The Student Room Group

Ways to get hold of DSA if they're taking too long?

Basically, as the title says. So far, all the emails since applying, it says their current timescale is 10 working days. I emailed about removing the laptop from my quote, as I've decided to buy on the open market & get part reimbursement - how does that work? Do I put the normal price minus the initial student contribution on the form?

I actually already bought my upgrade, but my laptop was acting up really bad and was on the brink of not being able to work at all, and I needed it to write an essay, as well as record my lectures (as I've been given permission by the uni) so I'm hoping they'll take that into consideration when they look at it. I'm lucky I could afford the upgrade and was going to upgrade anyway, but I'm lying if I said the cost of living crisis hasn't affected us and having the reimbursement would help quite a bit.

My problem is that the same suppliers who are assigned to give me my assistive tech (some of which I know how to use anyway - for example, they gave me a Grammarly Premium subscription, but I've been using the free version for years. And I've been testing out the free trials of some of the assistive tech they are giving me, so I've kind of learnt to use it) are also assigned to give me a laptop. I called them and explained the situation, and that I'd prefer to purchase my laptop on the open market and how I do that, and they said to speak to DSA. I emailed DSA, and as usual, the email says I'll get a response within 10 working days. The first email took 8 working days, during which I had to clarify I wasn't applying for student finance (I didn't realise you could apply for DSA without student finance and didn't realise I had started applying the yr before, when I deferred again to 2022 because of COVID), the original email saying I was eligible took 10 working days exactly (14th September; took a day for them to sort out the student finance thing then pass it on to their team)

3rd of October I got the needs report (had done the assessment on the 19th of September) and got the DSA 2 approval letter on the 22nd October. Emailed on Thursday 27th (when my needs assessor had reached out to my assistive tech suppliers, and they contacted me) asking to remove the laptop from the quote, and I get the bog standard email saying their processing time is 10 working days for an email response (could take much longer for them to actually take the damn laptop off the quote!). It's been 10 working days/14 actual days (which, frankly, is ridiculous when it comes to replying to a damn email!!), and I was supposed to receive the email today and haven't (It's not in spam either, I just emptied that).

They also say not to send chaser emails relating to the same enquiry as it can lengthen their response times. Luckily, during this time, I managed to get my remote NMH Study Skills & Mentoring sessions sorted out, but I just want to have access to my assistive technology, which includes essay planning software, which would help me incredibly as I have 2 1000 word essays to write and submit by the end of December, and I haven't even started them. How do I contact DSA if I cant email?
Original post by Agiwghthtwtbey
Basically, as the title says. So far, all the emails since applying, it says their current timescale is 10 working days. I emailed about removing the laptop from my quote, as I've decided to buy on the open market & get part reimbursement - how does that work? Do I put the normal price minus the initial student contribution on the form?

I actually already bought my upgrade, but my laptop was acting up really bad and was on the brink of not being able to work at all, and I needed it to write an essay, as well as record my lectures (as I've been given permission by the uni) so I'm hoping they'll take that into consideration when they look at it. I'm lucky I could afford the upgrade and was going to upgrade anyway, but I'm lying if I said the cost of living crisis hasn't affected us and having the reimbursement would help quite a bit.

My problem is that the same suppliers who are assigned to give me my assistive tech (some of which I know how to use anyway - for example, they gave me a Grammarly Premium subscription, but I've been using the free version for years. And I've been testing out the free trials of some of the assistive tech they are giving me, so I've kind of learnt to use it) are also assigned to give me a laptop. I called them and explained the situation, and that I'd prefer to purchase my laptop on the open market and how I do that, and they said to speak to DSA. I emailed DSA, and as usual, the email says I'll get a response within 10 working days. The first email took 8 working days, during which I had to clarify I wasn't applying for student finance (I didn't realise you could apply for DSA without student finance and didn't realise I had started applying the yr before, when I deferred again to 2022 because of COVID), the original email saying I was eligible took 10 working days exactly (14th September; took a day for them to sort out the student finance thing then pass it on to their team)

3rd of October I got the needs report (had done the assessment on the 19th of September) and got the DSA 2 approval letter on the 22nd October. Emailed on Thursday 27th (when my needs assessor had reached out to my assistive tech suppliers, and they contacted me) asking to remove the laptop from the quote, and I get the bog standard email saying their processing time is 10 working days for an email response (could take much longer for them to actually take the damn laptop off the quote!). It's been 10 working days/14 actual days (which, frankly, is ridiculous when it comes to replying to a damn email!!), and I was supposed to receive the email today and haven't (It's not in spam either, I just emptied that).

