ASSIST-TECH.

Summary of the document “2010/2011 STUDENT FINANCE IMPLEMENTATION PROJECT: DISABLED STUDENTS’ ALLOWANCES (DSAs)” for Study Aids/Strategies Assessors.

“The chapter provides guidance on full-time DSAs (regulation 40 & 41), DSAs for full-time distance learning students (regulation 123), part-time DSAs (regulation 141) and DSAs for postgraduate students (Part 12) as provided in the Education (Student Support) Regulations 2009. “

Contents.

DSA Policy.
Full-time DSA.
Part time DSA.
Specialist Equipment Allowance.
Non-Medical Helper Allowance.
General Allowance.
Travel Allowance.
Postgraduate DSA.
Evidence of a disability.
DDA 1995 and work placements.
[DSA and HEI services.].
Social Services.
The DSAs [and NMH arranged by HEI].
Payments of DSAs.
Non-recommended suppliers and upgrades.
Electrically powered wheelchairs and scooters.
Using DSAs to support participation in extra curricular activities.
Reimbursing HEIs for support provided before a DSA assessment was carried out.


DSA Policy.

4.    DSAs are not intended to pay for:

    disability related expenditure that the student would incur even if they were not attending a course of higher education;
    costs that any student might have regardless of disability; and
    services which can reasonably be expected to be provided by the student’s institution.

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Full-time DSA,

22.    There are four allowances for students attending full-time courses or part-time ITT courses which began before 1st September 2010…

Specialist equipment allowance (for the duration of the course) £5,161

Non-medical helper allowance (each academic year)    £20,520, Part-time ITT course which began before 1st September 2010 (less than 6 weeks attendance) £15,390

General allowance (each academic year) £1,724, Part-time ITT course which began before 1st September 2010 (less than 6 weeks attendance) £1,293

Travel allowance Unlimited

23.    There is no provision to pay more than the maximum allowances set out in the Regulations. Therefore, LAs/SLC should not use unspent DSAs from a previous academic year or anticipate grant entitlement for a future academic year to pay more than the maximum allowances in the current academic year. However, only the general allowance may be used to supplement expenditure on specialist equipment and non-medical helpers should the student’s needs exceed the maximum allowances under the Regulations. The specialist equipment allowance, non-medical helper allowance and the travel allowance should be used for the sole purpose as named and should not be used to supplement other DSAs.

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Part-time DSAs (regulation 141)

36.    Under regulation 141 an eligible part-time student qualifies for DSAs to assist with the additional expenditure that the LA/SLC is satisfied the student is obliged to incur to undertake (i.e. to attend or study by distance learning) a designated part-time course because of a disability. DSAs for students undertaking a part-time course with the Open University are administered by the Open University and not by LAs/SLC.

Specialist equipment allowance (for the duration of the course) £5,161

Non-medical helper allowance (each academic year)    £15,390, 75% of a FT course = £15,390, 60% of a FT course = £12,312, 50% of a FT course = £10,260

General allowance (each academic year) £1,293, 75% of a FT course = £1,293, 60% of a FT course = £1,034, 50% of a FT course = £862

Travel allowance Unlimited

41.    There are no provisions within the Regulations to pay more than the maximum allowances for the academic year. Please refer to the guidance in respect of full-time DSAs at paragraphs 23 & 25.

Students whose status as an eligible (full-time) student is converted to that of an eligible part-time student (regulation 146(1)-(4))

42.    When a student transfers from a full-time to a part-time course, the LA/SLC must convert their status as an eligible full-time student to that of an eligible part-time student. Where a student transfers from a full-time to a part-time course part way through the academic year:

a)    no instalment of full-time DSAs is payable after the student became an eligible part-time student;

b)    the maximum amounts of part-time DSAs are reduced by one third where the student became an eligible part-time student during the second quarter of the academic year and by two thirds where they became an eligible part-time student in a later quarter of that year; and

c)    where full-time DSAs have been paid to the student in a single instalment, the maximum amount of the corresponding part-time DSAs payable to them are reduced by the amount of full-time DSAs already paid (or further reduced if paragraph (b) above applies). If the resulting amount is nil or a negative amount, the part-time DSA is not payable.

