Ahead of the new academic year, disability charity Disability Rights UK is calling on the Department of Education to remove the £200 charge disabled students have to pay for specialist equipment.
Fazilet Hadi, DR UK’s head of policy, says: “Not only is it harder for disabled people to get to university but when we get there, we still don’t always get the support we need.”
Recently, the All Party Parliamentary Group on Disability highlighted the ongoing barriers the disabled students face when attending university.
From additional challenges getting places in university to increased costs, or issues around accessibility, a lot of work is still required for an inclusive university experience.
Similarly, some students have experienced delays in receiving accessible equipment and the financial contribution towards equipment.
Hadi continues: “It is not acceptable that disabled students have to pay for their own reasonable adjustments.
“The government recognises the need for adaptations in the workplace and provides free of charge equipment and support for employees under the Access to Work Scheme.
“Disabled students, who lack the benefit of a salary, should be given the same parity of experience in the form of necessary equipment, free at the point of need.
“Given the shift to online learning this year, the contribution must be discontinued to give disabled students their best shot at a high-quality education.”
Further delays in receiving accessible equipment will leave many disabled students behind as we look to online learning in the future.
The APPG intends to write to Gavin Williamson, Secretary of State for Education, asking that he ensures that accessible equipment is received by disabled students in August and that the £200 contribution is removed.