How to access support

Introduction to accessing support

The following sections will give an overview of Disabled Students' Allowances and how to access any support that may be recommended for you.

Disabled Students’ Allowances

If you have a disability, medical condition, specific learning difficulty (including dyslexia) or mental health difficulty you may be entitled to apply for Disabled Students’ Allowances (DSAs). Most disabled students are able to get their disability-related support needs funded through the DSA.

To qualify you will need to provide evidence to your funding body (Student Finance England or NHS Student Bursaries). Disabled Students' Allowances are not means-tested and can be used to fund a range of assistive technology, training, support workers and professional tuition.

If your funding body decides you qualify for Disabled Students’ Allowances, then you will be advised to have a Disabled Students’ Allowances needs assessment. This will identify the type and level of support you will need while studying. The assessment must be carried out at an approved centre such as Access West of England.

Disabled Students Allowances (DSA) needs assessments can be arranged through Access West of England. As a disabled applicant or student you should organise your DSA Needs Assessment as soon as you receive either a conditional or unconditional offer from your chosen university or college. This way the right study support can be put in place for the start of your course. However, a DSA needs assessment can be carried out at any stage of your studies.

More information about how to claim this allowance and other related topics is available on our Disabled Students Allowances (DSAs) page but you may also find our useful links section helpful.

Programmes which may stop you from obtaining Disabled Students' Allowances

If your programme or chosen study route fits into the following categories you may not be eligible for funding from Disabled Students' Allowances:

  • 'Stand-alone' or short courses.
  • Studying part-time and less than 50% of the full-time equivalent programme.
  • Foundation courses with no direct link to a degree course.
  • Some postgraduate courses that are not 'designated' or do not meet the criteria for part-time support. This includes postgraduate research programmes.

Rules around eligibility are complex. If you are unsure, please contact the Disability Service for further information or advice.

If you are not eligible for Disabled Students’ Allowances we can still help you with reasonable adjustments, support and equipment. Please make a Disability Advice Appointment, either by phone or in person via Information Point.

European Union or international students with disabilities

UWE Bristol has a growing number of international students and we welcome applications from people with disabilities.

You are strongly encouraged to disclose any disability on your application to the University. This allows us to help you identify any disability-related support needs and to make sure you receive the correct advice and guidance about how your needs can be met. Please see our guidance for new students for more information.

International and EU students are not normally eligible for Disabled Students' Allowances, which is UK funding to pay for disability support such as assistive technology or support workers.

Disabled Students' Allowances are only available to UK students, including students who hold 'EEA Migrant Worker' status. EU and international students are, therefore, ineligible except EU students who have been living in the UK for a number of years. There is currently no disability-related funding available through the UK Government. If you are not a UK student, it may be worth checking whether your home government or the European Union can assist with funding your disability-related support needs or if they have any grants available in the first instance.

If you are not eligible to apply for Disabled Student Allowances, we can still help you with reasonable adjustments, support and equipment. Please make a Disability Advice Appointment, either by phone or in person via Information Point.

If you are not eligible for Disabled Students' Allowances or you don't have enough funding

UK students can apply to for a Learner Support Fund to help with:

  • study-related support which is more than that available through Disabled Students' Allowances or for programmes which are not covered by Disabled Students' Allowances
  • other disability-related costs that cannot be met from Disabled Students' Allowances or through disability benefits
  • dyslexia identification tests. 

UWE Bristol has recently developed a system to fund students who are not eligible for Disabled Students’ Allowances. Please contact Information Point if you would like to make an appointment to see or speak with us. You can do this whether you are a prospective student, an applicant, a current student or a graduate. If you are a current student or graduate you are welcome to fill out our online enquiry form or to make an appointment to see or speak with us.

If your study support needs change

If you change your course of study, or your disability support needs change while you are studying, you may need a ‘top-up’ DSA needs assessment. If so, first contact Disability Service for advice about additional support options.

Arranging non-medical helper support

Your DSA Study Needs Assessment report may include recommendations for non-medical helper support, such as specialist tuition, note-taking support, assistive IT training, or study mentoring. If so, then it is your responsibility to contact the relevant staff or suppliers to action the support. Contact details will be at the end of your report. If you are unsure how to go about accessing the support, you should contact Disability Service for advice.

The University runs a Support Worker Service (SWS), based within Disability Service. The SWS can assist disabled students to identify and organise non-medical support workers in order to access their studies. Students are not obliged to use this service and are welcome to make their own support worker arrangements.

More information about using non-medical support workers is available.

Tuition for students with dyslexia or specific learning difficulties

As part of the Dyslexia/SpLD Service, one-to-one specialist study skills tuition is available to students with specific learning difficulties including dyslexia. You can make enquires or book your support by contacting the Dyslexia/SpLD Service on +44 (0)117 32 83589 or email spld@uwe.ac.uk.

Tuition is offered on a one-to-one basis and each session lasts for one hour. You can organise your own dyslexia tuition if you prefer.

How is your need for tuition identified?

Your need for specialist tuition is normally agreed as part of your Disabled Students’ Allowances needs assessment. A copy of your assessment report is then sent to your funding body (normally Student Finance England or the NHS Grants Unit). Your funding body will then confirm whether they agree to fund the recommendation made for you to have tuition.

How do you access dyslexia (or other specific learning difficulty) tuition?

To arrange your one-to-one specialist study skills tuition please contact the Dyslexia/SpLD Service on +44 (0)117 32 83589 or email spld@uwe.ac.uk to let them know when you would like to start receiving your tuition.

How is my tuition paid for?

Your tuition will normally be paid from Disabled Students' Allowances (DSAs). If you choose to use UWE Bristol’s Dyslexia/SpLD Service, we will administer the funding of your tuition from Disabled Students' Allowances on your behalf. We will also monitor the payment against the funds available to you.

Where can I have my tuition?

One-to-one specialist study skills tuition is available at the Frenchay, Glenside and Bower Ashton campuses. If you’d like to book your tuition please contact the Dyslexia/SpLD Service on +44 (0)117 32 83589 or email spld@uwe.ac.uk.

Obtaining assistive technology

A common outcome from a Disabled Students’ Allowances needs assessment is a recommendation for the purchase of specialist equipment (or 'assistive technology'). It may also include training on how to use this effectively.

Further information and guides about assistive technology at UWE Bristol are also available.

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