Students whose status as an eligible part-time student is converted to that of an eligible (full-time) student (regulation 146(11)-(12))

43.    When a student transfers from a part-time to a full-time course, the LA/SLC must convert their status as an eligible part-time student to that of an eligible full-time student. Where a student transfers from a part-time to a full-time course part way through the academic year:

a)    no instalment of part-time DSAs is payable after the student became an eligible full-time student;

b)    the maximum amounts of any grants for living costs (and loan) for full-time students are reduced by one third where the student became an eligible full-time student during the second quarter of the academic year and by two thirds where they became an eligible full-time student in a later quarter of that year; and

c)    where part-time DSAs have been paid to the student in a single instalment, the maximum amount of the corresponding full-time DSAs payable to them are reduced by the amount of part-time DSAs already paid (or further reduced if paragraph (b) above applies). If the resulting amount is nil or a negative amount, the full-time DSA is not payable.

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Specialist equipment allowance

24.    The specialist equipment allowance (regulation 41(2)(b)) may be used to pay for items of equipment which the student will need, because of a  disability, to benefit fully from the course. It may also be reasonable to meet associated insurance, extended warranty, repair and modification costs from the equipment allowance. Where students do not take out insurance and their equipment is stolen, the cost of replacing the stolen equipment should not normally be met from the DSAs. Therefore, LAs/SLC are advised to recommend that students take out insurance cover for their DSA equipment. The insurance premiums can be paid from the DSA. LAs/SLC might, at the same time, also suggest that the student consider whether they might benefit from some initial training in the use of any equipment to be purchased. Research has shown that many students start their courses without becoming familiar with specialist equipment and can face difficulties that could be avoided. The cost of training in the use of specialist equipment may be set against DSAs, subject to the maxima specified in the Regulations.

25.    The specialist equipment allowance is for the duration of the course but, like other grants, has usually been increased annually (although in 2010/11 student finance is being maintained in at 2009/10 levels). This means that a student who had received the maximum grant for specialist equipment (£5,030) in 2008/09, could, subject to need, receive a further £131 for specialist equipment in 2010/11 (£5,161 - £5,030 (maximum specialist equipment grant in 2008/09) = £131).

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Non-medical helper allowance

28.    The non-medical helper allowance (regulation 41(2)(a)) may be used to pay for helpers such as readers, lip-speakers, note-takers, campus specific mobility trainers, and any non-medical helpers necessary if the student is to benefit fully from the course and where the LA/SLC is satisfied that they are needed because of their disability.

Where the student has to make regular or frequent payments for a non-medical helper, it may be helpful if the LA/SLC arrange for some of their grant payments to be made in corresponding instalments. If grant payments are made in instalments, LAs/SLC may find it useful to inform the student, or their institution, how such transactions should be recorded and verified for audit purposes.


29.    The provision for the non-medical helper allowance does not remove the duty of local social services to provide assistance towards personal care costs that would have been incurred irrespective of a student’s attendance on a course. However, in some circumstances a personal carer may also provide course-related help for a student. In such cases LAs/SLC might agree to share the cost of the course-related help provided by the carer with the social services. The non-medical helper allowance should not be used to pay for support that should properly be funded by social services.

110.    Dyslexic students may be eligible for the following support from the DSAs subject to the nature of their learning difficulties and their needs assessment.
4.    DSAs are not intended to pay for:

97.    The Department recommends:
DSAs should not be used for charges for support, counselling or tutorial services which the institution makes available to all students;
DSAs are not intended for the costs of extra academic tuition or support in the main subject area(s) being studied. Institutions should normally meet these costs as part of providing the course;
...
DSAs may be used only where a student is obliged by reason of their disability to incur costs in receiving specialised individual support. Some students will require additional support to develop appropriate learning strategies because of their disability, for example dyslexia or a mental health condition. The aim of this support is to maximise their ability and remove the barriers caused by the impairment. The costs of extra tutorial support to improve their study skills (e.g. in essay construction and writing, examination techniques, revision skills) would be appropriate for DSAs. However, LAs/SLC should satisfy themselves that the cost is reasonable and appropriate...

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General allowance

31.    The general allowance (regulation 41(2)(d)) may be used both for miscellaneous expenditure not covered by the other allowances and to supplement the specialist equipment allowance and non-medical helper allowance, if necessary.

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Travel allowance

32.    The travel allowance (regulation 41(2)(c)) may be used to pay the additional costs of travel to and from the institution which are incurred because of a disability. For example, if a student needs to travel by taxi rather than by public transport because of mobility or visual difficulties, then the DSAs will cover the additional expenditure that represents. In this instance, the amount of travel allowance should be any excess between public transport costs and taxi costs for the journey.

