We are A2B Assessments. A DSA Assessment Centre based in London and Reading. We offer positive, supportive and informative DSA Needs Assessments that help you succeed at University and beyond.
Your DSA Needs Assessment
What does DSA Mean?
The DSA stands for Disabled Students’ Allowance. This is a government grant that assists with additional costs that students may incur in Higher Education, as a direct result of a diagnosed condition(s).
If you live in the UK and have a diagnosed condition(s) from a medical professional that affects your ability to study, you can apply for funding.
Examples of diagnosed conditions are:
- A specific learning difficulty (such as Dyslexia)
- A mental or physical health condition
- A long term illness
- A sensory impairment
What is a DSA assessment?
A DSA Needs Assessment is an informal chat between yourself and one of our friendly, experienced assessors. A DSA Needs Assessment with A2B Assessments is not a test!
During these discussions you are encouraged to openly talk about your condition(s) and any difficulties you may face with your studies as a result of your diagnosed condition(s).
Our skilled assessors will listen and suggest appropriate support, demonstrating any strategies available to you through the DSA.
If you have any current strategies you find helpful, our assessors will take these into consideration, ensuring the support you receive is always tailored to your needs.
A2B Assessments allow up to 2 hours for your DSA Needs Assessment. This ensures that the discussion is detailed, comprehensive and unrushed, however the length of an assessment can vary for each individual.
That’s it! After your assessment, all agreed recommendations are summarised in a report that is sent to you and your funding body.
Your funding body will send you a letter detailing what support has been approved and what you need to do to arrange it.
The cost of your DSA needs assessment will be paid to us directly by your funding body.
For more information about your funding body please see our FAQ sections below.
Frequently Asked Questions…
The Disabled Students’ Allowance (DSA) is a government grant available to students studying in Higher Education who have a diagnosed condition(s).
- The DSA is non means tested. So regardless of your household income or savings, any eligible student can apply.
- The DSA does not need to be paid back when you graduate.
- The DSA helps with any additional costs a student may have at university as a result of their approved condition.
A DSA Needs Assessment with A2B Assessments is an informal chat between yourself and one of our friendly, experienced assessors. A DSA Needs Assessment with A2B Assessments is not a test!
- We’ll discuss what specific difficulties you are experiencing as a result of your approved condition(s), and identify what strategies are available to help you overcome these difficulties.
- Once we have spoken through the different strategies available to you, we will produce a Needs Assessment Report for you and your funding body to read. This report is so your funding body can approve the recommendations made by your assessor.
- Your funding body will then send you a letter detailing what support has been approved and what you need to do next to arrange it.
After your DSA Needs Assessment your assessor will write a detailed report known as a Needs Assessment Report. This report contains the recommendations made for your support as well as the justifications behind these recommendations.
DSA Study Needs Assessments are available if the following apply to you:
- You are currently living and studying in the UK.
- You can prove you have a condition(s) that affects your ability to study (medical condition, sensory impairment, mental health condition, or specific learning difficulty).
- You are studying full-time or part-time in one of the following:
- A first degree, for example BA, BSc or BEd
- A Foundation Degree
- A Certificate of Higher Education
- A Diploma of Higher Education (DipHE)
- A Higher National Certificate (HNC)
- A Higher National Diploma (HND)
- A Postgraduate Certificate of Education (PGCE)
- A postgraduate course
- An Initial Teacher Training
- Your course lasts at least one year
- You qualify for student finance (you do not need to have a student loan to receive DSA).
To check if you are eligible or if you haven’t yet applied for your DSA you can do so here.
Your assessment can take place at any of our DSA-QAG registered needs assessment centres. You can find your nearest centre here.
In exceptional circumstances, and with prior permission from your funding body, we may be able to conduct an assessment at your home or over the telephone.
No, you don’t need to wait until you begin your course to arrange your assessment.
The sooner you can arrange your assessment the better. We can then ensure that all your support is organised and arranged in time for the beginning of your studies, so you can get off to a flying start!
Your support can be amended as required throughout your course.
A DSA Needs Assessment with A2B Assessments is certainly not a test! There is no pass or fail.
- Assessments are an informal discussion, where you can talk openly and honestly about any difficulties you are experiencing in your studies as a result of your approved condition(s).
- We understand that every student’s condition(s) is different and therefore will cause different struggles when studying. The assessors are there to listen to these difficulties and recommend the best possible strategies for you.
Here are 5 reasons why you should book with us:
- We place your needs first.
- We’ve designed a tailor made system to make the booking and administration process for our students as easy as possible. This means we can spend less time on paperwork and more time getting to know you, finding out what support you need.
- This streamlined process allows our assessors to adopt an individual approach to every student that we see, ensuring our assessments are as unique as you are.
- Our assessor team are one of a kind. Comprising of a diverse group, many of our team have worked in other areas of the DSA, whilst others have been through the DSA process as students themselves. This pooled experience helps to ensure we have a comprehensive understanding of your needs before, during and after your assessment with us.
- Our goal is to support you from when you first contact us, through to when you finish your course.
- We will send your report to you and your funding body within 10 working days.
- Your funding body will then review and process the recommendations made for your support. This can take a further 21 working days.
- Once your report has been processed, your funding body will issue you with an Entitlement Letter. This letter will detail what support has been approved and how to order any equipment or 1:1 support that has been approved.
Of course! You can bring a friend or relative to the assessment if you wish. Our goal is to make the assessment as welcoming and supportive as possible for you.
The following documents are required for having an assessment:
- A copy of your medical evidence or diagnostic report.
- A copy of your funding body Eligibility Letter.
We recommend that you send these documents to us in advance of your assessment, as your funding body does not send us this information.
What counts as medical evidence?
The type of medical evidence required ahead of your assessment is the same evidence that you provided to your funding body during your application for DSA support.
The type of medical evidence required by your funding body will depend on the condition you are applying for. Some guidelines are:
- An Educational Psychologist’s Report:
This is a report for students with specific learning difficulties such as Dyslexia, Dyspraxia, Dysgraphia or Dyscalculia.
- A Letter from a Doctor or Suitable Specialist:
This will be required for students with a Physical Impairment, Long Standing Medical Condition, Mental Health Condition or Sensory Impairment. For SFE students your doctor may also complete the Student Finance medical evidence form.
No. The assessment fee will be paid by your funding body and is not added to your student loan.
There is no cost to you for your assessment.
Reports will be shared with:
- You. You are welcome to see a draft copy of your Needs Assessment Report and can request this with your assessor during the assessment.
- Your funding body. This is a requirement as it is your funding body that approve and fund your support.
- With your consent we will also share your report with your university disability team. This helps ensure they are able to provide the support required, but you can decide whether you wish to give this consent during your assessment.
A funding body is the entity which pays for your DSA Needs Assessment and recommended support.
Which funding body you are supported by depends on factors such as what course you are studying and what country you are based in.
Different funding bodies include:
- Student Finance England – SFE
- Student Finance Wales – SFW
- Student Finance Northern Ireland – SF NI
- Student Awards Agency for Scotland – SAAS
- National Health Service – NHS
- Research Council
- The Education and Skills Funding Agency – ESFA
A DSA Needs Assessment can be called:
- A DSA Assessment
- A Study Needs Assessment
- A Needs Assessment
- An Assessment
These all mean the same thing. At A2B Assessments we refer to it as a DSA Needs Assessment.
Your DSA Needs Assessment is valid for the duration of your studies.
If your circumstances change during your course, your support can be reviewed and amended as necessary.
If you return to further study at a later date you could be entitled to a review of your needs to ensure that your recommended support is still relevant.
If you haven’t applied yet and would like some further advice, please contact us.