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What is a needs assessment?

A needs assessment is an essential part of your application for disability related funding through the Disabled Students' Allowance or equivalent (for Republic of Ireland and international students) and the cost of the assessment will be charged directly to your funding body. Your funding body can only determine eligibility for funded reasonable adjustments, such as non-medical help and equipment, based on the recommendations in your needs assessment report.

A needs assessment is an informal meeting between a student and a needs assessor, which will last approximately one to two hours. The assessment is not a test of your academic ability but an evaluation of the support you need to adapt to higher education and university life.

The needs assessor will be experienced in recommending support and equipment for students applying for disability related funding. During the assessment, they will discuss and demonstrate the different support options that will address any difficulties you may experience when studying, due to the impact of your disability or long-term medical condition.

Depending on your individual needs, the assessor may make recommendations such as:

  • Assistive technology equipment or software
  • Non-medical help from a support provider
  • Costs for additional consumables such as photocopying, ink and paper
  • Assistance towards additional travel costs to and from the university because of the impact of your disability, i.e. funding towards the cost of a taxi where someone is unable to access public transport

They will produce a report, which will make recommendations to your funding body on the type of funded support you require. We will submit this report to your funding body, who will then notify you of what support has been approved.

Find out next on how to arrange a needs assessment.