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North London Regional Access Centre (NLRAC)

We want you to get the most out of your studies and will provide support to minimise unnecessary barriers to learning, enabling you to focus on succeeding at university.

Book your Study Needs Assessment appointment online or contact us by phone or email:

Email: adminac@mdx.ac.uk
Tel: 0208 411 5366 | Mob: 07792 663 197

North London Regional Access Centre at Middlesex University is an accredited centre, offering DSA Study Needs Assessments, advice and support for disabled students in higher education. Our services are available to any disabled students applying for or attending a UK-based institution.

All assessments are now remote – via phone/ video link. Our office hours remain unchanged and we have even better availability of appointments, so please Book your Study Needs Assessment appointment online or contact us by phone or email.

Mob: 07792 663 197
Tel: 020 8411 5366
Email: adminac@mdx.ac.uk

Our services

What we provide

  • DSA Study Needs Assessments
  • Advice and guidance about the needs assessment process
  • On-going support to resolve issues about equipment and support recommendations
  • Suitable equipment recommendations and practical support strategies to overcome barriers to learning
  • Recommendations for reasonable adjustments
  • Assistive technology training to help you use your recommended equipment effectively
  • Liaison with support providers to ensure support is arranged quickly and effectively

Watch our video for more information on what DSA can do for you.

  • The DSA application process

    • Gather your evidence

      You need to have a medical report, GP letter or SpLD diagnostic report.

    • Apply for DSA

      Apply online: www.gov.uk/disabled-students-allowances-dsas. You can ask the Disability and Dyslexia Service at Middlesex to help you with the application. Contact them at disability@mdx.ac.uk .

    • Receive confirmation for DSA eligibility

      DSA will send you a letter (DSA1) telling you if you can book a Study Needs Assessment.

    • Book your Study Needs Assessment

      You can book your Study Needs Assessment appointment online, call us on Tel: 0208 411 5366, Mob: 07792 663 197 or email us at adminac@mdx.ac.uk.

    • The Study Needs Assessment

      This is a meeting between you and the assessor to discuss the effects of your condition. The assessor will suggest strategies to help overcome the impact of the disability on your study. Don’t worry, this is not a test.

    • The DSA Needs Assessment Report

      The assessor will write a report, called the Needs Assessment Report, outlining your needs and recommended type(s) of support. The report will be sent to your funding body for their approval. We will send a copy of the report to you as well.

    • Receive response about your DSA support

      After your funding body receives the Needs Assessment Report, they will send you the DSA Notification of Entitlement letter (DSA2). Check your email for this letter.

    • The support

      The DSA2 letter will outline what support is approved and how to access it. You may need to place an order for your equipment to a specific supplier. If you are not sure, give us a call and we will help.

    • Get on with your studies

      The DSA support package will help you fulfil your potential and succeed on your course. You are welcome to contact us for advice and support throughout your university career. If your needs change or if you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us. Enjoy your university journey!

Students with disabilities and/or health conditions and face coverings

Students who can wear a face covering should do so at all times when in communal and shared indoor spaces. In shared indoor spaces you will be expected to wear a face covering unless you are eating and/or drinking.

We ask members of the #TeamMDX community to be socially responsible and adhere to approaches we are taking as an institution to keep us all safe.

Face coverings are not a substitute for other hygiene and safety measures, such as being tested when displaying symptoms, self-isolating when unwell or advised to, enhanced cleaning regimes, and regular hand-washing. These primary mitigation measures should always be followed.

We also encourage #TeamMDX to be mindful that some members of our community will be unable to wear face coverings or to follow particular COVID-19-secure systems on campus, such as one way systems, due to a health condition or disability.

In line with Government guidance, some students are exempt from wearing a face covering. This includes those who:

  • cannot put on, wear or remove a face covering because of a physical or mental illness or impairment, or disability
  • would experience extreme distress by putting on, wearing or removing a face covering
  • speak to or provide assistance to someone who relies on lip reading, clear sound or facial expressions to communicate

If you have a health or disability reason for not wearing a face covering you should not be routinely asked to give any written evidence of this and this includes exemption cards. You may however feel more comfortable showing something that says that you do not have to wear a face covering.

