Disability Advisory and Support Service and University of Manchester Assessment Centre

Changes to the Disabled Students' Allowances from 2016/17

The Government have announced changes to the grant that some disabled students receive to fund their additional disability-related support. Disabled students affected by these changes are those funded by Student Finance England (SFE) and the NHS Student Bursaries Unit (NHS).

The changes are intended to re-balance the funding streams to support disabled students with a move away from individual DSA grants towards institutionally funded support. Not all students are affected by these changes, as they apply only to new students applying for DSA from the academic year 2016-17 onwards, and only to those funded by the NHS and SFE. Research Council UK (RCUK) DSAs have also introduced one small change. Other funding bodies have not announced changes.

The aim is that funding through DSAs should be the top of an apex of support, underpinned by an inclusive environment, and institutional reasonable adjustments where full inclusivity is not possible. An SFE/NHS exceptional case process has been set up and any students not satisfied with the support offered should contact the Disability Advisory and Support Service (DASS) in the first instance.

What are the changes?

  1. Students funded by SFE, NHS and RCUK will all have to contribute towards the cost of any computer equipment they receive via DSA, that is provided to run assistive software
  2. For students funded by SFE and NHS only, some of the support worker provision will no longer be provided via DSA. This includes general support worker roles, note-taking support, library support assistants, laboratory or workshop support, readers, scribes, study assistants and specialist transcription services.
  3. Additional disability-related costs for accommodation cannot be funded via DSA.

What does the Law say?

The University’s duties under the Equality Act 2010 are not changing. For disabled students, these duties include making reasonable adjustments for his/her disability, not discriminating against disabled students and providing equality of opportunity to disabled students. Universities cannot ask disabled students to contribute towards the cost of their support, and additionally, if a reasonable adjustment can be made, then we have to make it.

How is the University responding?

Any disabled students who need support or reasonable adjustments should be referred to DASS. DASS will assess the student’s support requirements and will put appropriate support in place and refer students for a DSA assessment where appropriate000. DASS will also inform Schools about reasonable adjustments for their students, by producing University Support Plans (USPs) via School Disability Coordinators.

DASS advisers will assess the support needs of students and will make recommendations for support to be delivered via the DASS student centre. This will include offering a menu of specialist support options, including the use of apps and assistive software, specialist technology training and support delivered on a 1:1 or group basis. Those students who are assessed as requiring a university support worker will have this provided via DASS.

Additionally, from September 2016, lectures scheduled to be attended by students registered with the Disability Advisory and Support Service (DASS) will be automatically recorded by the Podcasting Service, if the student has a specific recommendation for recording lectures as a reasonable adjustment.

For further support on podcasting please visit the Podcasting website or email the team

For further information about the changes and University support, please contact DASS

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