They also say not to send chaser emails relating to the same enquiry as it can lengthen their response times. Luckily, during this time, I managed to get my remote NMH Study Skills & Mentoring sessions sorted out, but I just want to have access to my assistive technology, which includes essay planning software, which would help me incredibly as I have 2 1000 word essays to write and submit by the end of December, and I haven't even started them. How do I contact DSA if I cant email?


You’ll only get reimbursed for around £200 of the laptop as DSA do not pay for the upgraded laptop cost and the increased cost of insurance etc associated with that. Not totally sure the exact amount but you basically pay the vast majority anyway so it’s quite a lot more than normal price minus student contribution. Again best to call and ask!
I’m pretty sure you can give them a call on 03001000607. Generally you also have to go to training for the assistive equipment aswell, I know when I did mine I couldn’t get the equipment without arranging the training which was a pain!
(edited 1 year ago)
Original post by ALEreapp
You’ll only get reimbursed for around £200 of the laptop as DSA do not pay for the upgraded laptop cost and the increased cost of insurance etc associated with that. Not totally sure the exact amount but you basically pay the vast majority anyway so it’s quite a lot more than normal price minus student contribution. Again best to call and ask!
I’m pretty sure you can give them a call on 03001000607. Generally you also have to go to training for the assistive equipment aswell, I know when I did mine I couldn’t get the equipment without arranging the training which was a pain!

Ah OK. I thought there'd be more of a reimbursement. I remember reading off I think the DSA info website (or one of the PDF docs relating to claims etc) that they pay the value of the laptop that they recommend less the £200 student contribution. From what I can work out, my laptop recommended is 'WKH Notebook- N 15.6in Intel Core i5 1 0th Generation or AMD Ryzen 5 4000, 8GB RAM, 512GB SSD, Integrated Graphics, Windows 10. Includes Free Antivirus'. One of the DSA PDFs I found basically told me WKH is the code and all it needs is those specs. Could be any computer with those specs. How do they choose which one to fund the value of?
I'm not expecting them to fund my new upgrade (2021 MacBook Pro M1) cos A jts the model I was planning on upgrading to for the longest time ans eventually put it off til my computer was on the blink, and B sadly they didn't recommend a Mac even tho the assessor knew I'd pretty much exclusively used Macs my whole school career (apart from when I typed some of my GCSE and A Level exams, which I hated getting fused to PCs different software etc. I even wrote my 5,500 word Personal Investigation English Literature A Level coursework on my Mac. Learnt the hard way always back up your work - was a victim of Flexgate in the middle of it, and I was worried thag would happen again at uni).
I'll be sure to call and ask.

Luckily, when the people who are in charge of my NMH support and assistive technology training contacted me, I was able to explain the situation. So all I have to do is wait for DSA reply (worried it could be weeks or months; I only have 4 more weeks of lectures, my last being the 9th December, before Christmas break. So potentially I might not have my assistive tech til early 2023, despite applying mid August!) then contact the people setting up my Assistive Tech/assistive tech training and sort that out.
But it could still take months.
Original post by Agiwghthtwtbey
Ah OK. I thought there'd be more of a reimbursement. I remember reading off I think the DSA info website (or one of the PDF docs relating to claims etc) that they pay the value of the laptop that they recommend less the £200 student contribution. From what I can work out, my laptop recommended is 'WKH Notebook- N 15.6in Intel Core i5 1 0th Generation or AMD Ryzen 5 4000, 8GB RAM, 512GB SSD, Integrated Graphics, Windows 10. Includes Free Antivirus'. One of the DSA PDFs I found basically told me WKH is the code and all it needs is those specs. Could be any computer with those specs. How do they choose which one to fund the value of?
I'm not expecting them to fund my new upgrade (2021 MacBook Pro M1) cos A jts the model I was planning on upgrading to for the longest time ans eventually put it off til my computer was on the blink, and B sadly they didn't recommend a Mac even tho the assessor knew I'd pretty much exclusively used Macs my whole school career (apart from when I typed some of my GCSE and A Level exams, which I hated getting fused to PCs different software etc. I even wrote my 5,500 word Personal Investigation English Literature A Level coursework on my Mac. Learnt the hard way always back up your work - was a victim of Flexgate in the middle of it, and I was worried thag would happen again at uni).
I'll be sure to call and ask.

Luckily, when the people who are in charge of my NMH support and assistive technology training contacted me, I was able to explain the situation. So all I have to do is wait for DSA reply (worried it could be weeks or months; I only have 4 more weeks of lectures, my last being the 9th December, before Christmas break. So potentially I might not have my assistive tech til early 2023, despite applying mid August!) then contact the people setting up my Assistive Tech/assistive tech training and sort that out.
But it could still take months.


