Frequently Asked Questions
General questions Accordion Accordion
What is a disability?
The Equality Act (2010) defines a disability as a physical or mental impairment that has a substantial and long-term effect on your ability to carry out normal daily activities. As a student, normal daily activities would include studying. Substantial is intended to mean more than minor or trivial (for example it takes much longer than it usually would to complete a daily task). Long-term means it has lasted or is likely to last at least 12 months or it is an ongoing, life-long condition. Disabilities include a wide range of conditions from physical and sensory impairments, Specific Learning Difficulties (like dyslexia), mental health conditions (like anxiety and depression), autism spectrum disorders and long-term health conditions like diabetes, epilepsy, asthma etc.
What do I need to do as an applicant with a disability or a long-term health condition?
All students who declare a condition on their UCAS form will be contacted by the Disability and Inclusive Practice Service. This happens well before the start of the new academic year. We will email you, explaining more about the support process and ask you to complete a Disability Service Registration Form via an online link. We will also request formal medical evidence at this point. These documents will help the Disability and Inclusive Practice Service to understand your condition, your study needs, and it will help us to start to put support in place ready for your arrival later in the year. If you wait until your arrival before telling us about your support needs, this may mean starting the academic year without all of your adjustments in place.
How will my application be treated if I declare a disability?
Lancaster University welcomes applications from disabled students and your application will be considered in the same way as a non-disabled student. We ask you about any disabilities, health or medical conditions before arrival so that we can make any necessary arrangements for adjustments before you arrive and in order to give you relevant advise about your studies.
What is the process for putting in place reasonable adjustments for disabled students at Lancaster?
All students who notify the Disability and Inclusive Practice Service of their disability or medical condition and provide formal evidence will be offered an Inclusive Learning and Support Plan (ILSP). This document informs the relevant staff at the university about the characteristics of a student’s condition and the reasonable adjustments required to support their studies in areas such as teaching, assessment and accessibility. Students who have declared their disability prior to arrival will be sent their ILSP before the start of the academic year. Students are asked to check if they are happy with the content and recommendations and approve the document via the Student Portal so it can be shared with the relevant staff to enable support to be implemented. The Disability and Inclusive Practice Service may recommend that some students have a Lancaster Support Review (LSR) to inform their ILSP. An LSR involves a discussion with a specialist assessor from the Lancaster University Assessment Centre who will discuss with the student their study requirements and make recommendations for support. These recommendations will then be considered when the Inclusive Learning and Support Plan (ILSP) is created.
What funding is available to support me if my studies are affected by my disability?
The University will implement and pay for reasonable adjustments for disabled students to support their studies. The exact nature of these adjustments depend on the individual’s circumstances. For some types of support UK students can apply for a government fund called Disabled Students Allowance (DSA). This is not means tested and does not need to be repaid. If you are a postgraduate student funded by a Research Council UK, your DSA application will be made via the Lancaster Disability and Inclusive Practice Service. The type of support provided by DSA depends on the nature of an individual’s disability, their course of study and the funding body. DSA may help with the cost of:
- Specialist equipment (e.g. computer hardware and software)
- One-to-one support (e.g. study skills support from a study skills specialist)
- Extra travel costs which are incurred because you have a disability
DSA does not cover non-academic disability-related costs (e.g. personal assistants/carers) or costs that any student might have, such as core textbooks.
Transitioning between school and university
Is school different to university?
The National Association of Disability Practitioners (NADP) have produced a really useful document that outlines how the support received at University can be very different from school. This document explains some of the key differences which includes:
- Key terminology and language and where and why this differs at university
- Key changes to involvement of parents, carers, guardians and others
- The different types of support available at university
- Information on why adjustments do not automatically transfer from school to university
- Explanation about why previous documents might not be accepted as suitable evidence to support adjustments
I have had adjustments in place at school will these transfer across to university?
At school you don’t always need a diagnosis to access support. At university you will need to have an official diagnosis of a disability to be eligible to access support and adjustments. This sometimes means that students that are used to receiving specific adjustments in school, for example extra time or PCs in exam will no longer be able to have these in place when studying at university.