33.    Some students may be required as a result of a disability to use their own car to travel to and from the institution. In this instance, the amount of travel allowance should be any excess between public transport costs and the cost of the same journey by car. For the purpose of deciding the cost of the journey by car, it is recommended that LAs/SLC calculate the cost of the journey based on the mid point range of AA motoring costs which includes and element for wear and tear on the car.  This is currently (2009/10) 21p per mile. Some continuing students using their own car may already be receiving a travel allowance based on a higher mileage rate agreed by their LA/SLC. In such cases, it is recommended that LAs/SLC continue using the higher rate until the end of the course.

34.    LAs/SLC will need to be satisfied that the travel expenditure arises in each case by reason of a disability to which the student is subject. The travel allowance should not be used to meet non-disability related travel expenditure incurred by a disabled student. For example, it is unlikely that a dyslexic student will incur additional travel expenditure as a result of their specific learning difficulty. A disabled student may still qualify for Travel Grant (regulations 48 - 55) in the same way as any other student (see ‘Grants for Dependants and Travel Grants’ guidance 2010/11).

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DSAs for postgraduate students

44.    Under part 12 of the Regulations an eligible postgraduate student qualifies for DSAs to assist with the additional expenditure that the LA/SLC is satisfied the student is obliged to incur to undertake (i.e. to attend or study by distance learning) a designated full- or part-time postgraduate course because of a disability. DSAs for students undertaking a postgraduate course with the Open University are administered by the Open University and not by LAs/SLC.

46.    Regulation 157 provides for a DSA of up to £10,260 for the academic year 2010/11 to be paid to eligible postgraduate students undertaking designated full- and part-time postgraduate courses. There is no statutory provision to pay a postgraduate student in excess of £10,260 during academic year 2010/11. There are no specific limits within the maximum £10,260 on particular items or type of help on which the grant can be spent. The allowance is awarded depending on the recommendations of a needs assessment carried out by an assessment centre or other such body. The cost of the needs assessment can be paid for from the postgraduate DSA, but as with undergraduate DSAs, it cannot be used to pay for establishing a student’s disability. The postgraduate DSA may be spent on specialist equipment, non-medical helpers, other general support or additional travel costs, or a combination of the above, up to the maximum amount for the academic year.

Students moving directly from undergraduate to postgraduate study

62.    Where a student has just graduated and is proceeding directly to postgraduate study, the DSA needs assessment that was undertaken in respect of the undergraduate course should be sufficient to identify the student’s support needs in respect of the postgraduate course. This means, for example, that the student could continue to receive support from non-medical helpers without the necessity of a new needs assessment. However, if the student wishes to undergo a new needs assessment because their disability has changed in someway or the course is substantially different, this can be paid for from the postgraduate DSA.

63.    If the student seeks new equipment, the LA/SLC will need to take into account any equipment the student received as an undergraduate, having regard to how recently the equipment was bought and how appropriate it now is for the software necessary to support the student’s disability. The Department’s view is that the LA/SLC could replace equipment provided in the first year of an undergraduate course, but would need to look carefully at requests for new equipment if it had been provided in the final year of an undergraduate course.

64.    Students who have not studied recently (those with a break of at least two years since graduating) should be assessed in the same way as undergraduate students are currently. They should provide evidence of disability and then have their course related needs assessed.

Postgraduate students completing dissertations after their course ends

65.    A student retains their status as an eligible postgraduate for a period equal to that which is ordinarily required to complete the relevant designated postgraduate course. If the ordinary duration of the course includes a period to complete a dissertation or thesis, the Regulations provide for the student to be eligible to receive a postgraduate DSA for the period spent completing their dissertation or thesis. For example, if a course ordinarily takes two years to complete and the second year of the course is writing up the thesis, the postgraduate student will qualify for support during the writing up period.

66.    However, there may be occasions when students request payment of DSAs to continue when they are writing up a dissertation or thesis after the end of the period ordinarily required to complete the designated course. Regulation 153(9) provides LAs/SLC with discretion to extend or renew a student’s eligibility for such further periods as they consider appropriate after the expiry of the period ordinarily required to complete the course. This discretion might be used when a student is writing up a thesis or dissertation after the expiry of the period ordinarily required to complete the course.

67.    In the case of part-time designated postgraduate courses, if the additional period of writing up a thesis or dissertation would mean that the overall duration of the part-time course will be more than double the time needed to complete a full-time equivalent course, the part-time course would then cease to be designated. Consequently, the student would not qualify for any further DSA support.

