The Government is proposing changes to the Disabled Students Allowance (DSA) in England. This has been a valuable tool in enabling more students with disabilities to attend University and reach high academic attainment. The DSA has given deaf students the flexibility to purchase a support package personalised to their needs, so that they could effectively access and engage with the content and teaching of their course.
1) Disabled Students Allowance (DSA) will no longer fund non-specialist, non-medical help. This would include a laptop and manual note-taker. Instead, instead a greater responsibility will be placed on the universities themselves to make ‘reasonable adjustments’ under the Equality Act. Universities will not receive any extra funding to fulfil these responsibilities.
2) Support for deaf students is not guaranteed. Relying on the Equality Act means that there is no guarantee that the University will provide the necessary support, and this support is likely to be inconsistent across different universities.
3) If the university refuses to provide support arguing that it is not ‘reasonable’, or the support is inadequate, there is no guidance as to how an individual could challenge this decision.
We have written more about these changes and our concerns on our website.
NDCS is calling on the government to drop these proposals until it carries out a full public consultation and impact assessment so that it can demonstrate that deaf and other disabled students will not be unfairly disadvantaged as a result. Help us campaign by joining our Campaigns Network today.
We would also like to hear of any experiences from deaf students currently receiving DSA – how important is it for you? What do you use it for? Let us know in the comments section below, or email firstname.lastname@example.org