This is a personal choice and is not necessary in law, but we would encourage this so that you are not repeatedly asked. You may wish to collect an MDX face covering exempt lanyard and badge from Security in the Quad.

Appointments for needs assessments

Appointments for all Assessment Centres are available from 9.00am to 5.00pm, Monday to Friday, with assessments available at evening and weekends on request.

You can book your Study Needs Assessment appointment online for any of our centres. If you wish to find out more about our services and waiting times, please call 020 8411 5366 or email our team.

Please note that the North London Regional Access Centre (NLRAC) operates a flat fee policy; this means the cost of your assessment that is stated on the letter from your funding body also covers any queries or top-up assessments that you may need for the duration of your course – there will not be any additional charges to you from NLRAC.

Expected waiting times for a study needs assessment are up to 15 days, but appointments are typically arranged within one week.

  • Frequently asked questions

    • What does North London Regional Access Centre do?

      North London Regional Access Centre (NLRAC) is an assessment centre which carries out Study Needs Assessments for disabled students eligible for the Disabled Students’ Allowances (DSA).

      NLRAC operates from three sites and you could have your assessment at any one of them:

      • Middlesex University (main centre)
      • St. Mary’s University
      • CONEL Tottenham
    • What happens at the Study Needs Assessment?

      The Study Needs Assessment is not a test, there is no need to worry. It is a meeting between you and an assessor: an experienced and qualified person with knowledge of specialist equipment and who can support students with disabilities to study successfully at university. Students with a range of disabilities are assessed, including dyslexia, mental health or long-term medical conditions.

      At the meeting your needs and the demands of your course will be discussed. You will be able to see and try out the various pieces of ergonomic equipment and assistive software recommended by your assessor. The assessor will work with you to find the best solutions to aid your study and will aim to reach agreement with you about the equipment and support recommended.

    • How long is the Study Needs Assessment?

      Most assessments take up to two hours, however, some more complex cases may take longer. It is very important that you are on time for your assessment because if you are more than 30 minutes late, the assessor may not have time to see you and your appointment may have to be rescheduled.

    • How do I arrange for a Study Needs Assessment?

      Before you arrange an assessment, you must have written confirmation (email or letter) from your funding body that they agree for you to have a Study Needs Assessment.

      Book your Study Needs Assessment appointment online or simply get in touch with us to book your appointment:

      Tel: 020 8411 5366, Mob: 07792 663 197

      Email: adminac@mdx.ac.uk , web: www.mdx.ac.uk/access-centre

      We will ask you to email us two types of documents before your assessment meeting:

      • Your DSA approval letter or email that your funding body sent you.
      • Your medical evidence and/or diagnostic report; it is the same evidence you sent with your DSA application.

      If you have any special access requirements such as parking, British Sign Language interpretation, dimmed lighting or access to special equipment, please let us know in advance so that we can make the necessary arrangements.

    • Do I have to pay for my Study Needs Assessment?

      Like all assessment centres, NLRAC will charge a fee to carry out your Study Needs Assessment and produce the Needs Assessment Report.  You will not be personally charged for the assessment. The fee (£660 with no VAT) will be paid by the funding body as part of your DSA General Allowance. NLRAC will invoice your funding body directly.

    • What does the Study Needs Assessment fee cover?

      The needs assessment fee will cover most additional work required for the duration of your course for the purposes of review of your support requirements. This includes:

      • The Study Needs Assessment meeting and report
      • Advice and guidance about the needs assessment process and your DSA support package
      • Suitable equipment recommendations and practical support strategies to overcome barriers to learning
      • Liaising with your funding body, your Higher Education Provider, DSA funded support and equipment suppliers
      • On-going support to resolve issues about equipment and support recommendations

      In some cases, where a funded review is approved, you will be directed to your original assessment centre for another assessment. A funded review is a repeat assessment. Some examples of where a review assessment may be recommended include:

      • A new condition has been approved for DSA-funded support where substantial additional support is required
      • Progression to a post-graduate course
      • There has been a two-year gap in studies or more than five years have passed since your original Study Needs Assessment
    • How do I prepare for the Study Needs Assessment?
      • Find out about the activities you are or will be expected to participate in on your course for example:
        • How is the course delivered, e.g. lectures, seminars, labs?
        • How are you assessed, e.g. exams, coursework?
        • How might the workload change over the course?
        • How much reading will you need to do?
        • How many teaching days/ hours are there every week?
        • Do you need to go on a placement or undertake field trips?
      • Think about how effective your previous study strategies were. Did you have help from family, friends or teachers, or people who might not be able to help as much now?
      • Make sure you know how to get to the Access Centre.
      • Arrange any personal assistance you might need during the day.
      • Tell us if you need any access requirements
      • If relevant, bring along a few recent examples of your written work, such as lecture notes.
      • Speak to your tutors and disability support staff about your specific needs, as they could have useful suggestions. A letter from a tutor or disability adviser giving details of any specific concerns can be brought to the assessment or emailed in advance.
      • Consider all the things you will need to be able to do when taking the course.
      • Think about how your disability or condition might affect you on the course.
      • Look at various strategies you could use, some of which might involve using technology aids and to do these things as independently as possible.
    • What will the Study Needs Assessment Report include?

      The assessor will produce a written report of what was discussed and recommended during the assessment meeting. The report will be sent to you and your funding body for their agreement.

      The report (sometimes referred to as a 'Needs Assessment Report' or NAR) is used by funding bodies to work out the support they are willing to fund from the DSA.

      The assessment report will also help you and your university or college to discuss and agree important study strategies so that you can get the most out of your course.

      Your Needs Assessment Report will detail the issues that you discussed with the assessor during the assessment.  Please let the assessor know if there are any points raised in the discussion that you would rather not see noted in the final report.

      Recommendations for DSA funded equipment will be in line with the funding body DSA guidelines.  Suppliers of equipment recommended are those working to the DSA Suppliers Service Level Agreement.

    • When will I receive my report?

      We aim to produce your report within ten working days. Sometimes your assessor may ask you to provide additional information in order to complete the report.

      We will send you a copy of the report and submit it to your funding body within ten working days of your assessment. You will have the option of seeing the report before it is submitted to the funding body for their consideration.  Should that be the case, you need to respond to us within five working days of receiving your draft report. If we don’t hear from you, we will submit your report five days after we sent you a draft copy.

    • How do I know that my support has been approved?

      On receipt of the Study Needs Assessment report, your funding body will consider the recommendations made by your assessor. They will make a decision and will write to you directly explaining what type of support has been approved and what to do next. Please read this DSA entitlement letter carefully.

      If you do not receive the DSA entitlement letter within two weeks of receiving the report, please contact your funding body to enquire about the progress of your application. You could also ask your institution’s Disability Officer to assist you.

    • Who organises my support and equipment?

      It is your responsibility to do that. Once you receive your entitlement letter, you have to contact the equipment supplier and your support supplier(s) to make the necessary arrangements. The entitlement letter explains everything in detail, please read it carefully. If you need help, contact your institution’s Disability Officer, who will be able to assist you. You can also contact us for guidance.

    • Do I need to pay for my equipment or support?

      Students who do not have their own computer are asked to pay £200 towards the cost of a DSA-funded desktop or laptop.  If you are not able to make the £200 contribution, contact your university or college for advice.

      Student who are approved for DSA-funded travel support are asked to pay the public transport cost for their journeys. The remainder of the cost is covered by the DSA.

    • What kind of computer will I get?

      Your assessor can normally recommend a standard Windows laptop or desktop computer that meets the minimum requirements to run the assistive software. If you prefer a different computer, for example a high specification machine or an Apple Mac, you can negotiate with your equipment supplier at the point of ordering.  It will be your responsibility to cover the difference in cost. Please note that you cannot decline some elements of your DSA award to pay towards another. For example, it will not be possible to decline a software package in order to use the funding towards an Apple Mac. If you decline an item, the funding for it will simply be deducted from the total allowance.

