DSA Disabled Students Allowance Laptop Upgrade Advice - Please Help!

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Hi there,

I've searched through all the posts relating to DSA laptops on this forum, but haven't been able to find a direct answer, and have seen lots of people asking this question - if you can help please respond as I know it will help a lot of people who are wondering!

So basically I'm applying for DSA as part of my uni application due to mental health conditions (I'm also going to be tested for dyslexia in September)

I've heard people usually receive a laptop from DSA, but that you have to contribute £200 towards it. I've also heard this is usually a low spec laptop.
I know that there is an option to upgrade this laptop

I'm planning to buy a new laptop for my studies, but I want to get a Macbook Pro as I'm used to using Mac OS and if I'm going to contribute to a laptop I want it to be one I can use for years to come.

My question is how much does DSA actually contribute to your laptop, and how does upgrading work? I understand it might be different people but even a ballpark figure?
Can you pick the vendor that the laptop is bought from? Will DSA reimburse you if you send them receipts?
Will DSA remove VAT from this laptop purchase?

Any help with this will be greatly appreciated!!
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GatoMessi
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(Original post by alatar)
Hi there,

I've searched through all the posts relating to DSA laptops on this forum, but haven't been able to find a direct answer, and have seen lots of people asking this question - if you can help please respond as I know it will help a lot of people who are wondering!

So basically I'm applying for DSA as part of my uni application due to mental health conditions (I'm also going to be tested for dyslexia in September)

I've heard people usually receive a laptop from DSA, but that you have to contribute £200 towards it. I've also heard this is usually a low spec laptop.
I know that there is an option to upgrade this laptop

I'm planning to buy a new laptop for my studies, but I want to get a Macbook Pro as I'm used to using Mac OS and if I'm going to contribute to a laptop I want it to be one I can use for years to come.

My question is how much does DSA actually contribute to your laptop, and how does upgrading work? I understand it might be different people but even a ballpark figure?
Can you pick the vendor that the laptop is bought from? Will DSA reimburse you if you send them receipts?
Will DSA remove VAT from this laptop purchase?

Any help with this will be greatly appreciated!!
Normally they will offer you a laptop as cheap as possible. By contributing £200, most of us are more likely to get a £349 laptop (in addition to any specifications for your needs. For example, if you have a speech problem, they can added it to the laptop for free) !!!! However I did not get it because I had withdrawn from the course already, neither did I pay the £200. I am profoundly deaf, and I also claimed DSA.

Anyway, if you really want to get the Macbook Pro, you really need to explain them a very good reason why you need a Macbook Pro for. In most cases, they will be supplying you a laptop or any other equipment for your needs.

Therefore, do not get your hope so high for a Macbook Pro laptop, but you never know you might get it, with a very good explanation. Whatever equipment you are going to get, please do claim as soon as possible, preferably before the starting of your studies. I had to wait till December for an assessment, 3 (THREE) months after I made the claim. Therefore it is best to start an assessment before you start your studies

I wish you the best of luck to it
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(Original post by GatoMessi)
Normally they will offer you a laptop as cheap as possible. By contributing £200, most of us are more likely to get a £349 laptop (in addition to any specifications for your needs. For example, if you have a speech problem, they can added it to the laptop for free) !!!! However I did not get it because I had withdrawn from the course already, neither did I pay the £200. I am profoundly deaf, and I also claimed DSA.

Anyway, if you really want to get the Macbook Pro, you really need to explain them a very good reason why you need a Macbook Pro for. In most cases, they will be supplying you a laptop or any other equipment for your needs.

Therefore, do not get your hope so high for a Macbook Pro laptop, but you never know you might get it, with a very good explanation. Whatever equipment you are going to get, please do claim as soon as possible, preferably before the starting of your studies. I had to wait till December for an assessment, 3 (THREE) months after I made the claim. Therefore it is best to start an assessment before you start your studies

I wish you the best of luck to it
Thanks so much for your reply and advice! I wish you the very best too

Just to clarify for anyone else reading the thread:

I understand that DSA is only going to provide the cheapest laptop possible - I don't expect them to give me a Macbook!
I certainly don't specifically need a Macbook as part of my disability - and wouldn't want DSA to pay the full fee towards it at all, I'm more than happy to pay the extra towards it.
However a laptop is certainly something that will benefit my disability - I just think it would be more efficient to put the standard laptop allowance towards a computer I would actually want & use, rather than one that I would not be able to get full functionality from.