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Evidence of a disability

68.    For most applicants, there should be little difficulty establishing their eligibility for DSAs. Their disability will have been identified and documented at an earlier stage, in many cases while they were at school. However, it is not essential for an applicant’s disability to have been identified at school in order to be eligible for DSAs. Eligibility for DSAs is not dependent on an applicant being registered as disabled. Nor is there any requirement or provision within the Regulations to apply the definition of disability contained in the Disability Discrimination Act.


75.    A DSA needs assessment report will contain information about the student’s disability, mental health condition or specific learning difficulty which is classed as sensitive personal data under section 2 of the Data Protection Act 1998. This means that the written consent of the student should always be obtained before releasing the DSA needs assessment report or any other disability-related information to a third party. During the DSA needs assessment interview, needs assessors are requested to explain the role of Disability Adviser and a copy of the needs assessment report should be sent to the Disability Adviser and the LA/SLC by the assessment centre once agreed. It would also help assessors if they are provided with a copy of the letter to the student which sets out the agreed DSA support (see Annex 3 for suggested text). This is subject to the student giving their consent. This information would make assessors aware of any recommendations which have fallen outside the scope of the Regulations and reduce the likelihood of similar inappropriate recommendations in the future. There are two DSA application forms; both entitled ‘Disabled Students’ Allowances 2010/11 Application Form’.   DSA1F is aimed at students who have not applied for other student support and DSASL is aimed at those students who have already completed an application for student support and therefore do not need to provide some information again.  Both forms ask students to give their consent to the release of information about their DSA application to third parties such as disability advisers and DSA assessors (see paragraph 170).

76.    The cost of the DSA needs assessment should be met from the non-medical helper allowance. The general allowance may be used to pay the student’s travel costs to the needs assessment. Where students do not subsequently start a course, they should not be asked to repay the needs assessment fee. If they reapply for a higher education course the following year, the needs assessment already carried out should be sufficient to process their new DSA application. The Department is prepared to write off the DSA needs assessment costs for those students who do not enter higher education.

78.    Providing that students have granted permission, a copy of the needs assessment and awards letter should be sent to the Disability Adviser at their institution once they have received confirmation of a place. This will help ensure that the support the student requires is put in place.

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DDA 1995 and work placements

93.    Work placements are currently included in the DDA 1995 Part 4 (Education) (as amended by the Special Educational Needs and Disability Act 2001) which means that college and university staff must take into account a person’s disability when arranging work placements and liaise with the work placement providers to implement the support.

94.    The DDA 1995 Part 2 (Employment) now includes people who are on a work placement as part of a vocational training programme. A vocational training programme is likely to include most students who are undertaking a work placement as an integral part of a further or higher education course. The providers of work placements are now required to ensure that they do not have discriminatory practices and also to make reasonable adjustments for disabled people on a work placement. The length of the work placement may be a factor when determining whether an adjustment is reasonable.

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[DSA and HEI services.].

97.    The Department recommends:

    DSAs should not be used for charges for support, counselling or tutorial services which the institution makes available to all students;

    DSAs are not intended for the costs of extra academic tuition or support in the main subject area(s) being studied. Institutions should normally meet these costs as part of providing the course;

    Similarly, where an institution makes special adaptations to course handouts or other course equipment for use by a disabled student during the delivery and assessment of the curriculum, it should meet any associated costs as part of providing the course;

    The cost of any special arrangements that institutions may need to make to enable a disabled student to take examinations (e.g. providing physical access to the examination hall or allowing the examinations to be taken and invigilated somewhere else) should not be set against DSAs. Additional costs which the disabled student themselves needs to incurs in taking their examinations (for example, a helper or item of specialised equipment) would however fall within the scope of DSAs; and

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Social Services

98.    Social Services may continue to provide assistance towards personal care costs that would be incurred in the UK, regardless of whether or not a student is attending a course. Support needs can be reassessed by Social Services when there is a change in a person’s personal circumstances, such as leaving home to attend a course or a change in health. In the event of a student moving away from their home area to attend a course, funding responsibilities for personal care would continue to rest with the Social Services Department in the student’s home area. Social Services receive money from Central Government to fund personal care support for disabled people and are responsible for deciding how their budget allocation is spent (see also paragraph 29).

