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Funding postgraduate study: Disability-related funding

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Disabled students won't get any extra statutory funding. However, additional support is available to help cover disability-related course costs

If you are a UK-based student and have disability-related course costs in your postgraduate study, then you may be eligible for support through the Disabled Students' Allowances (DSA) scheme.

DSAs are grants to help students who are disabled or have long-term medical conditions, mental health conditions or specific learning difficulties such as dyslexia or dyspraxia. These may include specialist equipment, non-medical helpers and additional travel costs.

You can only apply if you are a postgraduate student studying full time for a minimum of one year. Part-time students are also eligible, providing the course takes you no more than four times as long to complete as the full-time equivalent.

If you are already receiving funding from the NHS or a Research Council then speak to the disability adviser at your university as you may still be entitled to DSA. If you are an European Union or overseas student then you're not eligible for DSA, but it's worth contacting your university as many will provide similar support.

What am I entitled to?

Postgraduate DSAs are not 'means' tested, meaning that your income, background and savings will not be taken into account when determining how much you will receive. Instead, a 'needs assessment' will be carried out to determine what support you need for specialist equipment, non-medical helpers and travel.

Photo: Woman behind a book

In England, Wales and Northern Ireland, the maximum amount for 2013/14 is £10,260 per year, which covers all costs. Postgraduate DSAs are assessed by Student Finance England  and Student Finance Wales .

Students from Northern Ireland will need to contact their local Education and Library Board (ELB). Search for your local ELB at Student Finance Northern Ireland . In Scotland, DSAs are available at undergraduate rates, with the allowance amount depending on your needs assessment and subsequent requirements. Allowances in Scotland are provided by the Student Awards Agency for Scotland (SAAS)

The application process can take up to four months to complete. If your application is turned down you can appeal and ask for your case to be reviewed.

Written by Editor, Graduate Prospects
September 2013

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