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Meg Munn MP - Sheffield Heeley's voice in Parliament | Welcome
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Proposed Cuts to Disabled Student’s Allowance

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

The government have recently proposed that a number of changes be made to the Disabled Students Allowance (DSA) fund which gives grants to students with disabilities to help them meet extra study costs incurred because of their disability. There is clear evidence that this has been a highly successful investment in both encouraging students to apply to university and, once there, has given them the support they need to remain. It has ensured that disabled students are able to succeed equally with non-disabled students, and improves their employability.

Widening access for disabled students has been a hard-won battle, and across the country there are greater numbers of disabled students than ever before, and one of the reasons for this is the vital support that DSA provides. The proposed cuts are extremely worrying, with the potential to undo the progress that has been made.

If the changes are made it will be individual universities who will become responsible for providing the support that disabled students need. This may mean some institutions being forced to take on fewer numbers of disabled students. Equal access should be a fundamental right, yet the government is taking regressive steps that will exclude the poorest and most vulnerable from higher education.

If funding is not available to help disabled students with the extra costs they incur they are likely to be deterred from entering higher education. According to the National Union of Students, as many as 55% of students with disabilities have seriously considered giving up their courses, many precisely because of financial concerns

Meg said:

“I urge the government to reconsider their proposals for the Disabled Students Allowance. They need to prioritise equal access for all, their current plans will limit the participation of students with disabilities.”

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