Can my parents still be involved in arranging my support?
As an adult you are expected to be responsible for initiating and completing any support process which will include filling out forms, contacting key services and arranging for any suppliers support to be set-up. This can be a very difficult transition for some students, particularly those who have received a lot of support previously from teachers, SENCos and parents.
Will my Education and Health Care Plan (EHCP) still be relevant at university?
When a student enters Higher Education they will no longer receive support through their EHCP Plan. Where health and social care support is still required students will remain entitled to this support and local authorities should plan how this will be maintained and which authority will provide it. UK students in higher education may be able to receive support through the Disabled Students Allowances (DSA). However, DSA only covers support in relation to academic studies (study-related support). It does not provide funding for personal assistance or personal care. Personal assistance or personal care is the practical help and support needed for daily life. Students should speak with their Social Services contact about any personal care arrangements prior to coming to University to ensure they have a support package in place. As putting arrangements in place can sometimes take several weeks, students are advised to contact Social Services well before the start of term. The Disability and Inclusive Practice Service are happy to provide any information that Social Services require and will liaise with them directly if needed with regard to University support.
Why does the university not accept JCQ Form 8 as suitable evidence to support reasonable adjustments?
At school or college, you may have been assessed for access arrangements and given a JCQ Access Arrangement (Form 8). While this form provides useful information, it does not contain formal diagnostic information and therefore cannot be considered to be evidence of a disability for accessing ongoing support in Higher Education. You will need to provide further diagnostic evidence such as a medical letter from a GP or a full educational psychologist’s diagnostic assessment report (for Specific Learning Difficulties). All medical evidence and diagnostic reports must be in English. All evidence written in another language must be translated by a qualified transcription service and formally authenticated as such.
Will you be able to help arrange my personal care requirements?
If a student requires personal care, they must arrange this themselves before arriving at Lancaster University. If they are a UK student, they may be able to arrange this through Social Services. If the student has ongoing therapeutic support, they will need to transfer this to the local area through their provider. Individuals will need to ensure they allow adequate time for this to be arranged before their arrival as the university cannot support with making personal care arrangements.
Can you provide daily or weekly check-ins?
We are unable to provide daily or weekly checks on students to ensure they are getting to lectures, managing their workloads, or undertaking day-to-day life tasks, e.g. shopping and laundry. Many of our students find the transition to managing independently incredibly challenging. If they are used to having friends or family members who support them with managing their condition, they will need to think about how this will change when they come to university. For example, students will need to make their own doctor’s appointments, contact the Disability and Inclusive Practice Service if they need support with adjustments, and manage their personal care, including taking and ordering medications. Students can register with the on-campus health centre before they arrive. Students will need to actively engage with the Disability and Inclusive Practice Service about academic-related support through reasonable adjustments, in particular if their needs or circumstances change.
Inclusive Learning and Support Plans (ILSPs)
What is an ILSP?
An ILSP is your support plan which provides a summary of your individual circumstances and the reasonable adjustments you need for your studies. Your ILSP will be created as soon as possible following receipt of the documents and information provided when you register with the Disability and Inclusive Practice Service.
I still need to approve my ILSP – how do I do this?
Once your ILSP has been created, you will be notified by email to view your ILSP on your Student Portal. You need to check, approve and confirm you want to share your ILSP content. Sharing your ILSP means that the relevant University staff can access the information in order to put your adjustments in place.
When you confirm and share your ILSP, your academic department(s) will be notified and asked to view your ILSP. They can understand your individual circumstances and put in place any relevant adjustments.
How do I attach a coversheet to my assignment
Where coursework is submitted via Moodle the coversheet guidance is automatically generated and attached. Coversheet guidance for non-Moodle submissions should be handled by the course coordinator.
I have ADHD am I eligible for a coversheet?
ISLP Assessment Coversheet Guidance is a reasonable adjustment for some disabled students who have specific types of impairments. This includes some types of Specific Learning Difficulty (SpLD), visual impairments and hearing impairments because the nature of their disability either:
- Results in difficulties with aspects of reading, writing and oracy which are inconsistent with their general intellect.
