The assessment process

Introduction to the assessment process

The following explains each step of the Disabled Students' Allowances study needs assessment process, including what to do before and after your assessment.

You may also find this short film from Student Finance England helpful:

The assessment process explained

Before the DSA Study Needs Assessment - what do you need to do?

DSA application

  • Obtain medical evidence of your condition; impairment; specific learning difficulty (e.g. dyslexia); or mental health difficulty  
  • Apply to your Funding Body for Disabled Students' Allowance (DSA) with your medical evidence

Provisional booking

  • You will receive a letter from your Funding Body confirming you are eligible to attend a DSA Study Needs Assessment
  • Contact Access West of England (AWE) and book a provisional DSA Study Needs Assessment
  • AWE will offer you an appointment date within 15 working days in compliance with DSA-QAG quality assurance standards, although it is usually sooner than this

Booking confirmation

  • At least 2 working days before the appointment:
    1) send your medical evidence to AWE
    2) send your Funding Body letter confirming DSA eligibility to AWE
    3) complete an on-line Pre-Assessment Form
  • Once AWE have received the required documents they will contact you to confirm the appointment and provide additional details

DSA Study Needs Assessment

Assessment appointment

  • If you use your own laptop, tablet or smartphone please bring it to the appointment
  • You should allow about 2 hours for the appointment
  • The Assessor will ask you about the disability-related difficulties that affect your studies
  • The Assessor may show you some software and / or other technology but you will not have to do any tests

After the DSA Study Needs Assessment - what happens next?


  • AWE will send you a report within 10 working days of your assessment
  • If you have requested a draft report, you should contact AWE with any comments/amendments within 3 working days
  • AWE will send a copy of the final report to:
    1) you
    2) your Funding Body and
    3) the Disability Service at your University / College (if previously agreed)

DSA entitlement letter

  • You should receive a letter from your Funding Body after about two weeks detailing which of the recommended support will be funded
  • You should contact your Funding Body if you do not receive this letter

Organising support

Your Funding Body letter will inform you how to:

  • Contact the named provider to organise any recommended human study support
  • Contact the named provider to arrange delivery of any recommended equipment
  • Contact the named provider to organise any assistive technology training
  • Claim costs of any recommended allowances

During the rest of your studies - what if your circumstances change?

Change of circumstances

  • Contact your Disability Service if you need changes to your DSA funded support
  • AWE may be able to provide a review or make changes to recommendations, if requested

Contact AWE

Telephone: +44 (0)117 32 83396
or use the AWE enquiry form.

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