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DSA Needs Assessment: What to Expect

Welcome to our Frequently Asked Questions page.

What is a DSA Assessment?

A DSA needs assessment is an informal meeting of up to two hours with an experienced assessor who can then recommend support and equipment for students who are eligible for DSA (disabled students allowance).

Why do I need to have a DSA needs assessment?

Your Funding Body will ask you to have a DSAs assessment carried out so that your particular needs can be matched with those of your proposed course to ensure that you get the help that you will need. The DSAs assessment may identify the types of equipment and other support you will need, how much it will cost and where to get it from. It will also identify any training you might need to make best use of the equipment recommended and detail any special examination arrangements.

The cost of your DSAs assessment will be paid from your General Allowance and is charged at £600 (+VAT). If you need help with travel costs to the assessment, you should ask your Funding Body whether they can help as this can be paid from the General Allowance of the DSA.

You should not arrange for a DSAs assessment without first confirming with your Funding Body (SFE/NHS) that they agree for you to do so.

How soon can I have an assessment done?

Your assessment can be done once your Funding Body has confirmed you are eligible for the DSAs. An assessment can be arranged by calling/emailing Contact Associates or by registering through our portal.

It is possible to have your assessment prior to starting your course or even before having your University place confirmed.

Prior to attending your assessment, evidence of your eligibility and your disability or specific learning difficulty (from an appropriate specialist) will need to be provided to Contact Associates no later than two working days prior to the assessment to enable the Assessor time to prepare.

How can I arrange my assessment?

By calling/emailing Contact Associates or by registering through our portal.

You can get in touch with Contact Associates by email, telephone or online:


Telephone: 01823 273060


Having asked you for some information about your course and disability, we will agree a convenient date, time and location for your assessment.

Once booked, we will send you email confirmation of your assessment appointment, together with a map and directions on how to find us.

What evidence do you require?

  • Eligibility letter from your Funding Body (e.g. Student Finance England/NHS) confirming you are eligible for DSA, the disability(ies) your are eligible for and that your ‘next steps’ are to arrange for an assessment.
  • Evidence of your disability (a photocopy or photo is sufficient), for example, a letter from your Doctor or Consultant or an Educational Psychologist report.

What happens during the assessment?

The assessment is confidential and conducted in a relaxed, informal and supportive environment by assessors with specialist experience of your disability or specific learning difficulty. The assessment is not a test but the opportunity for you to openly discuss your learning needs within the context of your studies. You will have the opportunity to talk about your past experiences and any strategies you have developed to address your difficulties. Your assessor will consider any items of information and communication technology and/or ergonomic equipment you may need, together with support strategies including note-taking, study skills tuition (dyslexia), mentoring, etc.

How long does an assessment take?

We recommend that you allow up to 2 hours for your assessment but they are often completed sooner. There is no testing involved in this process.

Who pays for my assessment?

Contact Associates will charge a student’s funding body a single assessment fee of £600 (+VAT) which will cover the cost of all the work required for the duration of the course of study. If a Review of Needs assessment has been granted by your funding body, the single assessment fee will be £300 (+VAT).

These will include:

  • Considering additional medical evidence of a student’s need which has been approved by their funding body following the Needs Assessment.
  • All activities undertaken by the assessor to review the student’s DSA support for the duration of their undergraduate and postgraduate studies as and when required.
  • Liaising with funding bodies, equipment suppliers, HEIs and other stakeholders for the purpose of reviewing the student’s support needs.

Following an assessment, students who present medical evidence of any additional diagnoses which have been accepted by their funding body during the course will receive a response from Contact Associates, in accordance with the above points.

What do I need to bring with me to the assessment?

Examples of your work are often helpful, e.g. lecture notes, assignments, a course outline and a copy of your most recent timetable.

General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)

Your personal information, course information, disability information and medical evidence are all held on our secure in-house system.

This information will be kept for as long as we have a justifiable reason to keep it e.g. for a duration of your course, or for a maximum of 6 years.