Disabled Students’ Allowances

Department for Education written question – answered on 13th February 2019.

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Photo of Bridget Phillipson Bridget Phillipson Labour, Houghton and Sunderland South

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps his Department is taking to ensure that prospective students eligible to receive Disabled Students’ Allowances (DSAs) receive adequate information on DSAs before starting their courses.

Photo of Chris Skidmore Chris Skidmore Vice-Chair, Conservative Party, Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy) (Universities and Science) (Joint with the Department for Education)

Information on Disabled Students’ Allowances (DSAs) is freely available on direct.gov at: https://www.gov.uk/disabled-students-allowances-dsas .

The Student Loans Company (SLC) works closely with higher education providers (HEPs) to promote DSAs to all of their students, by providing quick guides which can be passed to students at open days, and by working with HEPs Disability Services. During Student Money Week prospective students will be able to access online DSAs information provided by SLC.

In January 2015 statutory guidance for organisations which work with children and young people who have special educational needs (SEN) or disabilities was published, and is available here: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/398815/SEND_Code_of_Practice_January_2015.pdf .

This details how local authorities must publish a Local Offer, setting out in one place information about provision they expect to be available across education, health and social care for those in their area who have SEN or are disabled, including those who do not have education, health and care plans. The Local Offer must include information about support available to young people in higher education, particularly DSAs and the process and timescales for making an application.

In an article on 17 January, found here: https://www.theguardian.com/education/2019/jan/17/universities-can-do-more-to-support-their-disabled-students, I called on universities to do more to show disabled students that going to university can be an option for them, and to put disabled students front and centre in their planning to accommodate their needs.

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