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) assessment or needs assessment, will determine what difficulties your disability presents for you while studying and how the DSA, which is awarded by your funding body (usually Student Finance England (SFE)), can be applied to your individual circumstances to help overcome those difficulties.
Before your assessment
You will first need to apply to your funding body for the DSA. If SFE is your funding body you can access the application form at the link above, though you will need to send it with the necessary evidence by post.
Your funding body will confirm whether or not you qualify for the DSA. If you do qualify, you will receive a DSA1 letter by post and email. There will be a link to the DSA-QAG website to assist with locating an assessment centre.
Please be aware that the University of Westminster houses its own assessment centre called Central London Assessment Services (CLASS). They can arrange an assessment for you at 101 New Cavendish Street or at Harrow.
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
- funding body (most often SFE)
- university address
- course and year
- available dates for interview
You will be sent a letter or an email with the date, time and venue of your assessment. The letter will also show a map of the general area in which CLASS is located.
The waiting time for an appointment can vary depending on the time of year. If you are unable to attend an appointment, contact CLASS as soon as possible.
Attending the assessment
CLASS is based in central London, in the same building as Disability Services. 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 assessor and, if you have a combination of disabilities, another assessor with experience in a particular area.
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 solutions to alleviate those difficulties.
Although the assessors are experienced in exploring the difficulties in general around specific disabilities, you are advised to think about and note down any particular difficulties you are experiencing as an individual 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 the funding body within 10 working days.
The funding body will review the report and, if they are agreeable to the recommendations, they will send you a DSA2 letter, by post, 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.
If over time your needs change, contact either Student Finance England or the assessor.