National computing and disability charity, AbilityNet, has launched a campaign to encourage students in Higher Education to take up the Disabled Students’ Allowances (DSAs).
Virtually the only countrywide grant still available to those who need it, DSAs are available to any UK University student with a disability, on-going health condition, sensory impairment, mental health condition or specific learning difficulty such as dyslexia, which may impede their ability to study.
The grant – which is provided by a Funding Body such as Student Finance England or NHS and does not have to be repaid – is designed to cover the cost of specialist technology (both hardware and software) as well as special support to facilitate the learning experience.
AbilityNet’s DSA centre has already supported more than 2000 students through the application to implementation process, and has assessed more than 425 different types of disabling condition.
Says AbilityNet Head of DSA, Hayley Clark: “Many students have absolutely no idea that they are eligible for this supplementary allowance, which is not means tested and can provide considerable support, make a real difference in their studies and provide strategies that can be continued into future employment.”
The support can be worth over £5000 in equipment alone or up to £21,000 for non-medical help in the form of a personal assistant or extra travel costs depending on the requirements of the individual.
Students are required to produce evidence to their Funding Body to support their DSA application. Once eligibility is agreed, AbilityNet or any other approved centre can provide an in-depth needs’ assessment and arrange the supply of prescribed kit and recommended support.
Kevin Carey, Chair of the RNIB says: “Given the turbulence in the jobs’ market and Government support for disabled people being so much in doubt, this is the one big opportunity for disabled people to get even with or get ahead of their non-disabled peers. They probably won’t enjoy a chance as good as this again!”
National charity, AbilityNet (www.abilitynet.org.uk), has over 20 years’ experience in adapting technology that enables people with disabilities to improve their lives at home, at work and in education. Globally acclaimed for its expertise in workplace disability management and on-line accessibility, AbilityNet has worked with clients in the private, public and voluntary sector, including all major Departments of HM Government and many FTSE 100 companies.
AbilityNet’s DSA Centre guarantees that every student is seen within 15 working days of their initial enquiry, ensuring that precious study time is not lost. With the latest adaptive and assistive technologies on the market, flexible operating hours and a relaxing environment, AbilityNet is an increasingly popular choice for discerning Disability Advisers, Student Support Teams and students seeking DSA advice.