I am just trying to ascertain how much DSA will contribute based on their standard laptop recommendation, whether I can select the supplier myself, and whether DSA will allow the purchase to be VAT free.
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GatoMessi
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(Original post by alatar)
Thanks so much for your reply and advice! I wish you the very best too

Just to clarify for anyone else reading the thread:

I understand that DSA is only going to provide the cheapest laptop possible - I don't expect them to give me a Macbook!
I certainly don't specifically need a Macbook as part of my disability - and wouldn't want DSA to pay the full fee towards it at all, I'm more than happy to pay the extra towards it.
However a laptop is certainly something that will benefit my disability - I just think it would be more efficient to put the standard laptop allowance towards a computer I would actually want & use, rather than one that I would not be able to get full functionality from.

I am just trying to ascertain how much DSA will contribute based on their standard laptop recommendation, whether I can select the supplier myself, and whether DSA will allow the purchase to be VAT free.
This is something you will have to talk to a DSA assessment if you haven't done yet.
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elliffects
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Hello, In my experience with DSA I had a fairly new laptop when I applied so they didn't offer me one - however they did offer me all of the relevant accessories that worked with the laptop I already had. Sometimes it is worth just purchasing your own laptop, then you can have confidence in the fact that it is exactly what you want and need for your course. To my knowledge you get given a choice of a few different laptops, nothing too fancy but you will be able to view the specifications when the equipment supplier talks you through all of the equipment that DSA have decided to fund for your specific needs. Please bear in mind I made my application June/July this year (2020) and have received my equipment already. They may be changing everything up now due to the relaxation of Covid measures. I also 100% recommend getting gadget insurance for your laptop, especially if you're buying your own as some store warranties don't cover accidental breakage. Hope this helps!
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kuponut
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I bought myself the laptop I wanted (having made sure it met the DSA specs) and then the needs assessment report quoted just for supply and installation of the software onto my existing laptop. Might be the other way of doing it.

I've since used the licence keys and moved most of it over onto a macbook from personal choice (it was cute and shiny and I wanted it)
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username5371594
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They sadly will not provide a MBPro but if you do want one then you are better off trying www.thedustore.com which offer great student deals.
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Hi, You mentioned the insurance. I am looking to get insurance on my laptop funded by the DSA but am unsure f there's a price limit for it? If you already have your insurance do you know how much they are willing to give back to you for it?
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simsim75
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(Original post by kuponut)
I bought myself the laptop I wanted (having made sure it met the DSA specs) and then the needs assessment report quoted just for supply and installation of the software onto my existing laptop. Might be the other way of doing it.

I've since used the licence keys and moved most of it over onto a macbook from personal choice (it was cute and shiny and I wanted it)
Can I ask what laptop 💻 did you buy ? I have been assessed also but don't want their offer. I'd prefer to buy my own but do not wish to buy it and the specs all wrong
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Sam.Red
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Also keen to hear the answer to this. 👍

(Original post by alatar)
Hi there,

I've searched through all the posts relating to DSA laptops on this forum, but haven't been able to find a direct answer, and have seen lots of people asking this question - if you can help please respond as I know it will help a lot of people who are wondering!

So basically I'm applying for DSA as part of my uni application due to mental health conditions (I'm also going to be tested for dyslexia in September)

I've heard people usually receive a laptop from DSA, but that you have to contribute £200 towards it. I've also heard this is usually a low spec laptop.
I know that there is an option to upgrade this laptop

I'm planning to buy a new laptop for my studies, but I want to get a Macbook Pro as I'm used to using Mac OS and if I'm going to contribute to a laptop I want it to be one I can use for years to come.

