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Postgraduate Disabled Students' Allowance

If you are a student with disabilities there is no additional statutory funding available to help cover your course fees.

The extra support you can apply for is usually to pay for disability-related course costs.

Disability-related support

Under part 4 of the Disability Discrimination Act 1995 (DDA) education providers have a duty to make 'reasonable adjustments' to ensure disabled students are not placed at a 'substantial disadvantage' compared to non-disabled students.

If you are from the UK and you are on a full-time, part-time or distance learning postgraduate course and have disability-related course costs, you may be eligible for Disabled Students’ Allowance (DSA).

Part-time students must be studying at least 50% of the full-time equivalent course in order to qualify for DSA, i.e. you must complete the course in no longer than twice the time taken to complete an equivalent full-time course.

The course must last for a minimum of one-year full-time.

Examples of postgraduate study are research and taught Masters courses (MA, MSc, MEd, MPhil), Doctorates (PhD), Postgraduate Diplomas and Certificates e.g. Postgraduate Certificate of Education (PGCE).

However unlike undergraduate DSAs, there is one allowance for all costs.

Postgraduate DSAs are assessed by your local authority (LA) in England and Wales or in trial areas by the Student Loans Company, The Department of Employment and Learning (DEL) in Northern Ireland and Students Awards Agency for Scotland (SAAS).

How much can I get?

In England, Wales and Northern Ireland, the maximum amount for 2016/17 entry is £10,362 per year, which covers everything.

In Scotland, DSAs are available at the undergraduate rates. PGCE and other ITT courses are eligible for DSAs at the undergraduate rates.

Most Research Council funded study includes DSAs at the undergraduate rates.

Postgraduate DSAs are not means tested, which means your income and savings will not be taken into account when calculating how much you are entitled to.

Instead, the amount of support you are entitled to is established by the 'needs assessment' – this is carried out to decide what additional support you need to allow you to do your chosen course.

Who is not eligible for a DSA?

If you have obtained an award from a Research Council or a bursary from the NHS or General Social Care Council, you are not eligible for DSAs from your Local Authority.

Instead, you should apply directly to the Research Council, NHS Grants Unit or General Social Care Council.

Postgraduate students who receive awards that already include support for disability-related course costs from their institution are also not eligible for postgraduate DSAs.