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Studying in the UK as a disabled student

In the UK, there’s no reason for disabled students not to pursue higher education. Despite still being very challenging to study as a disabled person, significant improvements have been made and universities are equally accessible to everyone.

UK universities have a legal obligation to ensure disabled students get excellent treatment throughout their studies. This includes many facilities, like basic things they commonly need such as wheelchair friendly access.

Your rights as a disabled student

Studying in the UK as a disabled student won’t represent any difference to studying as a non-disabled student because your fundamental rights will be protected and guaranteed by law. Universities in the UK are committed to making sure these laws are fully functional and you have a normal student life even if you’re a foreign student.

With this being said, it is important for you to know that your right of attending university is guaranteed. Whenever there will be anyone or anything trying to deny to you this opportunity there are many institutions and many laws where you can address your concerns.

Below are given some circumstances at which universities must not discriminate a disabled student:

  • If a student is rejected from admission just because they are disabled (direct discrimination).
  • Providing applications in only one form which cannot be accessible to disabled students (indirect discrimination).
  • Discrimination springing from a student’s disability, for example, going out in breaks because it takes him more time than his non-disabled peers.
  • When a professor shouts at the student who may have interrupted his lecture because of his disability.
  • When a student is suspended because he had protested about being harassed.

Where to get advice?

Within every British university, there’s an office and an official who’s in charge to deliver every service concerning this category of students. Disabled students can get support for different problems and help to overcome them.

Universities in the UK have many scholarship schemes dedicated to disabled students. Those who are interested but know nothing about the application process can contact the official person who will be able to help. The official will show you everything you need to know about your access on campus.


The university and its staff must make certain adjustments to their schooling plan regarding their disabled students’ needs, this includes any modifications. 

Scholarships and loans

Scholarships to disabled students in the UK are governed and provided by both governmental authorities or non-governmental organisations.

Powered by governmental funds, all UK universities run a joint scholarship and loan scheme for disabled students called the Disabled Students’ Allowance (DSA). If you’re facing extra costs due to your disability, then you can apply for DSA funds or loans.

You must reach the Disability Service office in your university where the advisors will guide you to a successful application. Your eligibility to apply for these funds depends on several factors like the severity of your disability, the type of course you are doing and your nationality.

The Disability Service office is in charge of sending your application to the responsible authority. Please note, that in your application a medical certificate that states your disability is required.

How much you’ll be paid varies according to your disability-related needs. These funds will be allocated to your bank account or can be paid directly to the provider of service you’re seeking to get.

The UK run DSA funds independently and set up the details of how these funds will be provided.  Your eligibility and the amount you get is dependant on what location you are studying in.

For example, the DSA funds are only available to the UK students. On the other hand, the same funding programme in Scotland is also offered to EU students with disability.

A DSA scholarship in England covers the cost of travelling you have during your studies in the UK. In Scotland, the DSA does not cover such costs, however, you can make a claim for additional funds from the Student Awards Agency for Scotland (SAAS) .

You can claim Disabled Student Allowance (DSA) below:

Last Updated: 15/01/2021
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