- Limits their ability to present work in a particular format
Students with ADHD do not receive a coversheet because their difficulties generally relate to retaining attention rather than aspects of reading, writing and oracy.
I am unable to get an ADHD diagnosis what support can I get?
Because of the complications and risks of putting in adjustments where we don’t yet have full diagnostic evidence we are offering support to students waiting for a formal diagnosis through a staff facilitated ‘ADHD Community’ for students with and without a formal diagnosis of AD(H)D. This group will:
- Offer a safe space for students to talk about their challenge
- Share useful resources for challenges relating to AD(H)D
- Provide an opportunity for students to share strategies that have worked for them in managing their work etc.
I have/or am waiting for a long COVID diagnosis what support is available?
If a student has a diagnosis of long COVID, the Disability and Inclusive Practice Service can provide support as they would with any other condition. However, medical evidence is required, which clearly states that the diagnosis is long term (e.g. expected to last at least 12 months or more) and outlines the impact that the condition has on their everyday activities. For students who are awaiting a diagnosis of long COVID (or any other condition), they should speak to their department who may be able to put temporary adjustments in place as they would with any other short-term health conditions or injuries.
What exam arrangements are available at Lancaster and how do I get in them in place?
The Disability and Inclusive Practice Service can advise reasonable exam adjustments whilst you are studying at Lancaster. The Disability and Inclusive Practice Service will need formal evidence of your condition to ensure the correct support is in place for you. You can email your evidence to email@example.com
There are several adjustments, which can be made to your exams arrangements, such as sitting the exam in a smaller venue, the use of a PC and many more. To discuss having some alternative exam arrangements, please book an appointment with one of the Disability Advisors.
What if i don't agree with the content of my ILSP?
All students are asked to check, approve and confirm if they want to share their ILSP content. Sharing your ILSP means that the relevant University staff can access the information in order to put your adjustments in place. If you have question or concerns about the content of your ILSP, or if your circumstances change then please contact the Disability and Inclusive Practice Service to discuss this in more detail. Please be aware that until permission is given to share your ILSP with the relevant department you will not have adjustments in place to support your studies.
I am struggling to get hold of medical evidence are you able to put adjustments in place in while I wait?
While students await an assessment the Disability and Inclusive Practice Service cannot make any formal disability-related arrangements for academic-related support. The assessment and diagnosis of a disability is required as these details will inform the nature of any subsequent adjustments. Alternatively the outcome of the assessment may mean that no disability is diagnosed and therefore no disability-related adjustments can be made. To ensure parity for all students and prevent any unfair academic advantage, academic-related support adjustments cannot be made by the Disability Service until formal diagnostic evidence is received.
- I have a new condition can my ILSP be updated?
Can changes be made to my timetable?
It is not always possible for timetabling changes to be made, however, please contact the Disability and Inclusive Practice Service if your condition affects your timetabled sessions and the team can contact the department to see if the timetable can be altered or if there are any reasonable adjustments which can be made.
Disabled Students Allowances (DSA)
Disabled Student Allowances (DSA) Accordion Accordion
With DSA can I continually submit evidence or does it have to be all at once?
Yes, you are able to continually submit evidence to DSA.
Is it possible to have a higher specification laptop than the one stated on my DSA entitlement letter?
Yes, it is possible to upgrade your DSA laptop. However, you will need to pay the additional cost. Your DSA entitlement letter will provide details of your approved hardware and software suppliers. You will then need to:
- Contact your supplier with your quote number (found on your DSA entitlement letter) and advise them of the equipment you wish to upgrade. They will come back to you with the additional costs.
- If you are happy with the price they have quoted then you will need to pay them directly for the additional cost that upgrading your equipment has incurred. Your funding body will only cover the amount they agreed on your DSA entitlement letter.
- You will receive your upgraded equipment with the rest of your DSA funded software and hardware and your upgraded equipment will be covered under the warranty and insurance provided with the rest of your equipment.
Please note if you are funded by one of the following funding bodies the process may differ:
Do I get paid DSA funds directly?
