Whilst we do not like the term Disabled Student Allowance (DSA) as we do not consider dyslexia and other SPLD’s to be disabilities, we would prefer to use the term learning difference.

Here’s what you need to know about DSA if you/ your son or daughter are heading off to uni and have a specific learning difficulty such as dyslexia or dyspraxia. Not exhaustive it’s just general advice! 

🌟 You do not necessarily need a post 16 assessment. IF your full diagnostic assessment was carried out by an who held an APC at the time of the assessment. This can be an issue if you were assessed in primary as the regulations changed in 2017 and prior to that some assessors only working in primary didn’t hold APC. It may have been done by an EP and that should also be acceptable. If in doubt submit the report it doesn’t cost anything at DSA will reject it and tell you why/ what to do if it’s not suitable!

Here is what is definitely NOT accepted for DSA purposes and further assessment would be required!

✖️JCQ form 8- this is only for exam access arrangements.

✖️Screenings these can appear detailed if they are paper based but they do not include all the assessment areas and wasn’t for the purpose of a diagnosis so EVEN IF the assessor has APC it cannot be used for DSA evidence. 

Some grey areas exist currently which have confused a couple of my students under the recent rule changes!

❓Some people are still being asked for post 16 assessments. 

❓Some people are being told diagnostic reports are acceptable even though the assessor held appropriate qualifications because some tests weren’t used. 

In the latter case check whether you can go back to the original assessor and get the additional information as a “top up.” Sadly this isn’t always possible as 10/11 years could have elapsed and assessors retire/ move roles etc- but worth asking! 

❓Some universities offer assessments at a subsided fee so you can pay less in the first place rather than going to another assessor and then claiming back a percentage as part of the DSA claim. HOWEVER your study needs assessment and subsequent support will potentially be delayed if you take this option!

❓The amount you can claim towards the assessment seems to vary considerably. I have students request a quotation and get a cheque payable to me in advance, others can claim a fixed amount of up to £300, some will pay in full or a means tested percentage. So do ask your chosen uni and then you go into the assessment knowing what the costs are. 

Good luck! 

Any questions please ask!


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