This page is to help you navigate the support and accessibility needs you may require as a student at Bishop Grosseteste University. Use the drop-down boxes below to locate the relevant information in regards to Student Advice, including useful links to the Gov.UK website.
Applicants with Access Needs
We welcome applicants with a disability, impairment, medical or mental health condition. We use the umbrella term ‘access needs’ for these conditions.
If you have access needs, you may be able to secure additional support during your studies. Please contact the Student Advice team to discuss your specific needs in relation to your chosen programme of study. We encourage you to do this at the earliest opportunity.
Our aim is to meet your individual needs through reasonable adjustments to help you engage more effectively with your studies.
We recommend you formally disclose your access needs on your UCAS application. The personal details section on your UCAS application gives you the option of choosing a disability category and describing any additional study support needs. The earlier you tell us about your needs, the sooner we can assist.
When BGU receives your UCAS application the Student Advice team will send you an Accessibility Questionnaire:
- You can provide further details about the support you think you will require
- You can tell us about support you may have used in your studies before university.
Registration at BGU
There will also be a further opportunity to disclose your access needs during the BGU registration process, if you wish to wait until then. You can also contact us about your needs at any time once you have registered on your course, but we recommend doing this as early as possible, preferably before registration, so that support is in place when you begin your studies.
You can choose how much information you wish to disclose, though it is generally the case that the more you tell us, the more we are able to assist you. If you only wish to disclose limited information about your situation, we suggest you contact us to discuss this as soon as you can.
Your information regarding your access needs is treated as sensitive information under data protection legislation and will only be shared with relevant parties. We will keep your information secure.
Once you have provided us with your information, we will draw up a Support Agreement which will:
- Provide a convenient record of the reasonable adjustments in place for you
- Be shared with all relevant teams and departments within the University so they are aware of your needs
Disabled Students’ Allowance (DSA) – further support
Alongside the reasonable adjustments Student Advice can organise, you can usually get additional support by applying for the Disabled Students’ Allowance (DSA) from Student Finance England (or the relevant agencies for the other home nations).
We recommend you apply for your DSA before your course begins, applications usually open from around February or March, that way your support can be in place from the first day of study onwards.
The DSA can provide you with a package of specialist equipment and personal support tailored around your needs and is available for undergraduate and postgraduate study.
The DSA Process
It can take several weeks for your DSA application to be processed in full, but you can start the process before your course begins, so it is possible to secure the support so it is ready for your first day of your course.
1. Applying for DSA:
If you are a full-time undergraduate student applying for your core student finance (tuition fee and maintenance loan) you can apply for your DSAs from your online Student Finance account.
If you apply after you have completed your core student finance application, the application for DSA is quite short and straightforward. You will need to:
- Confirm your personal details
- Confirm the access need(s) you are applying in respect of
- Provide medical evidence (see below)
- Tick to allow data to be shared so your support can be arranged
- Provide your bank details
And that’s all. It should not take you long to complete.
If you are a part-time or postgraduate student, or are only applying for DSA without any other type of student finance, you will need to complete a full DSA1 application, which asks further questions about your course and university (a PDF of the full DSA1 form is available to download HERE.
You will be told what evidence you need to submit to support your application during the application process.
2. Medical Evidence
You will need to provide evidence to support your application:
- Access Needs Evidence
- Physical, sensory, or long-term illnesses A letter or report from an NHS professional (e.g. GP or consultant)
- Mental health condition A letter or report from an NHS professional (e.g. GP or consultant)
- Specific Learning Differences A diagnostic report from an Educational Psychologist or suitably qualified specialist teacher
NOTE: for mental health conditions, and physical or long-term illnesses, SFE provide their own medical evidence form which needs to be completed by a medical professional. This can be a convenient way of obtaining satisfactory evidence to support your application.
3. Confirmation of eligibility (DSA1 letter):
Once Student Finance England has processed your application they will write to you to let you know if your application has been approved. This usually takes between 5 and 10 working days, but can take longer at busier times of the year. Keep a check on your emails and on your online account.
If your DSA has been agreed, you should receive a DSA1 confirmation letter. Keep the letter safe as it confirms your eligibility and provides details on how to arrange a Needs Assessment.
The letter requires you to take action by arranging the Needs Assessment – if you don’t your DSA support will not be in place for your studies.
4. The Needs Assessment:
You will need to arrange your Needs Assessment with your local Assessment Centre. Your DSA1 letter tells you how to do this. There are no upfront costs for the Needs Assessment – it is paid for as part of your DSA.
When you attend your Needs Assessment it might be beneficial to have with you:
- Your medical evidence
- Any other information specific to your needs (e.g. any assistance you may have received previously)
- If you have a laptop, information about its specification (which may be helpful if you require specialist software). Take the machine with you if you are unsure about the technical details
Remember, your Needs Assessment is not a test, it is an opportunity to discuss your needs in depth with a trained assessor in an informal and supportive environment.
Once your assessment is complete the assessor will write a report summarising your discussion and making recommendations for support and reasonable adjustments that would be of benefit to you.
When you receive your report, make sure you provide Student Advice with a copy, or request the assessment centre send a copy to us, and we can then ensure any recommendations for reasonable adjustments made through the DSA are added to your Support Agreement and shared with relevant departments in the University.
5. Confirmation of your support entitlement and arranging Non-Medical Help or equipment:
The assessment centre will send a further copy of your needs assessment report to Student Finance England for their approval (for any recommendations with a cost attached to them). Once approved, you will receive a DSA2 entitlement letter.
The DSA2 letter confirms:
- Equipment that has been recommended and the supplier who will provide it
- Non-Medical Help (1:1 support) that has been recommended and the provider who will allocate the professionals who will work with you
You will be invited to contact the suppliers detailed on your DSA2 letter to arrange the support. If you are not comfortable doing this, contact Student Advice and we can assist. You must ensure you take action after receiving the DSA2 or you will not be able to use the equipment or access the support you are entitled to through DSA. Contact Student Advice if you are unsure.
Monitoring your support
Student Advice will contact you regularly throughout all the years of your course to ensure the support is meeting your needs effectively and you are satisfied with it.
We liaise with other relevant departments throughout the University (e.g. tutors, the Library, the Quality Office, Admissions and Accommodation) to ensure the support you receive is effective.
When you are nearing the end of your course here is some information you may find useful:
Information about help if you’re living with a health condition or disability can be found online here:
Money at the end of your course
Students who are not going straight into full-time paid work after their studies can claim Universal Credit from the day after the final day of their course. Applications can be done online and will usually be followed up with a telephone appointment.
From the date you apply for Universal Credit there will be a five week wait before your first payment, however you should be allowed to apply for an “advance payment” to cover this period. This advance will be repaid via a deduction from your ongoing award.
Council Tax Reduction, or any other eligible benefit that students are excluded from, such as Carers Allowance, can also be applied for from the day after the last day of the course.
Access to work
Students with a long term health condition or disability may be eligible for help to get or stay in work through the Access to Work Scheme. This may provide funding for assistive equipment or technology, support with mental health in the workplace or communication support. You can apply online or on the telephone, have a look at this link for more details:
Support with job hunting
BG Futures can provide help and information about next steps after finishing university, job hunting and advice around interview preparation.
Information about BGU Tuition Fees and Alumni discounts can be found at Tuition fees | Bishop Grosseteste University (bgu.ac.uk)