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Additional Learning Support

Higher Education Computing students Bedford College

Support provided by Bedford College directly for those students with an identified Learning Difficulty and/or Disability

Additional Learning Support for those students studying their Higher Education through The Bedford College Group is provided through Disabled Students Allowance (DSA) which is administered through Student Finance England.

If you require support when completing a Higher Education course you will need to apply directly to Disabled Student Allowance (DSA) before the start of your course to ensure you have this in place for when you start. For information regarding how to apply please see below or contact the Additional Support Department (details at the bottom of this document) directly who will be able to provide support and if needed a list of specialist assessors. Additionally, advice can be given in completing the application form if required.

Once we have received your DSA report the Additional Support department will contact you directly for an appointment to create an individual support plan. This plan will be shared with the appropriate tutors to enable them to support you in your studies.

Should reports include face to face interactions with externally assigned staff through DSA the ALS team will liaise with you and them to arrange for this to happen in a safe manner.

Disabled Students’ Allowance

What is Disabled Students’ Allowance (DSA)?

Disabled Students’ Allowance helps pay for extra costs a student might have as a direct result of their disability, including a long-term health condition, mental-health condition or specific learning difficulty such as dyslexia or dyspraxia. They must meet the definition of a disability under the Equality Act 2010.

DSA does not usually have to be paid back, unless the student leaves their course early.
The student may have to attend an appointment at a study needs assessment centre to talk to a specialist about what type of support would help them.

Am I Eligible for Disabled Students’ Allowance?

You can apply for Disabled Students’ Allowance if you live in England and have a disability that affects your ability to study, such as a:

  • Specific learning difficulty, for example dyslexia or ADHD
  • Mental health condition, for example anxiety or depression
  • Physical disability, for example if you have to use crutches, a wheelchair or a special keyboard
  • Sensory disability, for example if you’re visually impaired, deaf or have a hearing impairment
  • Long-term health condition, for example cancer, chronic heart disease or HIV

You must also:

  • Be an undergraduate or postgraduate student (including Open University or distance learning)
  • Qualify for student finance from Student Finance England
  • Be studying on a course that lasts at least a year
How Do I Apply for Disabled Students’ Allowance?

If you are already applying for a tuition fee loan or maintenance loan from Student Finance England, then you can apply for DSA as part of this application here: Student Finance England Application.
If you are not applying for a loan from Student Finance England, you will need to complete a DSA1 Form which can be accessed here: DSA1 Form.

DSA Applications can take up to 14 weeks to process, so make sure to apply well in advance of your course starting as your support may not be in place ready for when you begin your studies.

Diagnostic Assessments and Evidence of Disability

As part of your application you will be asked to submit evidence of your disability, condition or learning difficulty:

  • Disability or long-term health condition: A copy of a report or letter from your doctor or consultant  Student Finance England can also accept a disability evidence form.
  • Mental health condition: A copy of a report or letter from your doctor or consultant — Student Finance England can also accept a disability evidence form.
  • Specific learning difficulty: A copy of a ‘diagnostic assessment’ from a practitioner, psychologist, or suitably qualified specialist teacher.

If you have a specific learning difficulty but do not yet have a diagnostic assessment, you will need to book one with an external assessor and pay for this yourself. Our Additional Learning Support (ALS) Team can recommend assessors, or you can use this tool here: Assessor Index.

If you are a current Level 3 student who faces financial hardship, you might be able to apply for funding to pay for your diagnostic assessment. Just contact one of our Student Services teams at Bedford ( or Tresham (

Useful Links & Resources

Student Finance England oversee the application and approval process for Disabled Students’ Allowance, and have provided information on applying here: Student Finance England – DSA Information.

Diversity and Ability (D&A) is an award-winning, disabled-led social enterprise which supports individuals, organisations and social justice projects to create inclusive cultures. They have lots of useful information about applying for DSA, including a step-by-step guide, videos and explanations of key terms. You can access their resources here: D&A – Find Your Way Through DSA.

Here are some example documents you might find useful:

  • Once your application have been approved, you will receive an email from Student Finance England confirming you are eligible for the DSA – here is an example of the DSA1 Confirmation Letter: DSA1 – Confirmation Letter
  • Once you have had your needs assessment and your needs assessment report has been reviewed, you will receive an email from Student Finance England confirming what support they have agreed to fund – here is an example of the DSA2 Letter of Entitlement: DSA2 – Letter of Entitlement 
Contact details

How to contact the Bedford College Group Additional Support Team:


Phone: 01234 291905

If you are studying on one of our University of Bedfordshire foundation degrees or Top Up courses, the university may be able offer additional support. To contact them, email

If you are studying on one of our University of Northampton Top Up courses, the university may be able offer additional support for dyslexia. To contact them, email