University of York Students' Union (YUSU)

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The importance of Applying for DSA

Posted by Thomas Ron, 22/09/2014

Hello all,

Freshers is approaching, which means that hopefully our Network will be gaining many new members.  However, I feel that it is important that I create a blog detailing the importance of Disabled Students' Allowance and how crucial it is that elligible students apply for it.

Disabled Students' Allowance (or DSA for short) is a government provided fund for disabled students to gain an equal playing field at university.  It can come in the form of funding assistive technology or specialist software for students, or note takers and other academic support.  The University of York Disability Services often helps students apply for it.

Many students feel that there is a stigma associated with applying for DSA, and feel that they are getting a free ride.  This is not helped by views given by some students and staff that DSA is giving students 'advantages'.  They often feel that it is an unfair benefit and that students who are getting it are 'taking advantage' or 'gaming the system' in order to get a better grade.  This is categorically FALSE, and is a very dangerous view.

DSA for many students often means the difference between getting a decent grade and not doing so and often allows students to perform at their full potential.  It prevents disabled students from having to put themselves at a disadvantage in order to complete their degree.  It is not 'gaming the system' for a dyslexic student to have help with note taking, it is a necessity.  For many students extra time is not a 'cheat' but something that is needed to show their true potential, which is what university is there to do.

Naturally many students are aware of what they need, and this blog is not necessary, as they know that DSA is important.  However, to any students who are elligible for DSA and are feeling apprehensive about applying for it, I would unequivocally advocate going for it, as to miss out on it may mean that students are not reaching their potential, and would force them to be in a system stacked against them.  Go for DSA, and remember that it is not the place of ANY student to question why a student is getting something that they need.