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The DSAs [and NMH arranged by HEI]

135.    HEI governing bodies are responsible for the proper stewardship and value for money of public funds. The amount they claim for DSA administration needs to be relevant and proportionate, and to have been incurred by the HEI specifically in providing the DSA service.

136.    Fixed percentages without an evidence base do not provide a sound basis for the calculation and award of relevant administration costs. Finding the clearly calculated cost of activity is a more transparent and sustainable means of funding than arbitrary fixed percentages.

137.    Costs should be based on actual delivery and not assessed delivery. It is reasonable for LAs/SLC to ask for evidence that the support for which they are invoiced by HEIs or other providers was delivered. (Further guidance on whether charges incurred when a student fails to attend a pre-arranged session with a non-medical helper can be met for the DSAs is provided at paragraphs 141 & 142).

138.    Administration charges and associated overheads should be claimed only once: the same activity should not be claimed twice. A reasonable level of actually-incurred marginal costs should be the maximum. HEIs should clearly distinguish the types of services and their costs on invoices submitted to LAs/SLC. LAs/SLC will need to assure themselves about the amounts claimed by individual providers. They might, for example, ask providers to submit details of how their administrative costs have been calculated with the first claims each year.

139.    A fundamental review of costs should be undertaken periodically to ensure that the service continues to provide value for money (for example, that efficiency improvements are effectively managed, to avoid a “last year plus x per cent” approach, and to assess whether the level of resources used to provide the service remain appropriate in the light of changing demand and other factors) and to avoid double-counting.

140.    LAs/SLC should satisfy themselves that claims for DSAs are made in accordance with Departmental guidance and should challenge costs which do not appear to them to be reasonable. The Department is considering introducing spot check audits to see how LAs/SLC and HEIs are interpreting the revised guidance.

Cancellation charges when students fail to attend a pre-arranged session with a non-medical helper

141.    The Department would not support a general policy of paying for NMH provision that has been recommended in a DSA needs assessment report and put in place by an HEI or other provider, regardless of whether or not the student takes up that support. There will of course be occasions where a student fails to attend NMH sessions at short notice for reasons such as illness, etc. It is the Department’s view that if the student is required in such circumstances to pay a cancellation charge, then the charge could be met from the student’s DSAs as part of the expenditure they were obliged to incur to secure NMH support. For example, where the terms of a contract the student has entered into with an HEI or other provider of NMH support stipulate that a charge will be made for missed sessions if less than 24 hours' notice of cancellation is given.

142.    However, the Department would expect the number of missed sessions and the reasons for not attending to be closely monitored. Where students continually fail to attend NMH sessions without good reason a point must come where the local authority (LA) or SLC can no longer agree to pay for NMH provision that is not being used. Similarly where students give notice part way through the year that they no longer need or want NMH support, we do not consider that LAs/SLC should continue to pay for NMH provision that is not being taken up. The Department considers that it would be reasonable for LAs/SLC to request evidence that any NMH support for which they are invoiced by HEIs or other providers has been delivered.

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Payments of DSAs.

143.    Regulation 106 (full time DSAs), 123 (full-time distance learning DSAs) 147 (part-time DSAs) and 158 (postgraduate DSAs) provide a discretion as to the timing of DSA payments and also whether payments should be paid in instalments. Where high costs in respect of a non-medical personal helper’s allowance are incurred, LAs/SLC will wish to consider the practical implications for the student who may have to make frequent payments to support workers. For example, a student who has to pay a helper £60 per week may have difficulty in meeting such costs in advance of receiving their grant instalment. While we do not recommend the payment of the full allowance available to the student in advance of the services carried out, LAs/SLC may wish to consult their auditors on whether provisional monthly or termly payments might be paid based on an estimate. LAs/SLC would need to be satisfied that the student had attended the sessions for which provisional payments had been made.

Timing of payments for specialist equipment

144.    In some cases, it may be necessary or desirable for students to purchase items of special equipment before the start of their courses, so that they may make use of them from the very beginning of their studies. LAs/SLC should not expect students initially to make large payments themselves and then claim reimbursement. Once the LA/SLC has established that the student is eligible for DSAs, it would not be unreasonable for it to arrange the purchase and supply of equipment shortly before the start of the course once the student’s place is unconditional, i.e. after ‘A’ level results and it is established that the student is eligible for student support. In particular, students with severe disabilities, such as blind students, may need longer time for training in the use of their DSA equipment and software. Needs Assessors and Disability Advisers may recommend that equipment is supplied before the start of the course to allow time for training in the use of the equipment. We advise that LAs/SLC accept such recommendations. We would not expect LAs/SLC to make payments of DSAs well in advance of the start of the course, particularly where the student is still at school. There is no bar under the Regulations to making such payments in advance of the student’s actual attendance on their course.