So the laptop they have ‘recommended’ is the same one they recommend everyone. The one they recommend is worth around £400 meaning you are essentially paying half so that is correct they will pay the value of the laptop they recommend less the £200 student contribution- except that amount is only around £200.
They generally choose the cheapest one which I remember is a Lenovo something like this https://www.laptopsdirect.co.uk/lenovo-v15-gen-2-core-i5-1135g7-8gb-256gb-ssd-15.6-inch-windows-11-laptop-82kb00n5uk/version.asp?wgu=272145_196673_16681291989443_c5ec8d7d9f&wgexpiry=1699665198&utm_source=RedBrain%20Ltd&utm_medium=webgains&refsource=webgains
They won’t ever recommend a Mac because Mac’s specs are actually quite poor, I’m an apple lover but it’s a well known fact there are far better laptops for far cheaper.
Tbf mid august is quite late although 5 months is still ridiculous , when I applied the first time for dsa i applied at the beginning of may- I didn’t end up going to uni but everything was in place by July I just never contacted the supplier as wasn’t sure how results day would go!
Original post by ALEreapp
So the laptop they have ‘recommended’ is the same one they recommend everyone. The one they recommend is worth around £400 meaning you are essentially paying half so that is correct they will pay the value of the laptop they recommend less the £200 student contribution- except that amount is only around £200.
They generally choose the cheapest one which I remember is a Lenovo something like this https://www.laptopsdirect.co.uk/lenovo-v15-gen-2-core-i5-1135g7-8gb-256gb-ssd-15.6-inch-windows-11-laptop-82kb00n5uk/version.asp?wgu=272145_196673_16681291989443_c5ec8d7d9f&wgexpiry=1699665198&utm_source=RedBrain%20Ltd&utm_medium=webgains&refsource=webgains
They won’t ever recommend a Mac because Mac’s specs are actually quite poor, I’m an apple lover but it’s a well known fact there are far better laptops for far cheaper.
Tbf mid august is quite late although 5 months is still ridiculous , when I applied the first time for dsa i applied at the beginning of may- I didn’t end up going to uni but everything was in place by July I just never contacted the supplier as wasn’t sure how results day would go!


That kind of sucks about the laptop (I didn't want to upgrade w supplier as I wanted the 2021 MBP with the SD card slot as I'm a hobbyist photographer in my spare time and wanted the SD card slot as you still get to keep the equipment they give you, and I couldn't guarantee it from upgrading via supplier. Plus, my old laptop was on the blink a bit, and I was worried about not being able to record lectures. Also, Apple had the back-to-school sale with an additional £120 gift card, which I used to buy a LaCie 4TB hard drive for about £20). I'm not saying £200 isn't a lot of money, but it's also not a lot of money relative to the financial outlay of a new Macbook.

My issue is that I've used Macs for as long as I can remember; my uni has access to Microsoft Office, so I'm trying to sure Word and things, and I find myself struggling a bit and having to use the search bar which directs you to the right thing. Don't want to have to learn a whole new OS while studying for a degree!

I only ended up applying for DSA in August after I spoke to the disability dept at my uni bc I thought you had to apply for student finance as well, and also, it was kind of a rash decision to go to uni; I was meant to go in September 2020 after a gap year, but COVID happened, and I deferred twice to 2021 and 2022, and then I just decided if I didn't go now, I was never going to go. It's been a little bit of a shitshow; I tried to tell them that I'd deferred twice and was taking up my offer, then they told me to go through the clearing team, then the clearing team told me I should have gone through admissions team, and I ended up with another offer which they couldn't process as they didn't have my UCAS stuff (despite having it on record since 2019), then I'd been trying to change my degree from Biological Science w a foundation year to Nutrition & Health foundation year from the July, and the people filled out the form and the uni forgot I was doing a foundation year, so I had to go and change that and I'm still getting emails about the official degree as well as the foundation yr (turns out the foundation yr for Biological Science and Nutrition & Health were the same. If I'd known I could have switched at the ed of the foundation yr

Luckily I managed to get my NMH support/study skill Zoom sessions sorted, but I'm not sure the supplier of my assistive tech will take an outdated DSA quote, as they're also assigned to give me my laptop.

Unless I call on Monday and tell them that I want to sort out my assistive tech, but I'm still waiting for DSA to remove the laptop from the quote? I might not end up speaking to the same person (who was the one who told me I needed to contact DSA directly about removing the laptop from the quote)
I don't understand why this has to be so stressful and confusing. I still haven't figured out how to sort out my ad hoc taxi allowance, and prove my mum's journeys (the're also paying a fuel allowance)
(edited 1 year ago)

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