Be assessed

Once your application has been approved, you will receive an email from Student Finance confirming that you are eligible for the DSA.

Attached to the email will be your DSA1 confirmation letter. It is important to keep hold of this letter because it proves that you are eligible and provides instructions on arranging your needs assessment. 

Your DSA1 confirmation letter will look something like this.

The key thing to remember is that your needs assessment is not a test but an opportunity for you to discuss your learning needs openly.

Arranging your needs assessment is straightforward:

  1. Find your local assessment centre.
  2. Choose where you would like to be assessed. The centre you choose is entirely up to you and don’t worry about the price; your assessment is completely free, paid for by Student Finance.
  3. There will be a section on most assessment centre websites where you can ‘book an assessment’. You can also always email or phone them directly if you would like to know a bit more about how they will run your assessment.
What will happen in my assessment?

The assessment is confidential and conducted in a relaxed, informal and supportive environment by assessors with specialist experience supporting higher education students. You will have the opportunity to talk about your past experiences and any strategies you have developed to address challenges. Once your learning needs have been identified and their challenges identified, the assessor will propose support that could benefit you.

The categories include, but are not limited to:

  • Reading printed material
  • Producing written work like assignments and exams
  • Taking notes in lectures
  • Speaking such as using a phone, face-to-face or in groups
  • Hearing
  • Practical aspects of your course
  • Using the library
  • Communication and social situations
  • Attendance
What do I need to bring with me to the assessment?

The assessment is your opportunity to discuss any challenges you face in education and is steered by the amount of information you share. You might consider making a short list of things you find challenging to ensure you ‘tick’ these off during your assessment.

Questions you might also consider asking yourself before the assessment are:

  • What kind of support did I receive at school?
  • Is there something I’ve struggled with in the past but never had addressed?
  • How is my course going to be assessed?

Examples of your work are often helpful, e.g. lecture notes, assignments, a course outline and a copy of your most recent timetable.

How long does an assessment take?

We recommend that you allow up to 2 hours for your assessment, but they are often completed sooner.

What happens after my assessment?

After your needs assessment, your assessor will draft a report and send a copy to you within ten working days. If you are happy with everything on the draft, your assessor will send a final copy to Student Finance for their approval.

Here is the template your assessor will use when completing your needs assessment report.

We would recommend that to agree for a copy of the report to be sent to your university disability services. Giving this consent to your needs assessor during your assessment will enable the university to efficiently support you in setting up the adjustments, support and strategies recommended in the report.

Almost there! Let’s now look at what happens when Student Finance approves your support.