University Support for Students with Disabilities

Written by Calvin Bowers

University should be an option open to all students. Somebody shouldn’t be discouraged or apprehensive about university because of their disability. There are plenty of support avenues to ensure that disabled students can get the most out of their time at university.

Have a read of our guide to find out everything you need to know about attending university with a disability.

Disclosing your disability

As part of your UCAS application, they will ask you to disclose any disabilities that you have. While this can feel like a difficult question, they ask it to ensure that you get all the help and support you need when you arrive at university. This is not a compulsory question which means you don’t have to answer if you don’t want to; however, if you need any additional services while studying, the sooner you tell your university about this, the better.

Support from your university 

Every university will have a disability support office dedicated to ensuring that all disabled students have the resources and facilities they need to complete their degree with the same ease as non-disabled students. You may be assigned a disability officer who you can talk to throughout your time at university and ask for any additional requirements.

Some of the ways your university may be able to support your disability include:

– Assistive technology such as dictaphones and voice recognition laptops

– Somebody to take notes for you in lectures and tutorials

– Extra academic support from your tutors

– Extra time in exams and for coursework

– Lifts and ramps into buildings

– Disability-friendly accommodation

– Adjustable chairs and desks

To find out exactly how your university can support your disability, speak to them directly.

Mental health support 

Despite many of the misconceptions surrounding disabilities, not all disabilities are visible; in fact, up to 70% of all disabilities in the UK are hidden or invisible, which means they are not immediately apparent to others. One significant hidden disability is mental illnesses. Mental health affects everybody, and having mental health issues at university is nothing to be ashamed of. There is help and support out there for any student who is struggling.

Access your universities mental health services for help and guidance. They may be able to help you with extending deadlines, catching up with work, explaining absences, as well as helping you to access therapy or medication.

You can also visit student minds, the UK’s leading mental health charity for students, for more help and information.

Financial support 

Students with disabilities might be able to get some financial support to cover the cost of any additional requirements or adjustments needed. The Disabled Students’ Allowance (DSA) is a fund to help cover any study-related costs due to mental health, long term illness or disability.

Unlike the rest of your student finance, the amount of money you are eligible for depends on your needs rather than your household income. Furthermore, DSA is a grant, not a loan which means you do not need to pay it back.

To find out more information on DSA, visit your student finance website or the government information page.

For further help and guidance related to disabilities, visit our partner website, Careers with Disabilities.


Last Updated: Sunday November 28 2021
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