What is the Disabled Student Allowance (DSA)?

Inspiration 11, Inspiration RD and Inspiration Maps are approved Disabled Students' Allowance (DSA) products, regularly recommended by DSA Needs Assessors for use by students studying a degree. But what is this allowance and how do you apply for it?

The Disabled Students’ Allowance is a non-means tested government grant provided to students with a disability, long term illness or mental health problem, studying for an undergraduate or postgraduate degree. Thousands of students each year with mental health issues, dyslexia, dyspraxia, dyscalculia, autism, Asperger's, hearing impairment, visual impairment and physical disabilities are in receipt of this funding. It is designed to cover some of the extra costs that these students will incur during their time in higher education.

Students can get the DSA allowance on top of their other student finance and it will not need to be repaid.

What can the Disabled Students' Allowance pay for?

  • Specialist equipment, e.g., a computer if you need one because of your disability
  • Assistive technology software and hardware
  • Non-medical helpers
  • Extra travel because of your disability
  • Other disability-related costs of studying

As approved DSA products, Inspiration 11, Inspiration RD and Inspiration Maps can be provided as part of a student’s DSA support package.

Applicants may get a new computer if they do not already have one, or their current one does not meet their study needs. Though they may need to pay the first £200 (based on the regional funding body), which is the minimum cost that any student is likely to incur when buying a computer.

Once their eligibility for the Disabled Students' Allowance is confirmed, an applicant is most likely to be asked to go through a needs assessment process.

For specific information on funding policy by region and how to apply, please refer to the following websites:

BATA Disabled Students' Allowance resources for students entering university

Our friends at BATA (British Assistive Technology Association) have put together a set of resources for neurodiverse and disabled students applying for university, to help them apply for DSA, find an assessment centre, get remote assessment and ensure that their DSA equipment is in place, ready for when they start their degree.

Visit their DSA resource page.

Helping users overcome barriers to study and work

Inspiration is DSA approved and regularly recommended for Access to Work

Inspiration 11 is designed to be used by everyone, but is particularly beneficial for users who:

  • Have difficulty with short term memory, retaining and processing information.  
  • Get distracted when there is too much text to deal with. 
  • Find it challenging to express ideas in writing.
  • Struggle with the structure and layout of essays. 
  • Often have to take extended recovery breaks from working to alleviate symptoms (e.g. mental health difficulties). 
  • Have difficulties organizing ideas and remaining focused long enough to get ideas written down (e.g. Autistic Spectrum Disorder or mental health difficulties).
  • Find it hard to develop and deliver presentations.

Needs Recommendation Guide: this guide outlines how Inspiration addresses different user needs.


VPAT (Voluntary Product Accessibility Template): Inspiration Accessibility Conformance Report to accessibility standards set by Section 508 in the US.

View Case Studies: read our case studies on how users are utilising Inspiration on and off campus and in the workplace.