The Student Room Group

My experience of the DSA process

For any future DSA applicants, I know its a struggle finding personal experiences of how it goes so I decided to share.

I just had my DSA actual interview today. Its just a process where they see what you actually need for uni. They don't challenge your disability in any way, matter fact I found they were more empathetic and understanding of my disability than any health professional has ever been. They truly recognise all the effects of your disability. I have hypermobility (affects the joints) and they were even aware of the minor overlooked symptoms such as fatigue and brain fog that occur from the pain. They are so nice and it is truly an informal process.

You don't need to do any research on what you think you may need cause they already have a list prepared of what they think you may need. I got offered items that I had no idea existed! Originally, I found little point applying for DSA but after all the items offered today I truly am appreciative I pushed myself to apply. Here is what I was offered with my hypermobility:

WCR Notebook (laptop)
Wireless stereo headset with noise-cancelling mic for dictation
DSA Multifunction Printer/Scanner
Read&Write (reads text aloud, corrects spelling, proofs written word and more)
Dragon Professional (speech recognition so I can speak aloud anywhere instead of typing it)
Glean Notes Mobile Bundle (transcribes the lecture, summarises notes etc)
Software installation & configuration
Printing allowance (for paper & ink of up to £188 a year)
Assistive Technology Training (so I understand how to use all this tech LOL)
Ergonomic Assessment (for an adjustable chair + table)
Taxi from external accom to uni (30 per year)

!! It is important to note SFE has the final say for all items. I know some apply for DSA for mental health issues. The lady told me today it is harder to get things approved for mental health than physical health. For example, taxis are now impossible to get on the basis of mental health. She also said only those w/ ADHD & Autism now receive noise cancelling headphones, all others will be denied. They will tell you at the end of the meeting what may be rejected. For me personally, I have nothing on the list that is likely to be rejected by SFE.

I am currently undergoing the process so I will continue to update. If you guys have any questions, please feel free to ask me !
Reply 1
For the taxi allowance, what is the process. Do you pay for your own and give them receipts? Or do they give you a monthly allowance?
Reply 2
Original post by riyadpo
For the taxi allowance, what is the process. Do you pay for your own and give them receipts? Or do they give you a monthly allowance?
from what i understood, you get 30 taxi journeys a year . you pay the cost of a public bus in your uni city and the DSA will pay for the remaining cost of the taxi! & yes do keep your receipts of the taxi as this is how you are refunded
Original post by saaraya
For any future DSA applicants, I know its a struggle finding personal experiences of how it goes so I decided to share.
I just had my DSA actual interview today. Its just a process where they see what you actually need for uni. They don't challenge your disability in any way, matter fact I found they were more empathetic and understanding of my disability than any health professional has ever been. They truly recognise all the effects of your disability. I have hypermobility (affects the joints) and they were even aware of the minor overlooked symptoms such as fatigue and brain fog that occur from the pain. They are so nice and it is truly an informal process.
You don't need to do any research on what you think you may need cause they already have a list prepared of what they think you may need. I got offered items that I had no idea existed! Originally, I found little point applying for DSA but after all the items offered today I truly am appreciative I pushed myself to apply. Here is what I was offered with my hypermobility:
WCR Notebook (laptop)
Wireless stereo headset with noise-cancelling mic for dictation
DSA Multifunction Printer/Scanner
Read&Write (reads text aloud, corrects spelling, proofs written word and more)
Dragon Professional (speech recognition so I can speak aloud anywhere instead of typing it)
Glean Notes Mobile Bundle (transcribes the lecture, summarises notes etc)
Software installation & configuration
Printing allowance (for paper & ink of up to £188 a year)
Assistive Technology Training (so I understand how to use all this tech LOL)
Ergonomic Assessment (for an adjustable chair + table)
Taxi from external accom to uni (30 per year)
!! It is important to note SFE has the final say for all items. I know some apply for DSA for mental health issues. The lady told me today it is harder to get things approved for mental health than physical health. For example, taxis are now impossible to get on the basis of mental health. She also said only those w/ ADHD & Autism now receive noise cancelling headphones, all others will be denied. They will tell you at the end of the meeting what may be rejected. For me personally, I have nothing on the list that is likely to be rejected by SFE.
I am currently undergoing the process so I will continue to update. If you guys have any questions, please feel free to ask me !

