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 (eg dyslexia); or mental health condition.  
  • 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.

  • Register yourself on the AWE Portal to submit booking information for a DSA Study Needs Assessment.
  • AWE will contact you, offering 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 two working days before the appointment:
    1. complete the Pre-Assessment Form on the AWE Portal
    2. upload your medical evidence to the AWE Portal
    3. upload your Funding Body letter confirming DSA eligibility to the AWE Portal.
  • 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 two 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 email you, confirming your draft (if requested) and final report are ready to download within ten working days of your assessment.
  • If you have requested a draft report, you should contact AWE with any comments/amendments within three working days.
  • When your report is ready, you can download it from the AWE Portal.
  • AWE will send a copy of your final report to:
    1. your Funding Body
    2. 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
Email: or use the AWE enquiry form
Visit: Room 2P39 on Frenchay Campus

Back to top