Today, Greg Clark MP, the universities and science minister, made a written ministerial statement on DSAs [PDF] stating that changes will now be suspended until 2016-17. Clark states:
During the Summer I and the Minister of State for Disabled People have listened
carefully to suggestions from representatives of disabled students. I have also
listened to the views and concerns of representatives across the higher education
and disability sectors, as well as receiving representations from Honourable
Following significant lobbying and advocacy by and for disabled students and their institutions, Clark indicates that changes to DSAs are to be suspended to give time for Universities to make the necessary adjustments.
This provides sufficient
time for us to work with institutions and stakeholders to ensure the changes are
introduced effectively. All changes are subject to the ongoing Equality Analysis.
However, despite this pledge to delay cuts, the Times Higher Education reports that Clark has indicated there are caveats, specifically relating to support for laptops and computers for the year 2015-16.
Mr Clark says that for 2015-16 the government will continue to provide DSA “to help with the additional cost of a computer and assistive software if needed solely because of the student’s impairment”, but students will have to pay the first £200 themselves.
DSAs Observatory is pursuing the full BIS Press Release. Further news and coverage to follow.
UPDATE [Monday 15th September]: BIS have stated that there was no Press Release issued with the Ministerial Written Statement on DSAs.