issues.

19 What Happens After a Needs Assessment? Your Needs Assessor will write up a report, you can ask to see a copy of this before it is sent to SFE and your Disability Advisor if you want to. Otherwise, you’ll get your report at the same time as SFE and your Disability Advisor. It takes about two weeks for the report to be written and sent off to SFE and a further 2-3 weeks for SFE to process it and tell you about the results.

20 After the Needs Assessment Con’d SFE will write to you and explain how to get your equipment, your non medical helpers and how to claim for money granted through your general allowance. Remember, you will be given what you need to study effectively. This may be different from what you actually want. Sometimes, SFE will let you upgrade your equipment if you are prepared to pay the difference in price between what the Assessor has advised and what you want.

21 How to get your support SFE will tell you which supplier to order your equipment through. You will need to contact them to arrange delivery, there is no cost. Usually your University will organise your non-medical helper support. When you get your report, contact your Disability Services Team to find out what you need to do next. For your general allowance, you need to buy the products it recommends and claim the money back using the correct claim form and submitting your receipts.

22 What happens to the equipment when I complete my course? You can keep it But, if you decide to leave your course early and do not transfer to another one, you may need to repay some or all of the cost of the equipment.

23 Where can I get further information? Obtain a copy of Bridging the Gap, the booklet that explains all about DSAs; Go to the following website; and look under the Extra Help section to find information about DSA; Contact the Disability Advisor at your chosen or first choice University; Ask me now!!!

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