Please note that the information on this webpage is for guidance only - it should not be construed as legal advice.

Visit Student Finance England for the most up-to-date information.

The purpose of the Disabled Students' Allowance assessment

The Disabled Students’ Allowance (DSA) needs assessment, will identify disability related needs and recommend compensatory strategies for you.

Before your assessment

You will first need to apply to your funding body for the DSA. in most cases this will be Student Finance England (SFE). If SFE is your funding body you can access the application form at the link above.

Your funding body will confirm whether or not you qualify for the DSA. If you do qualify, you will be emailed an approval letter, SFE refer to this as the DSA1. You will be provided with a link to access a list of the assessment centres. You will need to call the centre to make an appointment..

Please be aware that the University of Westminster has its own assessment centre called Central London Assessment Services (CLASS). They can arrange an assessment for you at Wells Street, Harrow, Marylebone or Chiswick. They can also offer you an assessment at Queen Mary University and London South Bank University..

Making an appointment

You can find the contact details for CLASS here.

You will need to indicate that you have been referred by your funding body and confirm you have received a DSA1 authorising an assessment. You will also need to provide additional information, including:

  • CRN (Customer reference Number)
  • name, telephone number, postal and email addresses
  • the nature of your disability and evidence of the disability
  • funding body (most often SFE) and a copy of the DSA1 letter
  • university address
  • course and year
  • available dates for interview

You will be sent an email with the date, time and venue of your assessment. The email will have a map showing where CLASS is located attached along with a pre assessment form for completion..

The waiting time for an appointment can vary depending on the time of year. If you are unable to attend an appointment, you need to contact CLASS as soon as possible.

Attending the assessment

CLASS is based in central London. See their find us page for details.

While the assessment is usually around 90 minutes, we recommend that you allocate either a whole morning or afternoon to attend your assessment, taking into account travelling time.

During the assessment interview

Your assessment will involve you and your needs assessor. The assessment is not a test. You will be asked about your course and what difficulties you experience as a consequence of your disability. Depending on your circumstances, suggestions will be offered with a view to finding strategies to support you in your studies. 

It is helpful if you think about and note down any particular difficulties you are experiencing as an individual, details of how your course will be taught, will you complete exams or just coursework, required to undertake placements etc and bring this with you to the assessment.

After the assessment

After the assessment, the assessor will write a report recommending strategies involving equipment or other support. This is sent to you and the funding body within 10 working days and if you have given your permission, to your disability advisor..

The funding body will review the report and, if they are agreeable to the recommendations, they will email you an entitlement letter, referred to as a DSA2 letter by SFE, confirming the support they’ve approved.

How to get the equipment or support

It is your responsibility to arrange the agreed support or equipment with the recommended suppliers. They will want to see a copy of your DSA2 letter before they supply the equipment or services.

You can ask your disability advisor to help you if you need assistance with ordering, but they will need to have a copy of your DSA2.

For some aspects of your claim (for example for a photocopying allowance) the funding body will require receipts to be sent with a claim form.

Further help

If over time your needs change, contact either Student Finance England or your needs assessor.