How to apply for DSA and get evidence of your disability

Find out more about how to apply for DSA and get evidence of your disability, including which application form to complete, what evidence of your disability to provide, where to find the relevant forms, when to apply and how long the process takes.


How to apply for DSA and get evidence of your disability

Which DSA application form do I complete?

There are two different DSA application forms:

  • DSA1 form.
  • DSA Slim form.

You only need to complete one form. Read below to find out which form you should complete based on your circumstances.


DSA Slim form

You should complete a DSA Slim form if you are a:

  • Full-time, undergraduate student and have already applied for student finance.

You can sign into your student finance account to apply for DSA. You should see this in your “to-do list”. If not, you should select “change your circumstances”.

  • Full-time, undergraduate student and are applying or are due to apply for student finance.

You can apply for DSA at the same time.


DSA1 form

You should complete a DSA1 form if you are a:

  • Full-time student and applying for student finance by post.
  • Full-time student and not applying for student finance.
  • Part-time student.
  • Postgraduate student.

If you complete a DSA1 form, you will need to reapply for DSA each academic year.


Students not from England

There is a different process to apply for student finance and/or DSA if you are a student from:

  • Scotland.
  • Northern Ireland.
  • Wales.
  • Jersey.
  • Guernsey.
  • Isle of Man.

Our useful links page contains links to each of these funding bodies.


What will the form ask?

Below is a list of information that you will need for a DSA Slim form.

  • Personal details.
  • Whether you receive any other financial support.
  • Information about and evidence of your disability.
  • Your consent to share your information with Disability Services at the University, your DSA Needs Assessor and your DSA suppliers where necessary to help you.
  • Your banking or building society account details (should any support costs need to be reimbursed).
  • A declaration to confirm that the information provided is true.

There is a section of the DSA1 application form which the University is required to complete. Please arrange an on-campus appointment with a Disability Adviser to complete this section. If you are unable to attend campus, you can submit your application form with this section left blank, as the funding body will contact the University to complete this section.


What evidence of a disability do I need to provide?

When applying for DSA, you will need to provide evidence of your disability or condition. You will need a report or letter from a medical professional (such as a doctor, consultant, practitioner, psychologist, or suitably qualified specialist teacher) which shows that:

  • You have a disability or condition.
  • This disability or condition is long-term, where “long-term” means lasting or having the potential to last 12 months or more.
  • This disability or condition impacts your day-to-day life and your studies.

If you are unsure about what is considered a disability, this information is provided in step one of the step-by-step guide.

There is also a simple and straightforward DSA disability evidence form, which you can ask the medical professional to complete instead of a report or letter.

However, if you have a specific learning difficulty, such as dyslexia, your evidence needs to be in the form of a full diagnostic report, such as an Educational Psychologist Assessment. If you think that you may have a specific learning difficulty and have not been assessed, please contact Disability Services here at the University, as we can arrange for you to have an assessment. Please do be aware that there will be a small contribution that you are asked to pay towards the full cost of the assessment.

If you already have evidence of your disability or condition and you feel that it satisfies the criteria, you are more than welcome to use this. If you are unsure if your evidence is suitable, you can check with Disability Services.


How do I submit my application?

Submit your completed DSA application form together with a copy (either photocopied, scanned or photographed) of your evidence of your disability.

You may choose to send these forms in electronic form by email or by printing them and sending by post. Details of where to send your application will be specified on the form.

Disability Services are more than happy to check over your application before submission or assist you if you are struggling.


When should I apply?

It is advisable to apply as early as possible, as it takes a number of weeks to complete the DSA process.

You can apply at any point during your studies, including before you start. You can apply as early as March onwards for a September start.


How long does the process take?

You should find out if you are eligible for DSA within 6 to 8 weeks of applying. If you are eligible, you should then book a Study Needs Assessment. Each Assessment Centre will display their waiting times on their websites.

You should find out what support you are entitled to within 10 working days of the funding body receiving your Study Needs Assessment report.

You should receive your DSA support within up to 14 weeks in total from start to finish of the DSA process.


Further information

To find out more about DSA, take a look at the rest of the information on the step-by-step guide, or visit our useful links page

If you need any further assistance, please email Disability Services at