House of Lords : Outstanding DSAs Questions receive Written Answer

On the 4th June, Lord Addington (a Lib Dem peer, who is Vice President of the British Dyslexia Association) made four detailed questions on Disabled Students’ Allowances to BIS (the Government department responsible for setting DSAs in England). Yesterday (18th June 2014) the Government supplied the following Written Answers. 

Disabled Students’ Allowances Questions

Asked by Lord Addington:

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what progress has been made on defining complex needs for the Disabled Students’ Allowance.[HL42]

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what definition of severity for those with dyslexia or specific learning difficulties will be used to justify continued support under the Disabled Students’ Allowance.[HL43]

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon (Con): Extensive discussions are underway with a wide range of stakeholders to help inform the Disabled Students’ Allowances (DSA) Guidance for 2015/16, due this autumn. The guidance will set out the conditions under which DSA will apply. Students will continue to undergo individual study needs assessments, but their needs will be met by DSA and Higher Education Institutions through their duties under the Equality Act.

Asked by Lord Addington:

To ask Her Majesty’s Government how personal histories of recognised special educational needs will be taken into account when making assessments of eligibility for the Disabled Students’ Allowance. [HL44]

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what process they will put in place in order to gather information regarding the assessment of eligibility for the Disabled Students’ Allowance.[HL45]

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon: There are no proposed changes to the current process of assessment. All applicants for the Disabled Students’ Allowances (DSAs) will undertake a study needs assessment and independent study needs assessors will provide recommendations, giving due regard to personal histories of recognised special educational needs, where these have been provided. The support and strategies recommended by assessment centres will be provided by a combination of reasonable adjustments by Higher Education Institutions and DSAs.

Asked by Lord Addington:

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what percentage of cost is normally allowed for computers and software in one individual allocation of the Disabled Students’ Allowance.[HL46]

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon: Computers and software are drawn from the Disabled Students’ Allowance (DSA) specialist equipment allowance where a student has been assessed to receive these items. Other items that can be drawn from this allowance include certain items of specialist ergonomic equipment. For the 2013/14 academic year, the maximum amount available to a student from this allowance for the whole course is £5,212 for full time and part time students. There is one single DSA allowance of £10,362 for postgraduate students, from which computers and software can be drawn.

Reference:

HL Deb 18 June 2014 c WA60-61. Available from: http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/ld201415/ldhansrd/text/140618w0001.htm#14061886001184

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