Learning Support

Learning support for HE students

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Learning Support at Southport College University Centre

Learning support for Higher Education students is funded through Disabled Students’ Allowance (DSA). As a student at Southport College's University Centre you can apply for DSA if you have a formal diagnosis of a:

  • Disability
  • Long-term health condition
  • Mental health condition
  • Learning difficulty or specific learning difficulty for example: MLD, dyslexia, dyspraxia, ADHD or ASD


You must also:

  • Be an undergraduate or postgraduate student
  • Have a condition that affects your ability to study
  • Qualify for student finance from Student Finance England
  • Be studying on an H.E. course that lasts at least a year


The support you receive depends on your individual needs as stated in your Needs Assessment and not on income.

What DSAs can pay for

You can get help with the costs of:

  • specialist equipment, eg a computer if you need one because of your disability
  • non-medical helpers
  • extra travel because of your disability
  • other disability-related costs of studying

You may get a new computer if you don’t already have one, or your current one doesn’t meet the required specification. More information will be provided to you if you’re assessed as needing a new computer.

You’ll need to pay the first £200, which is the minimum cost that any student is likely to incur when buying a computer.

DSAs don’t cover disability-related costs you’d have if you weren’t attending a course, or costs that any student might have.

If you’re a part-time student your ‘course intensity’ can affect how much you get.

How much you get depends on your individual needs - not your household income.

2018 to 2019 academic year

Type of student

Specialist equipment allowance

Non-medical helper allowance

General allowance

Full-time

Up to £5,529 for the whole course

Up to £21,987 a year

Up to £1,847 a year

Part-time

Up to £5,529 for the whole course

Up to £16,489 a year

Up to £1,385 a year

Postgraduates can get a single allowance of up to £10,993 a year.

These figures are the maximum amounts - most students get less.

2017 to 2018 academic year

Type of student

Specialist equipment allowance

Non-medical helper allowance

General allowance

Full-time

Up to £5,358 for the whole course

Up to £21,305 a year

Up to £1,790 a year

Part-time

Up to £5,358 for the whole course

Up to £15,978 a year

Up to £1,342 a year

Postgraduates can get a single allowance of up to £10,652 a year.

If you’re already getting DSAs

Claim back your expenses using the DSAs paper application form.

https://www.gov.uk/student-finance-forms/y/english-student-full-time/claim-disabled-students-allowances-expenses

Your ‘needs assessment’

Once your eligibility for DSAs is confirmed, Student Finance England may ask you to contact an assessment centre to work out what help you need.

This is known as a needs assessment. Don’t book this until Student Finance England asks you to.

The assessment is paid for through any DSAs entitlement you may have.

After the assessment, you’ll get a report listing equipment and other support you can get for your course.

Don’t buy any equipment until you’ve been assessed - you won’t be reimbursed for it.

How to apply

You’ll need to download and fill in a form to apply for Disabled Students’ Allowances (DSAs) or to claim back your expenses for the year. After completing the application form, bring it together with your evidence to the Learning Support Coordinator who will sent it electronically with the accompanying evidence to the DSA Team for processing.

If you want to apply for student finance, do it before you apply for DSAs.

Once Student Finance England receive your application and evidence they will write to you letting you know if you are eligible for DSA. When your eligibility for DSA is confirmed, Student Finance England will ask you to contact an assessment centre to book an appointment with a Needs Assessor. After the assessment, you will get a report listing any equipment and other support you have been recommended for you to help you in your studies. Finally you will receive a letter of entitlement which will state the exact support you are entitled to while enrolled at the College on an H.E. course.


You can speak to the Learning Support Coordinator Polly Robinson in TB1.47 if you need advice or guidance with any aspect of the DSA application process.

You can speak to Polly Robinson the HE Quality and Support Co-ordinator in Library Learning Centre 1, email: robinsp@southport.ac.uk or phone 01704 39 2862if you need advice or guidance with any aspect of the DSA application process.

Non-medical helper (NMH) Rates

Please see this document which contains the hourly rates for non-medical helpers for students.

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