Disabled Students Allowances

CSW supply specialist mentoring support and specialist one to one study skills tuition for students in Higher Education who have a diagnosis of Autism. Some students may benefit from Disabled Students Allowance funding.

Disabled Students Allowance is funding that is available via the students own funding body for their tuition fees.  It is not a loan and does not have to be paid back when they finish their course.  The funding is available for each year of the student’s course.  DSA funding is available for students studying part time, full time, undergraduate study and post graduate study.  The funding is available regardless of where the student chooses to study, away from home or near their home. Students can apply for DSA funding before they commence their course or at any stage throughout their course of study.

Often students with ASD will be recommended by their study needs assessor for DSA funding to receive specialist one to one study skills tuition or specialist mentoring support or a combination of both.  At CSW we believe that those students who have been recommended both types of support might benefit from having their tutor and mentor rolled into one person.  We believe that the minimum number of people to work with and get to know, to build trust with may work in the best interests of the student.  We believe support should be helpful from the earliest opportunity and building those relationships with more than one person may increase anxiety about accessing support and have an impact on the student’s wellbeing. We, of course, want to ensure a good match from the earliest possible opportunity and to ensure that the student can work with and get along with their tutor/mentor.  We understand not everyone is able to work with everyone else (we are all individuals!) and to ensure the best match we offer a swift change of support worker to fit the needs of the student when and if required.  Our team of mentors/tutors have extensive experience of supporting students with a diagnosis of ASD and we match the support worker to the student by looking at their course of study and their particular difficulties and the experience of the support worker to find the best fit.

At our offices in Southampton we offer quiet spaces for students to meeting their mentors and tutors and for private study when the campus is busy and overwhelming.  Our offices are visually quiet and uncluttered; the décor is pale and unobtrusive with no patterns or loud colours that can be disturbing to our students.  We offer free refreshments and Wi-Fi to students to make their visit as comfortable as possible and we do use students preferred choice of biscuit/tea/coffee to inform our shopping list.

Disabled Students Allowance is funding that is available via the students own funding body for their tuition fees.  It is not a loan and does not have to be paid back when they finish their course.  The funding is available for each year of the students study and is available regardless of where the student chooses to study, away from home or near their home.

Click the links below to find out if you or someone you know may be eligible for DSA funded support whilst studying at university.

For students living in England:

Student Finance England: https://www.practitioners.slc.co.uk/products/

For students living in Wales:

Student Finance Wales: https://www.studentfinancewales.co.uk/undergraduate-students/new-students/what-financial-support-is-available/disabled-students-allowances.aspx

For students living in Northern Ireland:

Student Finance Northern Ireland: https://www.studentfinanceni.co.uk/  (TOP TIP: search this site for ‘disabled students allowances’ then click ‘full’ or ‘part time’, ‘undergraduate’ or ‘post graduate’ as appropriate)

The Process:

Once the application form has been submitted to the funding authority, the form can take a couple of weeks to process and to confirm eligibility. Once the funding body has confirmed eligibility the prospective student will be asked to attend a study needs assessment.  This is where the prospective student has the opportunity to describe the difficulties they face when studying and the study needs assessor can find out what support this particular individual prospective student will require to level the playing field to enable them to study and to achieve to their best ability.  Though this appointment is called an assessment, it is not assessing the student, only the barriers to their learning and how they can be best overcome.  The prospective student has the choice of where they would like to have their study needs assessment undertaken. 

Click the link to the official Disabled Students Allowances Quality Assurance Group website:

Just pop in your post code and the website will list all the assessment centres closest to you.  You can call the local assessment centre and have a chat and choose the one you feel is best suited to your needs.

A study needs assessment report is then produced and sent to the funding body for authorisation of all the recommendations that the assessor and the student have agreed in their discussion, would work best for that student.

To find out more please talk to us on 02380 550 920 or email Gilly.McKenzie@cswgroup.co.uk.