This article is brought to you by Iansyst Ltd, the assistive technology and disability support specialists. We provide computers, devices, software and peripherals to students with disabilities through the government’s Disabled Students’ Allowance scheme.

The iansyst DSA Team, from left to right – Jordan, Chris, Matt, Michael, Verity and Charlie

The rise of disabled students in higher education

Higher education is often seen as the path to success. Individuals with higher education levels earn more, pay more taxes, and are more likely than others to be employed and to have job benefits such as retirement and health insurance. However for disabled students it can be harder to access higher education due to the many accommodation and accessibility considerations that must be made.

Despite this, over the past few years there has been an increase in disabled students pursuing higher education. In 2014 there were close to 230,000 disabled students enrolled in UK higher education, and that number rose to more than 300,000 in 2018.

This increase is partially due to the Disabled Students’ Allowance (DSA).

What is the Disabled Students’ Allowance?

The Disabled Students’ Allowance, also known as DSA, is a government grant for UK students with disabilities who are enrolled in higher education courses.

DSA grants help meet the extra costs students can face as a result of a disability, specific learning difficulty or health condition and are aimed at helping disabled people to study on an equal basis with other students.

Students are eligible for DSA if they have one of the following conditions:

  • learning difficulty, for example dyslexia or ADHD
  • mental health condition, like anxiety or depression
  • physical disability, for example if you’re partially sighted or have to use crutches
  • long-term health conditions such as cancer, chronic heart disease or HIV

Grants don’t depend on a student’s household income and are paid on top of the standard student finance package. The grant allowance is assessed on an individual basis and does not need to be paid back.

DSA Grants can help pay for the following:

  • specialist equipment, for example a computer if you need one because of your disability
  • non-medical helpers
  • extra travel because of your disability
  • other disability-related costs of studying

Click here for more information on the Disabled Students’ Allowance and to check your availability or to apply.

DSA yields positive outcomes for disabled students

Research shows that the DSA initiative has been effective in helping disabled students succeed in higher education.Students with mental health difficulties were especially positive about the impact of DSAs funded support on helping them to maintain the consistency of their academic work.

One recipient from 2017/18 said, “I suspect if I hadn’t had the support my work would have varied drastically. With the support in place, I have a better chance of completing the course than doing it on my own. I don’t feel as isolated or alienated. My needs have been acknowledged and if I need extra support there are people willing to help. If my mood is low I can just put the headset on and speak my thoughts. It makes writing and typing easier.”

Iansyst Ltd is an approved Disabled Students’ Allowance Assistive Technology supplier and provides specialist equipment, support and training for students who have received the DSA grant award.

Contact us for more information on the services we provide.



Phone: 01223 420 101