Student Finance England DSA update - August 2015

04 August 2015

Since the last update in December the Student Loans Company (SLC) launched the Student Finance England (SFE) Disabled Student Allowance (DSA) application service for 2015/16. As we approach the start of term it’s important to encourage disabled students to apply for DSA now, to ensure they have their support in place for the start of term. Please help us by encouraging any student you are in contact with to apply for DSAs now.

To date we have processed over 23,000 applications for Academic Year 2015/16.

We also continue to receive applications for 2014/15, currently we have received over 66,000 applications.

DSA policy changes 

To help you understand the 2015/16 policy changes we have produced a fact sheet which highlights some of the key changes and provides links to the relevant policy information. It includes information on changes to manual notetaking, specialist equipment, missed NMH sessions, taxi accounts and more. You can view the fact sheet here.  

Assessment Centre Requests for Medical Evidence and DSA1 Confirmation Emails

Recently SLC wrote to all assessment centres regarding an increase in requests for medical evidence and DSA1 confirmation emails. We’re not resourced to handle the number of requests for medical evidence and DSA1 confirmation emails we currently receive and therefore will no longer issue copies of eligibility emails. This information is already emailed to students and a letter is also sent through the post.

We have engaged with Assessment Centres regarding improving our messages to students and making it easier for students to provide their own documentation to assessment centres. As a result, we have amended the DSA eligibility letter to remind students that assessment centres will need to see copies of their medical evidence. We plan to make it easier for students to provide medical evidence by email. We are also looking at further measures to ease the difficulties some students have with providing their documentation to assessment centres.

Regarding medical evidence, we would only provide this on a student’s behalf in exceptional circumstances. Moving forward we will be reviewing requests for medical evidence to ensure they are only been requested in exceptional circumstances

DSA continuing student form

In 2014/15 we created a form for continuing DSA students who need to reapply for DSAs each year, the ‘DSAC Application Form’ (students who need to reapply each year include; DSA only, Post Graduate and Part Time Students). We proactively contacted these students and advised them to complete a DSAC form.

We were able to process 80% of the returned forms and issue a ‘DSA Renew Letter’ confirming ongoing support. As a result of this exercise we were able to process 849 more invoices in the 14/15 AY, as these students already had support in place for 14/15 AY.

Due to the success of the DSAC form we plan to repeat this exercise for 2015/16 AY. We have made some slight changes to the form, which we believe will improve the return and acceptance rate. 

DSA Stakeholder Consultant

Since the last update our DSA Stakeholder Consultant Graham Tranter has been busy meeting with Disability Office teams, Needs Assessors and Assessment Centre Managers, HEP partners and Assistive Technology equipment suppliers, providing them with the latest information on DSA matters. Graham also provided 100 + stakeholders with a detailed walk-through of the latest DSA Guidance for 2015/16 AY, at the Barry Bennett Spring Workshops and the HEP Student Support Seminar.  If you would like Graham to visit your institution or organisation you can contact him on 07979 792 241 or e-mail:graham_tranter@slc.co.uk