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Disabled Students’ Allowance (DSA)

If you are deaf or have hearing loss and are in higher education, you may get help to cover the cost of any assistive devices or communication support that you need for your studies.

What Disabled Students’ Allowance is

Disabled Students’ Allowance (DSA) is support to cover the extra disability-related costs of studying. You can get it on top of any other student finance you get.

You will not have to pay the DSA back and it does not affect any other benefits you might get.

The type of support and how much you get depends on your individual needs – not your household income.

What DSA can pay for

If you are deaf or have hearing loss, DSA can be used to pay for:

  • communication support, such as a sign language interpreter or notetaker
  • specialist equipment or assistive technology, such as a personal listener.

Find out more about what DSA can pay for (GOV.UK)

Who can claim

You can apply for DSA if you are on a higher education course and have a disability that affects your ability to study. You can claim if you need support to study because you are deaf or have hearing loss.

You must also:

  • be an undergraduate or postgraduate student
  • qualify for funding from Student Finance
  • be on a higher education course that lasts at least a year.

Higher education courses are for people aged 18 or over and are run by colleges and universities.

If you are in further education, which includes A-levels and vocational courses, you cannot apply for DSA. Your college or schools should provide the assistive technology or communication support you need.

You will need to provide medical evidence to prove your eligibility, such as a letter from your doctor or audiologist (hearing specialist) explaining why you need support.

Find out more about who can claim DSA (GOV.UK)

How to claim

You need to apply for DSA through your country’s student finance agency. You can find more information on their website:

If you have accessibility needs

Each student finance agency should provide reasonable adjustments to make their application process accessible. Reasonable adjustments may include offering alternative communication methods for applications, for example.

You can find out about what’s available on your student finance agency website.


If you need help with benefits

Find out what benefits you’re entitled to

To find out which benefits you can claim, use the online Turn2us benefits calculator.

Get support in British Sign Language (BSL)

To get benefits advice or support in British Sign Language (BSL), contact the deafPLUS Advice Line They also have an online service to help you find local benefits advisors.

Get in touch

We’re unable to provide benefits advice at RNID, but we’ll let you know where to get the information and support you need. Contact us

Page last updated: 8 March 2024

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