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The Study Needs Assessment

The Needs Assessment identifies the specific help you will need for your course.  It also identifies any training you might need for equipment or software.  The cost of this assessment will be met by the DSA.

How do I arrange an assessment?

The assessment can be arranged well before the start of term, as long as you have a conditional offer or a confirmed place at university or college. However, you should not arrange a needs assessment until your funding body agree for you to have one.
This should be confirmed in writing.

You can ask your college or university Disability Advisor to help you arrange the assessment. Or, get in touch with the NLRAC and book an assessment yourself.

You will have to email us these documents:

How do I prepare for the assessment?

  • Email us the documents (DSA1 letter, medical evidence and pre-assessment form)
  • Tell us if you require any personal assistance or communication support during the assessment.
  • Bring a few examples of your written work, such as lecture notes or essays.
  • During the assessment session you will have the opportunity to:
    • Consider all the things you need to be able to do when taking the course.
    • Think about how your support needs might affect you on the course.
    • Look at various strategies you could use to do these things as independently as possible. This might involve using technology aids.

And don’t worry! This is not going to be a test. We are here to help you and to find the best way the DSA can support you.

What happens in the Study Needs Assessment?

The assessor will ask questions to work out how your condition is affecting the different areas of your learning. Don’t worry, only the relevant information will end up in your report.

You will be shown assistive software and equipment, the assessor will discuss one to one support and any other strategies that will be helpful for you studies. At the end of the meeting together will the assessor you will agree your unique DSA support package. You will be asked to sign the consent forms so that the assessor can write your Study Needs Assessment report.

Normally, the meeting takes between one and two hours, but it make take longer.

What happens after the assessment?

The assessor will produce a written report of what was agreed with you and copies will be sent to you and your funding body for their agreement. Your disability adviser will also be sent a copy (with your permission).

The report is used by funding bodies to work out the support they are willing to fund from the Disabled Students Allowance (DSA). If the needs assessment report recommends you need something to help you study, this has to be agreed by your funding body.

The assessment helps you and your university or college discuss and agree important study strategies so that you can get the most out of your course.

We aim to produce your report within 10 working days of your assessment; you will have the option of seeing a draft copy if you wish. If that is the case, we aim to submit your report to your funding authority within 1 day of receiving your approval.  However, there may be occasions where this time scale cannot be met.  This would usually be due to the assessor having to obtain further information from your University's disability support service or the DSA support providers.

How much is the DSA?

2020 to 2021 academic year

 Specialist equipment allowanceNon-medical helper allowanceGeneral allowance
Full timeUp to £5,849 for the whole courseUp to £23,258 a yearUp to £1,954 a year
Part timeUp to £5,849 for the whole courseUp to £17,443 a yearUp to £1,465 a year

Postgraduates can get a single allowance of up to £20,580 a year.

For more information, check the government website: https://www.gov.uk/disabled-students-allowances-dsas

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