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Students: Disability

Question for Department for Education

UIN HL14297, tabled on 16 March 2021

To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to increase the number of disabled people undertaking higher education courses.

Answered on

25 March 2021

Her Majesty's Government is committed to ensuring that all students with disabilities receive the support they need to enable them to study alongside their fellow students on an equal basis.

It is more important than ever that we tap into the brilliant talent that our country has to offer, and make sure that university places are available to all who are qualified by their academic ability and attainment to pursue them if they wish to do so.

Higher education providers wishing to charge higher levels fees (£9,250) must have an access and participation plan agreed by the Office for Students (OfS).

These plans set out how they will support students from disadvantaged backgrounds and under-represented groups – including students with disabilities – to access, to participate and succeed in higher education, and to progress from it. This includes setting targets where the provider identifies the inequalities that it intends to address.

The OfS has set itself and the sector a number of long-term target measures to reduce inequalities, including eliminating the gap in degree outcomes between students with and without disabilities.

The government expects all higher education providers to fulfil their responsibilities under the Equality Act 2010 to be making reasonable adjustments for all higher education students with disabilities.

Wherever possible, students with disabilities should expect to have their needs met through inclusive learning practices, and to have individual reasonable adjustments made by their higher education provider.

Disabled Students’ Allowance (DSA) is available to help students with the additional costs they may face because of their disability. It is not means-tested and does not have to be repaid. From the academic year 2021/22, eligible students will be able to access up to £25,000 a year in DSA support, with DSA-funded travel costs uncapped.