Funding for Disabled Students

This page advises student with any disability or illness on what they might be entitled to and how to access it. This includes Disabled Students’ Allowance, Welfare Benefits, charitable grants and support from your local authority.

Support from Student Finance England

Disabled Students’ Allowance (DSA)

Please speak to a RUSU Adviser or a member of the University’s Disability Advisory Team for more information.

  • For students with any type of disability, including physical, mental, a learning difficulty (including dyslexia) or sensory impairment
  • Available to students who are ordinarily a resident in the UK and are eligible for Student Finance funding
  • EU and International students are not eligible for DSA from Student Finance England
  • DSA only pays for additional costs due to your disability, related to your studies, and that other students would not expect to incur.
  • The University will assess you for the type of support you need e.g. equipment, non-medical helper, computer software or travel costs
  • DSA is not income-assessed.
  • DSA is non-repayable.
  • Part-time students may be eligible

To apply for DSA:

  1. Go to the DSA website
  2. If you have already, or will be applying for Student Finance then please follow the steps to fill in the DSA ‘Slim form’. If you are not applying for funding from Student Finance but are eligible for DSA fill in the DSA ‘Long form’.
  3. Get proof of your disability, medical condition or learning difficulty and send it in with your application form. This includes information about your diagnosis, evidence that your disability is a long-term condition and proof of how it affects you on a day to day basis.

If you need help with filling in this form, please speak to the University’s Disability Advisory Team in the Carrington Building or call them on 0118 378 4202 or email them on

Welfare Benefits – public funds

If you have a residence permit or visa that allows you to live in the UK, it may include the condition that you have ‘no recourse to public funds’. If so, it means you will not be able to claim most welfare benefits that are paid by the state. However, there are exceptions for some benefits and if you are in any doubt, please speak to a RUSU Adviser.

Personal Independence Payment (PIP)

  • PIP is a welfare benefit provided by the Government. It is meant to cover the additional cost of your disability.
  • PIP does NOT depend on your or your household income (a non-means tested benefit)
  • You need to have been living in the UK for at least 2 of the past 3 years and not subject to immigration control to be eligible to claim. You must also be aged between 16-64 and have a long term illness/disability
  • The amount of money you get depends on how much help you need When you apply for PIP, you are assessed on two ‘elements’, your ‘Daily Living’ needs and your ‘Mobility’ needs. On each element, you can score points, and depending on your total score, you may be awarded a standard or an enhanced rate.

To apply for PIP:

  1. Call the PIP helpline. You will be asked your personal and contact details (including your bank account number, sort code and National Insurance Number). You can find the telephone number on the PIP website
  2. You will be sent a paper form which will ask how your disability affects you on a day to day basis. The form will ask how you are affected in each of the above areas. It is also advisable to include evidence from any medical professional you are seeing regarding how your disability affects you.
  3. You might then be asked to attend a face to face assessment to discuss your disability/illness and have a physical examination.
  4. You will then receive an outcome letter. If your outcome is not what you wanted, you can appeal the decision. You may receive from £55.10 to £139.75 per week

Other Welfare Benefits

Disability Living Allowance (DLA)

DLA is available to children aged under 16 with a disability or illness.

Attendance Allowance (AA)

Attendance Allowance is for adults over 65 and over.

Universal Credit (UC)

In order to claim UC, a full time student must be eligible for DLA/PIP or have dependent children and must be assessed as having a limited capacity for work in the DWP’s work capability assessment. This can help with housing costs as well as serve as a replacement for lost income.


University Student Support Fund

The University has a fund for students who are struggling financially. All students can apply to this fund. Money can be given when students are faced with unexpected costs, but will NOT pay for tuition fees or accommodation deposits. To apply, visit Student Services in the Carrington Building to pick up the form or speak to a RUSU Adviser.

Henley Hardship Fund

If you are studying at Henley Business School and are in financial hardship, you can also apply to their fund. To apply, visit Reception in the Henley Business School.

Turn2us is a website which helps you search for grants, which may support people with your disability or illness. This website allows you to filter charities which will help you within their criteria.

Support from your Local Authority

If you have high care needs you can ask for help from your local authority, of which you are a permanent resident (where you lived before University). This help might include a care package if you need help with washing, dressing, etc. or access to services which will support you look after yourself.

You may need to pay for this care: this will be decided by the local authority when you apply.

If you would like further advice or to speak with somebody in person pleace contact a RUSU Adviser. The specialist advisers offer a confidential service, independent from the University so they can discuss your case with you in private.

Contact the Advice Service

Services which operate within the Advice Service have separate sessions: see their individual pages for further info on how and when to access them.

Following the current situation with the coronavirus (COVID-19), RUSU staff have been asked to work for remotely for the foreseeable future. This includes the staff within the Advice Service.

As a result, the Advice Service is unable to offer face-to-face appointment or a drop-in service at the current time, but we are still able to offer advice to students.

If you would like some support from the Advice Service then please complete our Talk to us form. Alternatively, you can email the service on

Please be assured that an Adviser will get in touch with you as soon as possible, and that we can still offer appointments via other methods (for example, via telephone, Skype or Microsoft Teams).