Disability support in higher education

Universities and colleges are increasingly aware of the needs of students with a disability and students with a learning difficulty. They can provide support in a number of ways and you may be able to get extra financial help.

Support for students with disabilities

Universities and higher education colleges must make provision for students with disabilities. 

Support provided by colleges and universities can include:

  • accommodation adapted for the needs of students with disabilities
  • professional care staff
  • help from volunteers

Each university or college should publish a 'disability statement' setting out how it provides support. You can ask to see a copy of this statement, as well as looking on its website to see details of its policies.

Disability advisors and learning support coordinators

Every university or college has a disability advisor or learning support coordinator to help you get the most out of your time in higher education. They can tell you about the support available, for example, equipment to help you study.

You may find it useful to contact your university or college's disability adviser or disability coordinator before you make a final decision about where to study. It's also a good idea to go and check the institution out for yourself.

When applying to a university, you don't have to tell them about your disability but you will need to do so to get additional support or funding.

Help while you're studying

There are many things universities can do to help students with disabilities, including:

  • providing course materials in Braille and other accessible formats
  • making sure buildings and facilities are accessible
  • encouraging flexible teaching methods
  • providing support during exams
  • allowing additional time to complete courses

You may also need help on a day-to-day basis to help you study. This could be someone to:

  • interpret words into sign language
  • take notes for you
  • write down your words, for example, in an exam
  • help you overcome physical barriers

It's worth contacting your disability advisor or disability co-ordinator soon after you arrive at university or college so you can find out about the support available.

If you're currently in further education, you can get advice and guidance from your teacher or college about the courses, colleges or universities you are interested in.

Video - going to university with a disability 

Having a disability doesn't need to be a barrier if you want to go to university. The video below shows how one student with disabilities got the support she needed.

Disabled Students' Allowances and other financial help

Disabled Students' Allowances provide extra financial help if you have an impairment, health condition (including mental health conditions) or a specific learning difficulty like dyslexia. 

If you qualify for Disabled Students’ Allowances, they’re paid on top of any standard student support you get. They're not means-tested and you don’t have to pay them back.

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