Funding for adult education

Meeting the costs of education can maybe seem daunting, especially if you are disabled and have extra costs to meet for specialist equipment or transport. However, if you are disabled you should be able to get some extra funds to cover these additional expenses. This section tells you where you can get information on the financial help available to you.

Further and Higher Education

For Further Education you should speak to the institution you are applying to. For Higher Education, funding is different depending on whether you are living in England, Wales, Scotland or Northern Ireland.

Student Finance England is the body responsible for funding English students at the level of Higher Education. Also visit GOV UK Disabled Students' Allowances (DSA) for more information.

Student Finance Wales is the body responsible for funding Welsh students at the level of Higher Education. Also visit GOV UK Disabled Students' Allowances (DSA) for more information.

Student Awards Agency for Scotland is the body responsible for funding Scottish students at the level of Higher Education.

The Scottish Government produces a comprehensive guide called
Helping you meet the costs of learning: Funding for disabled students 2012-2013.

Student Finance NI offers information on financial support available to higher education students in Northern Ireland. You may also find their Student Finance: Students with disabilities section of use.

Additional support for disabled students

In addition to the standard student financial packages, disabled students will be eligible for additional support, so it is always worth asking about this extra support. Your chosen college, university, or one of the relevant funding bodies listed above will be able to advise on funding options and benefits including Disabled Students' Allowances.

Disabled Students' Allowances

Disabled Students' Allowances (DSAs) are for people studying on higher education courses (and some FE courses in Scotland). They are grants to help meet the extra costs students face because of a disability. The grant is non-means tested, you don't have to pay it back, and it's not counted as income when calculating whether you get benefits or Tax Credits.

DSAs can be used to pay for:

  • specialist equipment you need for studying like computer software or access technology
  • non-medical helpers, such as note-takers or readers
  • extra travel costs you have to pay because of your disability
  • other costs such as photocopying or printer cartridges
  • cost of a braille course
  • mobility training and support 

You are also allowed to keep any equipment brought with the DSA.

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