    • Can I purchase my computer from a high-street shop?

      Yes, you can, but you need to ask your funding body’s permission before you do that.

    • Who will deliver and set up my equipment?

      Your equipment supplier will explain to you how to order your equipment. They will agree a delivery date with you and will help you set it up when it arrives. They will check that the correct items have been delivered and are working properly.

    • What if something goes wrong with my equipment or my support?

      If you have any technical queries (e.g. problems with the equipment or software), contact your equipment supplier. Your DSA- funded equipment will be insured, so check the insurance policy after delivery.

      If there are issues with your 1:1 support, you need to discuss them with your support supplier. If the issues still persist, please contact us and we will try to help.

What students say about NLRAC

"I was very happy at the way I was supported. The assessor was helpful and assisted me in different areas of my disability in learning. I felt I was guided, given support and signposted to where I will also get help with particular areas of concern. My assessor provided excellent and accurate information to me, in a polite and professional manner which made all the difference to me in my experience at my DSA study needs assessment."

“The study needs assessment meeting was informative, not long, to the point and about things that could be helpful to my studies.”

“Very happy with my assessment. ”

“Very friendly, welcoming assessor, helpful in identifying what could be useful for my needs.”

“DSA assessment helped me a lot to feel more independent. I'm finding studying more easy now.”

“Really fast appointment slot, really helpful and easy to arrange. I felt listened to and understood, as well as not being judged.”

"The assessor is a very lovely person and made the process very easy and simple. I'm very thankful for all of the support the assessor has given me."

“Very thorough assessment. The assessor was excellent.”

“Very good assessor, very easy to book the appointment. All staff are very friendly. ”

“Excellent, well-structured conversation on the challenges of doctoral studies. Very helpful to discuss new strategies for the next level of academic studies. ”

“Friendly and professional staff. They are knowledgeable about their field and quick to help. I felt at ease during the assessment. ”

“The assessor was great, really thorough with all the software accessible to me. The assessor demonstrated and talked me through all the processes, helping me gain some familiarity and understanding of the programs recommended. Really helpful session. ”

"The manager has excellent customer service skills, really helpful and friendly. Made me feel listened to and welcome. The assessor who completed the assessment, left me feeling positive about my learning journey."

"Prompt assessment (within two days). Made to feel comfortable and relaxed."

“The information as very clear and the assessor explained everything perfectly. ”

“My experience was excellent. ”

“Very friendly, efficient and helpful. I learned a lot about the services available to me. ”

“Very good service with plenty of options to help me in my education. ”

“The assessment was amazing. I can not express in words how satisfied I am. The assessor was intelligent, understanding and experienced. They listened to me and gave me priceless advice. I was given a lot of support. The assessment have left a mark in my heart. I am very very pleased with my assessor.”

Where to find us

Middlesex NLRAC

North London Regional Access Centre
Shepherd Library
Lower Ground Floor
Middlesex University
The Burroughs
Tel: 020 8411 5366 / 0779 266 3197

Directions to the campus.
Car parking is available on site for Blue Badge holders, and can be arranged in advance upon request.

St Mary's

St Mary's Access Centre
St Mary's University
Student Centre
Waldegrave Road
Strawberry Hill

Tel: 020 8411 5366 / 0779 266 3197
Email: adminac@mdx.ac.uk

Directions to the campus.
Car parking is available on site for Blue Badge holders, and can be arranged in advance upon request.

CONEL Tottenham Access Centre

The College of Haringey, Enfield, and North East London
High Road
N15 4RU

Tel: 020 8411 5366 / 0779 266 3197
Email: adminac@mdx.ac.uk

Directions to the campus.
Car parking is available on site for Blue Badge holders, and can be arranged in advance upon request.

Bloomsbury Outreach Centre

Rada Studios
16 Chenies Street

Tel: 020 8411 5366 / 0779 266 3197
Email: adminac@mdx.ac.uk

Directions to the campus.

Limited car parking for Blue Badge holders


We always welcome feedback (positive and constructive) from students and staff about our services.

If you wish to provide us with feedback then please email the Access Centre Manager.

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