My question is how much does DSA actually contribute to your laptop, and how does upgrading work? I understand it might be different people but even a ballpark figure?
Can you pick the vendor that the laptop is bought from? Will DSA reimburse you if you send them receipts?
Will DSA remove VAT from this laptop purchase?

Any help with this will be greatly appreciated!!
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username5371594
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(Original post by Sam.Red)
Also keen to hear the answer to this. 👍
You might want to consider the new iPad Pro and magic keyboard. All the benefits of laptop and tablet. If you need a laptop the library always has them.

iPad Pro has so many better options for accessibility and of course the pencil is wonderful.
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BeeMature
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I was just means tested today. If you have had your dyslexia test then they may not offer you a laptop yet which means you will start without one if you don't buy it. The most important thing is the software to be fair
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Elizabeth_rr
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Hi,I have got my acceptance letter for my DSA two days ago, I have tried to contact the supplier for a new laptop but haven't had a response yet. I also don't think I will benefit from the laptop they are offering me. I currently have the Mac Book Pro from early 2015, when I spoke on the phone for my study needs assessment I think it was (correct me if i'm wrong but I have found all of this very confusing), they said that because it is just over 5 years old and doesn't have much space on it, I should get a new laptop to help with my course. I study fashion design, I need the full Abode software which I currently pay for that I bought specifically for mac. I am more than happy to pay for an upgrade if I will use it for the next 5-8 years which is why I would really like to upgrade to the new mac book pro as I don't want to spend money on a laptop that I wont use to its full potential. Do you think this is a strong enough reason to upgrade if I am more than happy to pay more? I have already started my course in September, I am in my final year, will this effect anything?Does anyone know any one that can help me out with this? Any help would be deeply appreciated. I also read a comment about the Ipad pro, this would be extremely beneficial to me also so if I couldn't get the Macbook Pro would the Ipad Pro be an option to upgrade?
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(Original post by Elizabeth_rr)
Hi,I have got my acceptance letter for my DSA two days ago, I have tried to contact the supplier for a new laptop but haven't had a response yet. I also don't think I will benefit from the laptop they are offering me. I currently have the Mac Book Pro from early 2015, when I spoke on the phone for my study needs assessment I think it was (correct me if i'm wrong but I have found all of this very confusing), they said that because it is just over 5 years old and doesn't have much space on it, I should get a new laptop to help with my course. I study fashion design, I need the full Abode software which I currently pay for that I bought specifically for mac. I am more than happy to pay for an upgrade if I will use it for the next 5-8 years which is why I would really like to upgrade to the new mac book pro as I don't want to spend money on a laptop that I wont use to its full potential. Do you think this is a strong enough reason to upgrade if I am more than happy to pay more? I have already started my course in September, I am in my final year, will this effect anything?Does anyone know any one that can help me out with this? Any help would be deeply appreciated. I also read a comment about the Ipad pro, this would be extremely beneficial to me also so if I couldn't get the Macbook Pro would the Ipad Pro be an option to upgrade?
Hi Elizabeth, yes you should be able to upgrade to the Macbook Pro if you can pay the price difference between the laptop you were offered by DSA and the Macbook. I personally chose to upgrade for the reasons you said, I wanted longevity and was familiar with the Mac OS.
You don't have to get special permission to upgrade as far as I know, as long as you're willing to pay the supplier will happily accommodate you! I think it wold be harder to get the iPad than the MBP, as some of the relevant accessibility software is not available on iPad, but it may be possible.
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Elizabeth_rr
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(Original post by alatar)
Hi Elizabeth, yes you should be able to upgrade to the Macbook Pro if you can pay the price difference between the laptop you were offered by DSA and the Macbook. I personally chose to upgrade for the reasons you said, I wanted longevity and was familiar with the Mac OS.
You don't have to get special permission to upgrade as far as I know, as long as you're willing to pay the supplier will happily accommodate you! I think it wold be harder to get the iPad than the MBP, as some of the relevant accessibility software is not available on iPad, but it may be possible.
Hi!

