Posted on Tue 06 May 2014 at 10:04 by Emma Friend
The government has recently announced that they plan to cut Disabled Students’ Support Allowance (DSA). DSA is a vital support for many disabled students, helping many to access education. DSA comes in the form of paying for goods and services to help students who have an impact on their studies as a result of a disability.
The cuts intend to restrict access to support such as laptops and computers and non-medical support like note-taking. This will shift greater responsibility onto institutions and students.
Research has shown that students receiving DSA are more likely to reach a first or upper class second honours degree than disabled students who do not receive any of the allowance.
The level and type of support is assessed and depends on individual needs and not means. In 2011-2012, DSAs provided support to 53,000 students at a cost of £125 million.
No additional funds have been announced for universities or disabled students to help bridge the funding gap for support. Disabled students are unlikely to be able to cover the costs because student life is increasingly expensive and life when you’re disabled costs more some key examples of this here:
There are also fewer options for supplementary income, particularly because there is less time to commit to paid work as a disabled student.
The changes to fees have already led to disabled students being disadvantaged and led to greater debt in comparison to non-disabled peers. This is through a mixture of disabled students studying for longer and interest accruing on their student loans.
After graduation, disabled students are more likely to be unemployed compared to non-disabled graduates.
If we allow these cuts to go ahead, disabled students will become excluded from higher education or be at a significant disadvantage in their studies and following graduation.
If you are concerned about this announcement and would like to be involved in a campaign to say no to cuts to DSA, there will be a National Constituency-based lobby of MP’s on Friday 6th June organised by NUS.
You can request a meeting with your MP on this date by visiting: https://www.writetothem.com/