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Guidance Notes for DSA Roadmap to Student Wellbeing

Stage 1 UCAS

  • Early disclosure is vital. It gives us the best opportunity to get your support in place for the start of the academic year. This does not affect your application to University.
  • If you are aware of someone who has applied to Ulster University but hasn't ticked the box, please get them to contact Student Wellbeing directly.

Stage 2 Medical Evidence

  • You must enclose an up-to-date written medical statement from a doctor or specialist confirming the nature of your disability or mental health condition.
  • The medical evidence required for Specific Learning Difficulties such as Dyslexia or Dyscalculia is an assessment report from an Educational Psychologist conducted at any time before or after your 16th birthday.
  • Contact Student Wellbeing for guidance if you are unsure of what constitutes appropriate medical evidence.

Stage 3 DSA Application

  • The DSA application forms will be available to download from Student Finance NI from March.
  • The website contains all the information you need to determine eligibility when applying for DSA, but if you need any additional guidance or assistance when completing the forms contact Student Wellbeing.
  • When you submit this application with your medical evidence to your local Education Authority (EA) the turnaround time for processing is approximately 4-6 weeks.


  • If your home address is in the Republic of Ireland you are not eligible for DSA and should contact Student Wellbeing directly for more information.
  • If you are applying for a healthcare course where a bursary is provided you will also follow a different process and should contact Student Wellbeing directly.

Stage 4 Eligibility

  • At this point your local Education Authority may request more evidence or supporting documentation for your application.
  • If you are eligible for DSA your local Education Authority will send you a letter to confirm this, known as a DSA1. Student Wellbeing will also receive a copy of the letter which allows us to progress applicants for a needs assessment.
  • If you are not eligible for DSA or do not receive a DSA1 letter you can contact Student Wellbeing for advice.

Stage 5 Meet the Team

  • In order for us to help you achieve your academic and personal goals we need to get to know you, so our AccessAbility team will contact you to arrange an appointment to come in to discuss your support needs. Please bring a copy of your medical evidence to this meeting.
  • At this meeting, you will discuss any support you may need which the University can implement internally, this may include adjustments to study materials, support during exams, access to resources, familiarisation with the campus etc.

Stage 6 Needs Assessment

  • In order for the ELB to understand and estimate the cost of your individual requirements we arrange for you to have a Needs Assessment with us.
  • This will involve looking at how your condition impacts on your ability to study, as well as other requirements such as accommodation alterations, classroom facilities, non-medical help and assistive technology etc.
  • Your Needs Assessment Report will be submitted to your ELB so they can consider the recommendations and determine the cost of your support package. The turnaround time for processing can take 4-6 weeks at certain times of the year.

Stage 7 Funding Confirmation

  • You will receive a letter from the Education Authority that confirms funding allocation for your support known as a DSA2. This will detail the type of support, the number of hours of support, the number of hours of support and the equipment to be purchased (if recommended).
  • Student Wellbeing will also receive a copy of this letter.

Stage 8 Arranging Support

  • Once your place at Ulster University is confirmed, Student Wellbeing will organise the support that has been approved for you. We will communicate with the appropriate Schools and Departments within the University to organise your reasonable adjustments.
  • The Register of Support Providers will match you with a Support Provider who specialises in the non-medical help that has been recommended for you, such as: 
    • Campus assistant
    • Dyslexia coach
    • ASD mentor

Stage 9 Welcome to Ulster University

  • We want you to have the support you require from the first day of your first term at Ulster University, but there are steps that we need you to take to progress. That is why we encourage you to start this process as early as possible and contact Student Wellbeing if you need any advice along the way.