Higher Education - Support
You may be entitled to an extra grant to support you with your HE studies called the DSA, this is a government funded grant that is not repayable. The DSA stands for Disabled Students Allowance, but don’t be put off by the title, this could include:
- Dyslexia and other specific learning disabilities
- On-going medical and health circumstances likely to have a negative impact on your learning.
- Physical and sensory impairments that can create an unfair disadvantage at HE
What You Need To Do
Step 1: Evidence
You will be asked to supply recent evidence to Student Finance England to support your application. We can help you assemble this evidence. Please contact the Learning Support Department at Lancaster and Morecambe College. Other information is available at https://www.gov.uk/disabled-students-allowances-dsas/overview
There is a student guide that you can look at on this website:
Step 2: Apply
You can apply for DSA when you apply for student finance. It is simpler to apply online but paper based applications are available. We can also help with this as is can be complicated. As part of your application you will be asked to submit your evidence to Student Finance England, we are happy to support you with this process.
Step 3: Eligibility Letter
You will then receive an eligibility letter or email to confirm that you are entitled to an assessment. It is important to reply to this letter or email promptly. This starts the process and you have to select an assessment centre and confirm that you require an assessment. The assessment centre at Lancaster University is the closest one to college but you can book an appointment at an assessment centre of your choice. When you book online there is a list of assessment centres provided.
Step 4: Needs Assessment
This assessment is done by an independent assessor and is your opportunity to clearly state what you feel you need to be successful at HE and can last up to 2 hours. The assessor will discuss a range of different types of support including technology, human support, medical support and transport support. At the end of the assessment you will be given verbal feedback from the assessor about your likely support package. If you disagree you need to say so at this point.
The assessor will prepare a report which will be sent for consideration to your funding body. You will receive a draft report and it is important that you read this, as after this point it is difficult to change the recommendations if you feel they are not right for you.
Step 5: Entitlement Letter
Once the support package has been approved by Student Finance you will receive an entitlement letter. This letter or email is to inform you what has been agreed and how to order any equipment. You should check with Learning Support that they have also received this information. You will find the name of the contact on the HE provider’s website. For LMC is Darren Macfarlane.
Step 6: Support & Equipment
The HE provider can only put in place what is specified in the report. Equipment is provided from a separate supplier and you need to contact these.
Step 7: Reapply or Confirm
You can reapply if your circumstance change e.g.:
- If you change course
- Change HE provider
- You feel the package is no longer meeting your needs.
Prior to starting the second year of your course you will need to confirm to Student Finance that you are continuing your studies.
If you are unsure or just want to discuss this process with someone at college please contact Darren Macfarlane
All students at LMC also have access to a dedicated Programme Mentor.
The Programme Mentor for Higher Education is Shirley Stephenson.
More information about Programme Mentors