DSA applications received in the final stages of a course

146.    Some students may apply for DSA support in the latter stages of the final year of their courses. Many of the students who apply late for DSA support do so because they have been reluctant to disclose their disability and now have concerns about their impending examinations or are struggling with dissertations. If a need for disability-related support is identified in the latter stages of the course, it is important the student receives the appropriate support, even if it is only for a short period until the end of the course.

147.    A concern is that students applying late may not receive their DSA support before the end of their courses. It is recommended that students applying near the end of their courses are also referred to their Disability Advisers for further advice. Disability Advisers may be able to arrange human support, such as exam support, study support or revision skills, at short notice. However, the usual DSA needs assessment would be required to identify any assistive technology requirements. Although it is reasonable for special equipment needs to arise at the end of a course, we continue to advise that LAs/SLC treat with caution applications for the equipment allowance towards the end of a student’s course. If suppliers are willing to rent out equipment and if rental is better value for money, LAs/SLC should consider rental or hired equipment as the Student Support Regulations allow for support to be provided by way of hire or rental as well as through outright purchases. Assessment centres can offer information on equipment suppliers who provide equipment for hire or rental. However, it is important that students receive the necessary support and in the event that it is not possible to rent or hire equipment, purchases of equipment should be made.

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Non-recommended suppliers and upgrades

166.    There is no statutory requirement that students should purchase the DSA equipment or other support they need from a particular supplier. However, although a student is free to use a different supplier from that recommended in the DSA needs assessment report, they may only use DSA monies to purchase support which has been agreed by the LA/SLC. LAs/SLCwill need to be satisfied that the expenditure is reasonable. Purchases made directly by students should always be supported by receipts which LAs/SLC may request under the provisions of Schedule 3 of the Student Support Regulations. If a student wishes to purchase equipment of a higher specification than that recommended, they must use their own monies to meet the extra costs.

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Electrically powered wheelchairs and scooters

167.    Generally the cost of purchasing wheelchairs and scooters would be incurred regardless of whether the student is attending a course and therefore would not normally be an appropriate charge to the DSA. Individual health authorities have duties to meet the mobility needs of people who are unable or virtually unable to walk. However, some students may have requirements which arise specifically because of the course. For example, attendance on a course may mean that a student has to use hilly terrains which can be avoided in ordinary life. Advice may be requested from the institution’s Disability Adviser. A hilly university campus terrain may mean that a manual wheelchair is inadequate or that a student with mobility problems might require human assistance to move around the campus. An electrically powered wheelchair/scooter in such cases would probably be more cost effective over the life of the course. If lectures are held in different parts of the campus which are some distance apart, students may be required to travel quickly in order to reach their next lecture on time. This may not be possible for a student with limited mobility or a manual wheelchair. Therefore, we believe that each request for mobility equipment such as wheelchairs and scooters should be considered individually in the light of course requirements and the terrain of the university campus.

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Using DSAs to support participation in extra curricular activities

168.    It has been asked whether the DSAs can be used to fund extra curricular activities and participation in Freshers’ week. The Regulations allow for the DSAs to be used for additional expenditure which the LA/SLC is satisfied the student is obliged to incur in connection with their attendance on (or their undertaking) a designated course. This would not allow the DSAs to be used to support a student when participating in Freshers’ week or other extra curricular activities where there is no link with the course of study. However, if it could be demonstrated that the extra curricular activity is a course requirement, we can see no statutory bar to paying a DSA to allow the student to participate in that activity. Examples might be a music student participating in a choral society, or a drama student involved in a drama group. It is recommended that the DSAs can be used to provide support for students during induction meetings they might have with their course tutors during Freshers’ week (as well as during other parts of their course) as this is course-related.

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Reimbursing HEIs for support provided before a DSA assessment was carried out

169.    Where a disabled student has a clear need for non-medical helper and/or other support, HEIs will sometimes provide this support whilst the student’s DSA application is still being processed and before a DSA needs assessment has been carried out. This might occur when the application for DSAs is made after the course has started and a DSA needs assessment is not immediately available. In the Department’s view the HEI can be reimbursed from the student’s DSA (where subsequently awarded) if the type of support provided was later recommended in the DSA needs assessment report.