Disabled students

Disabled Students' Allowance (DSA)

If you incur additional course-related costs because of a disability, mental health difficulty (such as depression or anxiety) or specific learning difficulty (such as dyslexia), you can apply for the Disabled Students' Allowance. This is a needs-based allowance and is available for specialist equipment, non-medical personal helpers and / or additional travel costs, subject to a needs assessment.

The Disabled Students' Allowance is not treated as income and will therefore not affect your entitlement to benefits.

Please visit the Disability Support page for more information. 

Special Support 

If you started your course before the 1st September 2016, you may get the Special Support Grant instead of the Maintenance Grant if you are eligible for certain means-tested or disability benefits. The amount you get through the Special Support Grant is the same as that available through the Maintenance Grant, but the Special Support Grant doesn't count as income when calculating income-related benefits. In addition, you may receive a higher amount of Maintenance Loan. 

If you started your course after the 1st September 2016, you may get a higher amount of Maintenance Loan - this is known as the Special Support Element. This part of the Maintenance Loan doesn't count as income when calculating income-related benefits. 

You may qualify for Special Support if you meet one, or more, of the following criteria:

  • You are a lone parent who is responsible for a child or a young person aged under 20 who is a member of your household, and who is in full-time education
  • You are a lone foster parent of a child or young person aged under 20
  • You have a partner who is also a full-time student and one or both of you are responsible for a child or young person aged under 20 who is in full-time non-advanced education
  • You have a disability and qualify for a Disability Premium or Severe Disability Premium
  • You have been treated as incapable of work for a continuous period of at least 28 weeks (two or more periods of incapacity separated by a break of no more than 8 weeks count as one continuous period)
  • You are deaf and qualify for Disabled Students Allowance
  • You are waiting to go back to a course having taken approved time out because of an illness or caring responsibility that has now come to an end for a period not exceeding one year
  • You are aged 60 or over on the first day of the first academic year of your course
  • You are entitled to Personal Independence Payment, Armed Forces Independence Payment or Disability Living Allowance.
  • You are entitled to housing benefit or the housing element of Universal Credit
  • You have disability and qualify for income related Employment Support Allowance.

Am I entitled to benefits?

Your benefit entitlement may change when you become a full-time student. This is because your student funding may be regarded as income when your benefits are being calculated. Please contact us on +44 (0)115 848 2494 or by email for further information.

Discretionary Hardship Fund

The Discretionary Hardship Fund is an amount of money available to eligible students who are suffering financial hardship. The Fund is cash limited and demand is high. A standard assessment procedure is used which calculates the level of support based on the gap between annual income and essential expenditure. Priority will be given to the following target groups: disabled students (especially where the DSA is unable to meet particular costs); care leavers, students who are estranged from their family and students who are unable to work due to illness / disability.

You can use this fund to supplement your main source of funding. However, it cannot be relied upon as a sole or main source of financial support and not intended to support your tuition fees.

You can find out more on our Discretionary Hardship Fund page.

You can also contact us on +44 (0)115 848 2494 or by email if you need more information.