Disabled Students

We can give you advice regarding your student funding and welfare benefits. We offer impartial and independent advice about any problems or difficulties you may experience with University services. If you have any questions after reading this information, please contact us.

The University Disabled Student Support Team are specialised in co-ordinating support for disabled students at the University. If you have any problems with your learning contract or Disabled Student Allowance then, in first instance, you should contact them directly


> What counts as a disability?

If you have any condition which you think will affect your ability to fully engage with University life it is advisable that you seek further advice as soon as possible, or before your course begins.

The Equality Act 2010 states

‘A person has a disability if they have a physical or mental impairment, and the impairment has a substantial and long-term adverse effect on his or her ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities.'

By long term this means
it has lasted for at least 12 months,
it is likely to last for at least 12 months
it is likely to last for the rest of the life of the person

Examples of disabilities may include, but are not limited to

Asperger's Syndrome
Visual or hearing impairments
Mobility impairments
Medical conditions such as epilepsy, diabetes, cancer, HIV, Sickle Cell Anaemia, Crohn's Disease, Chronic Fatigue
Specific learning difficulties such as dyslexia, dyscalculia, dyspraxia, dysgraphia.
A Long term mental health issue, such as anxiety or depression

You can usually only receive help/support if you have a diagnosis and medical evidence.
If you are unsure about your diagnosis or condition contact Disabled Student Services, they may be able to advise you on where and how you can get a diagnosis and the evidence you may need.

> Should I disclose my disability?

It is advisable that you disclose your disability in order that you can get all the help and support you need whilst at University to enable you can fully engage in University life and your studies.

The University is required by law to make reasonable adjustments to enable you to fully participate; they can only do this if they know how your disability affects you.

You may also be entitled to additional help and support, benefits and funding if you apply and qualify. Here is a link to The University's Rules and regulations relating to Confidentiality of Information and Disability Disclosure.

> What services does the University provide for disabled students?

If you have any condition which you think will affect your ability to fully engage with University life it is advisable that you seek further advice. In order that the University can determine what support you may need and put this support in place before you begin your studies you should seek advice as soon as possible.

For more information about the University's Disabled Support Team follow this link

The Disabled Student Support Team can assist with
The admissions process
Disabled Students Allowance
Your Learning Contract
Accommodation needs
Adaptions and equipment

In addition The University offers a Wellbeing Service, this link outlines the services they offer.

> What funding and benefits am I entitled to?

From 2016 Maintenance loans will replace Maintenance grants. Loans will replace special support grants for new full time students entitled to benefits. There are no additions to standard Student Funding other than Disabled Students Allowance (DSA) from SFE or the NHS dependant on your course.

DSA is available to contribute to the additional costs that a student is obliged to incur, in relation to their studies, because of their disability. ‘Obliged to incur’ means that the support is essential to enable the student to access their studies. DSA should supplement the provision of reasonable adjustments made by the institution. Expenditure being considered for DSA purposes must be reasonably incurred and appropriate to the individual needs of the student. DSA is not intended to assist with disability-related expenditure that the student would continue to incur if they were not following their course of study. Local authority social services may well continue to provide assistance towards personal care costs that will be incurred irrespective of whether or not the student is attending their course.

A student can only receive support for a designated course and must meet the Eligibility Criteria. They must provide medical evidence and apply within 9 months of the start of the course (there are exceptions to this for example if a student becomes disabled during their course and has a diagnosis then they can make a claim at any time).

Disabled Students fall into one of the few categories of students who may be able to claim benefits. You may be able to claim Housing Benefit and Council Tax Support (single Full time students are exempt from paying Council Tax) if you qualify for certain elements of Disability Living Allowance (DLA) or Personal Independence Payments (PIP).

There may be other circumstances in which you can claim benefits such as if you take time out from your studies.

The amount you get may be affected by income you already have coming in and any funding that you receive.
If you think that you might be entitled to benefits or want to know anything more about claiming and entitlement, contact the Advice Service and we can do a full benefits check to ensure you are getting everything you are entitled to.

> What is a learning contract?

A Learning Contract is a document drawn up between you and the University which tailors support for your individual needs. Your Learning Contract helps to ensure you're not disadvantaged on your course because of your disability.

The kind of things a Learning Contract covers are reasonable adjustments to your course to enable you to fully participate, for example you may be given extra time to hand in work or sit exams. Your Learning Contract will also outline any additional support you may need in lectures and on placements according to your needs.

The contract is shared with relevant staff to enable them to ensure that the documented reasonable adjustments are put in place.

The contract can be revised and adjusted throughout your studies according to your needs.

> What is fitness to study?

The University has recently introduced a Fitness to Study Policy. The reasoning for this is that the University recognises that there may be occasions where the health or wellbeing of a student deteriorates to the point where it raises questions about student's suitability to continue their studies. They intend to offer support to the student to ensure that all available avenues have been explored to enable the student to continue their studies.

If you have been informed that you are being reviewed under the Fitness to Study Policy or you have been invited to a panel hearing it is advisable to seek immediate, independent and impartial advice from the Advice Service.

We can support you and ensure that the University has followed and interpreted its own procedures correctly. We can look at other ways of providing support and explore any underlying issues which you may have.

You can read the full Fitness to Study regulation on the University Website.

In brief the university regulations state-

The procedure will be invoked where there are on-going and/or significant concerns that you are not fit to study at the present time. This can be either because of how you are behaving or through your inability to make satisfactory academic progress where it is believed this failure is linked to physical or mental health issues.

In terms of conduct this can manifest itself through behaviour that contravenes the Code of Conduct for students and would normally result in action under the Student Disciplinary Procedure were it not for the belief that the behaviour is linked to physical or mental health issues and/or Behaviour that whilst not contravening the Code of Conduct, suggests that there is a serious and immediate risk that you could harm yourself or others.

There are several stages to the procedure. The first is a Support to Study Policy, an investigative stage where a concern has been raised with your faculty Student Services Manager (SSM) about whether you are fit to study. The faculty should look at what existing support mechanisms are in place for you and determine if any support mechanisms, such as those outlined in your Learning Contract are being adhered to and are effective or could they be updated and amended?

If following this stage the issues have not been resolved or cannot be resolved then the University may implement the full Fitness to Study Procedure outlined in the link above.