Omg I felt exactly the same!! I thought there was very little point in applying for DSA but my parents were the ones who encouraged me to and I am so thankful that they did. I had my study needs assessment on Friday and I got extremely anxious before hand (as I struggle from significant anxiety due to an Autism Spectrum Disorder diagnosis). But the person who conducted my assessment was so so nice, and as you said they were so incredibly understanding. I honestly don't think I've ever felt any more understand, accepted and validated in my whole life. I couldn't help but cry after because everything was so good and helpful.

Like I said, at first I didn't see any point in applying, but now I've had my assessment, I didn't realise how much I struggled academically due to my diagnosis in the first place. He suggested so so many different things that will be so helpful at university and it just made me so happy to finally get the support I need (I didn't gey any in secondary school other than extra time because my school was useless).

I got suggested:

6 different forms of software (including dictations, reccording lectures, and summarising texts)

9 hours of IT training to help me use these softwares

A new windows laptop and printer/ scanner

A study skills mentor to help with reading and writing and studying skills

And a general mentor


I honestly cannot describe how happy I am now I've had all of this suggested, and it has certainly put a lot of my worries at ease. If you're thinking about applying for DSA but don't see any point, DO IT ANYWAY!!! You can end up getting so much support and it's definitely worth it.
I have my DSA assessment tomorrow and I just want to say thank you so much for this thread! 😁
I am definitely feeling less nervous about it now. I already have a good laptop, what I think would benefit me most is mentoring and possibly noise cancelling earplugs (I am autistic.) I've never had any support at school so I don't really know what would help me. I don't want to take anything that I don't need but I also know that I'm going to need support at uni!
I will also update after tomorrow as I know this thread is going to be so useful for future applicants.
Original post by AnxiousTurtle
I have my DSA assessment tomorrow and I just want to say thank you so much for this thread! 😁
I am definitely feeling less nervous about it now. I already have a good laptop, what I think would benefit me most is mentoring and possibly noise cancelling earplugs (I am autistic.) I've never had any support at school so I don't really know what would help me. I don't want to take anything that I don't need but I also know that I'm going to need support at uni!
I will also update after tomorrow as I know this thread is going to be so useful for future applicants.

I went into the assessment thinking that anything that sounds even the slightest bit helpful I'll say yes to the offer! You'll never know when such things will come in handy. They may even come up with things you may not have thought about yet! I'm also autistic and so so much of it was incredibly helpful to me and I know it'll all be a big help in uni.

Good luck with your assessment tomorrow!!!
Original post by chloe_b_h
I went into the assessment thinking that anything that sounds even the slightest bit helpful I'll say yes to the offer! You'll never know when such things will come in handy. They may even come up with things you may not have thought about yet! I'm also autistic and so so much of it was incredibly helpful to me and I know it'll all be a big help in uni.
Good luck with your assessment tomorrow!!!
That’s good advice, thank you so much!
So I've just had my DSA appointment (for ASD) and here is what I was offered:

a new laptop (since mine is 4 years old) but I wanted to keep mine

a printer/scanner with a paper and ink allowance

I was offered 3 different softwares: mindview for organising notes and research, glean for help with note taking during lectures and another one which was a dictation software but I said no to that as I didn't think I'd use it (and she also mentioned it might be too powerful for my laptop)

2 sessions to learn how to use the 2 softwares (mindview and glean)

45 hours of general mentoring

30 hours of study skills mentoring

The assessor was really lovely. She already had a list of things autistic students can struggle with and we went through it seeing which of the things affected me. This list will be included to the report which is sent to the uni so that hopefully they can use the list to help put accommodations in place. I also mentioned some other difficulties I have which she wrote down with some suggestions to the university of what could help me.
So all in all, it was a really positive experience and I really hope that the things offered in the DSA along with accommodations from the university will make my uni experience a much less stressful one. I would definitely recommend to students who are unsure of whether to apply to the DSA or not to do it as you won't lose anything but you could potentially gain things which will improve and facilitate your time at university, and you deserve that!
(edited 1 month ago)
Reply 8
Hi, I have a question - for DSA they give you support for like software and equipment you need, but by any chance do they give you any money directly…..
Original post by szztt05
Hi, I have a question - for DSA they give you support for like software and equipment you need, but by any chance do they give you any money directly…..