Thank you for your response, do you know roughly what the price difference is? Is it a certain percentage off?

Kind regards,

Elizabeth
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(Original post by Elizabeth_rr)
Hi!

Thank you for your response, do you know roughly what the price difference is? Is it a certain percentage off?

Kind regards,

Elizabeth
So for me I was recommended a laptop that cost £550, I applied in Northern Ireland where we don’t have to pay the £200 contribution towards the laptops. The higher tier 13" MBP costs £1250 through the supplier I was assigned (Barry Bennet) so I have to pay £700 to upgrade from the recommended laptop to the MBP (there may be some additional costs due to insurance / software price differences, but the supplier will tell you about this.)
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(Original post by alatar)
So for me I was recommended a laptop that cost £550, I applied in Northern Ireland where we don’t have to pay the £200 contribution towards the laptops. The higher tier 13" MBP costs £1250 through the supplier I was assigned (Barry Bennet) so I have to pay £700 to upgrade from the recommended laptop to the MBP (there may be some additional costs due to insurance / software price differences, but the supplier will tell you about this.)
Hi These are the same people I was assigned but they said they have no other laptops in stock. ( strange) I can't understand why the cost is £350 if I am giving them £200 that means they are only supporting with £150 which is pretty sad. I am used to Dell/HP laptops so I didn't want to change that I am not sure what to do. Dell have offers on. Does DSA allow you to buy it and give you the difference?
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Lovesick
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Working out the amount you'll have to pay if you decide to upgrade from the recommended laptop is quite straightforward, but I believe that you do need SFE's written permission before you go ahead. It will tell you exactly what you need to do, anyway, in the letter they send you detailing the support they have agreed for you.

Remember, the laptops they recommend are of sufficient spec to be able to run the assistive technology (AT) software which is recommended in your case. They are not concerned with your course or whether you are a gamer or whatever. DSAs are to help you overcome your disability related study difficulties.

An example. The laptop recommended costs, say, £425. You would pay your £200 contribution to the recommended supplier and the supplier invoices SFE for the remaining £225. The DSA contribution here is £225. You want to upgrade to a laptop costing, say, £850. SFE will still only pay the DSA contribution of £225, so you will have to fund the remaining £625. Hope that makes sense.

You will also have to fund any extra cost incurred in insuring the upgraded laptop and any extra cost for the AT software. Eg software item for Windows costs £50 but software item for upgrade Mac costs £60 - you will have to pay the additional £10.
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Jable
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Hi all,

I have just booked for my needs assessment and would like to enquire about the laptops too.

I am studying Artificial Intelligence and currently lending someone's laptop. (which is not sustainable, and they will need it back soon.)

According to my course leader, I would need a laptop that would efficiently be able to handle programming software, development software and something with about 16GB of RAM as the next couple of years we are dealing with a lot of Data.

From your experience and knowledge do you think the DSA would consider that while recommending me a laptop. I do not see the point in having a laptop with the assistive software if the laptop can not keep up with the work that is required on the course.

Many thanks in advance to any replies given.
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GatoMessi
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(Original post by Jable)
Hi all,

I have just booked for my needs assessment and would like to enquire about the laptops too.

I am studying Artificial Intelligence and currently lending someone's laptop. (which is not sustainable, and they will need it back soon.)

According to my course leader, I would need a laptop that would efficiently be able to handle programming software, development software and something with about 16GB of RAM as the next couple of years we are dealing with a lot of Data.

From your experience and knowledge do you think the DSA would consider that while recommending me a laptop. I do not see the point in having a laptop with the assistive software if the laptop can not keep up with the work that is required on the course.

Many thanks in advance to any replies given.
Are you studying at University of Winchester for the AI?

Whatever your disability is, you will have to explain why you need the laptop for and how will it benefit on your AI course. And do explain why you need more than 16 GB because of your AI that will require lots of data. Try to cover everything as possible, but don't expect them to offer you "Apple" or "Surface Pro" for example. But it doesn't mean you won't get them. Once again, do explain why you need the software for the course.

Good luck with your assessment
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