BM 66 – Defend the disabled students allowance in England
On Monday 7 April 2014, the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills announced changes to the Disabled Students’ Allowance (DSA) in England. The UK government is planning to cut DSA -- gutting support allowance that is vital to many students.
The DSA is a government grant in the United Kingdom, available to students in higher education. DSA’s are grants intended to help students to meet additional costs or expenses that they face as a direct result of a disability or specific learning difficulty. They are intended to help disabled students to study on an equal basis with other students. Full-time, part-time and postgraduate students do all qualify for this help. DSA’s are paid on top of the standard student finance package.
DSA is a crucial support for many disabled students in England, helping many of them to access education. Research has shown that those students that receive DSA are more likely to reach a first or upper class second honours degree than those disabled students that do not receive such an allowance. Additionally, research shows that 59 per cent of disabled respondents in the UK worry about not having enough money to meet basic living expenses.
Non-medical support, like note-taking, will no longer be covered by the DSA, shifting a greater responsibility onto institutions to fund this assistance. While well-resourced institutions with fewer disabled students may be able to provide the additional support, less well-resourced universities and colleges with higher numbers of disabled students will struggle to provide the necessary support.
ESU believes it is incredibly important to outline how dangerous and damaging these cuts can be. ESU opposes cuts to the support for disabled students, which is vital to so many disabled students across Europe. At a time when the UK government has already made savage cuts to the benefits of disabled people and cuts to local government funding, ESU stands in solidarity with the Disabled Students’ Campaign of NUS UK and disabled students across Europe, to say that we cannot let this development continue.