No, they don’t. The only time they’ll give you money is if you have to buy something which is already agreed that you should receive, for example ink and paper for a printer. If you send the receipts/proof of your purchase, they should reimburse you.
Reply 10
Original post by AnxiousTurtle
No, they don’t. The only time they’ll give you money is if you have to buy something which is already agreed that you should receive, for example ink and paper for a printer. If you send the receipts/proof of your purchase, they should reimburse you.


right I see, also have another question - would DSA help you with accommodation say you have specific needs and find it hard to share accommodation, but quieter not shared accommodations are very pricey, would they be able to provide some financial help??
Reply 11
Original post by szztt05
right I see, also have another question - would DSA help you with accommodation say you have specific needs and find it hard to share accommodation, but quieter not shared accommodations are very pricey, would they be able to provide some financial help??

hey love,

they would not help you accommodation wise as they deem this as a thing all students are impacted by as there are neurotypical, non disabled students who also desire quieter non shared accom x
Reply 12
Original post by saaraya
hey love,
they would not help you accommodation wise as they deem this as a thing all students are impacted by as there are neurotypical, non disabled students who also desire quieter non shared accom x


okay thanks!!!
Original post by szztt05
right I see, also have another question - would DSA help you with accommodation say you have specific needs and find it hard to share accommodation, but quieter not shared accommodations are very pricey, would they be able to provide some financial help??

Yes you won’t get anything from the DSA but it’s worth contacting accommodation services at your uni and seeing if there’s anything they can do for you such as prioritising you for certain accommodation. The answer is probably no but it’s worth a try!
Original post by saaraya
For any future DSA applicants, I know its a struggle finding personal experiences of how it goes so I decided to share.
I just had my DSA actual interview today. Its just a process where they see what you actually need for uni. They don't challenge your disability in any way, matter fact I found they were more empathetic and understanding of my disability than any health professional has ever been. They truly recognise all the effects of your disability. I have hypermobility (affects the joints) and they were even aware of the minor overlooked symptoms such as fatigue and brain fog that occur from the pain. They are so nice and it is truly an informal process.
You don't need to do any research on what you think you may need cause they already have a list prepared of what they think you may need. I got offered items that I had no idea existed! Originally, I found little point applying for DSA but after all the items offered today I truly am appreciative I pushed myself to apply. Here is what I was offered with my hypermobility:
WCR Notebook (laptop)
Wireless stereo headset with noise-cancelling mic for dictation
DSA Multifunction Printer/Scanner
Read&Write (reads text aloud, corrects spelling, proofs written word and more)
Dragon Professional (speech recognition so I can speak aloud anywhere instead of typing it)
Glean Notes Mobile Bundle (transcribes the lecture, summarises notes etc)
Software installation & configuration
Printing allowance (for paper & ink of up to £188 a year)
Assistive Technology Training (so I understand how to use all this tech LOL)
Ergonomic Assessment (for an adjustable chair + table)
Taxi from external accom to uni (30 per year)
!! It is important to note SFE has the final say for all items. I know some apply for DSA for mental health issues. The lady told me today it is harder to get things approved for mental health than physical health. For example, taxis are now impossible to get on the basis of mental health. She also said only those w/ ADHD & Autism now receive noise cancelling headphones, all others will be denied. They will tell you at the end of the meeting what may be rejected. For me personally, I have nothing on the list that is likely to be rejected by SFE.
I am currently undergoing the process so I will continue to update. If you guys have any questions, please feel free to ask me !

I think fundamentally people dont realise that to be assessed for DSA, you've already been approved by student finance.
Original post by AnxiousTurtle
So I've just had my DSA appointment (for ASD) and here is what I was offered:

a new laptop (since mine is 4 years old) but I wanted to keep mine

a printer/scanner with a paper and ink allowance

I was offered 3 different softwares: mindview for organising notes and research, glean for help with note taking during lectures and another one which was a dictation software but I said no to that as I didn't think I'd use it (and she also mentioned it might be too powerful for my laptop)

2 sessions to learn how to use the 2 softwares (mindview and glean)

45 hours of general mentoring

30 hours of study skills mentoring

The assessor was really lovely. She already had a list of things autistic students can struggle with and we went through it seeing which of the things affected me. This list will be included to the report which is sent to the uni so that hopefully they can use the list to help put accommodations in place. I also mentioned some other difficulties I have which she wrote down with some suggestions to the university of what could help me.
So all in all, it was a really positive experience and I really hope that the things offered in the DSA along with accommodations from the university will make my uni experience a much less stressful one. I would definitely recommend to students who are unsure of whether to apply to the DSA or not to do it as you won't lose anything but you could potentially gain things which will improve and facilitate your time at university, and you deserve that!

One of the things Ive picked up on is all your work in these platforms actually belongs to the company. Glean for example, you cant do notes for 3-5 years and you stop paying the subscription and you lose access

Quick Reply