Rather than receiving extra funds directly, like a maintenance loan for example, each disabled student is afforded an ‘allowance’ which dictates the amount/level of support (eg the types of specialist equipment of number of study skills hours) which can be awarded under different categories of support. Your allowance depends entirely on your individual needs and whether you are a full-time/part-time student. It is not based on your household income, and unlike your maintenance loan, DSA does not need to be repaid. You will not receive DSA funding for you to spend on specific types of support; the suppliers of your support will invoice your funding body directly as you use the support that has been awarded.
Please note if you are funded by one of the following funding bodies the process may differ:
How are note takers chosen and employed?
Human note-takers are normally only provided for students in exceptional circumstances. Where a human note-taker is recommended Lancaster University does not employ its own note-takers; they are recruited and employed by an external support agency. They are usually funded from the Disabled Students Allowance or by the University following a Lancaster Support Review. If you experience any issues with your note taker or the notes provided to you, please either speak to the support agency directly or get in touch with the Disability and Inclusive Practice Service and we will look into this for you. Please be aware that it may not always be possible to have a note-taker who has knowledge of your specific subject area.
A number of departments record their lectures and make these available to students online. Please check with your department for more information about lecture recording availability.
I have been recommended a specialist mentor or a study skills tutor. How does this get arranged?
Once the DSA team have agreed what support they will fund, they will email you a copy of your DSA Award Letter (DSA2). The Non-Medical Help (NMH) support will appear in your DSA award letter on page 2 or 3.
Please note this process may differ if you are funded by one of the following funding bodies:
- Student Finance Wales (SFW)
- Student Awards Agency Scotland (SAAS)
- Student Finance Northern Ireland (SFni)
- Channel Isles and Isle of Man (which covers States of Jersey, States of Guernsey and the Isle of Man)
If you have given consent for the DSA team to share information with the University, they will also email us a copy of your DSA Award Letter. The University have a data sharing agreement with two NMH suppliers: Randstad and Clear Links. If the DSA team choose them as your suppliers, then we will automatically send them your details – they will then contact you directly to arrange your support.
If another supplier is chosen, then you will need to email that supplier (using the contact details on the letter) and attach a copy of your DSA award letter – they will then be able to set up that support. Please note that if you have not given consent for the DSA team to share information with the University, we shall not be able to arrange support with Randstad or Clear Links – you will need to arrange that support with them directly.
Please note you will also need to contact any Specialist Equipment and Assistive Technology Training suppliers directly.
If you find this process difficult, please email us if you would like assistance.
Can international students get DSA funding?
Most international students are not eligible for DSA. Some international students may be able to access Disabled Students Allowance (DSA). If you can access maintenance support from Student Finance England (SFE) and have a disability you should be able to access DSA. You can read more about eligibility criteria on the DSA webpages.
If you are not eligible for DSA, we may invite you for a Lancaster Support Review (LSR). The LSR will make recommendations about additional support which could help you with your studies. You can read more about LSRs on our webpages.
If you are not sure about your eligibility please contact the DSA helpline on 0330 995 0414
Are Postgraduate students eligible for DSA?
Some postgraduate students may be able to access Disabled Students Allowance (DSA) funding. If you are a UK national (or have settled status) and have a disability you should be able to access DSA.
UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) funded students are not eligible for DSA funding through Student Finance England (SFE). The DSA funding body is the Research Council who devolve DSA responsibility to the University. Please ensure you let the Disability Service know that you are UKRI funded to ensure you receive appropriate and timely advice and support.
You can read more about eligibility criteria on the DSA webpages.
If you are not eligible for DSA, we may invite you for a Lancaster Support Review (LSR). The LSR will make recommendations about additional support which could help you with your studies. You can read more about LSRs on our LSR webpages.
If you are not sure about your eligibility, please contact the DSA helpline on 0330 995 0414.
Support Review (SR)
What is an LSR?
Once you have declared your disability and registered with the Disability and Inclusive Practice Service, your information will be reviewed to inform the creation of your ILSP. In reviewing the information you have provided, we may invite you to undertake a Support Review (SR). The purpose of an SR is to have a more in-depth discussion about your specific support needs and will consider your circumstances and make recommendations about support which could help you with your studies.
The SR usually takes around 30 minutes and will involve you having a discussion as well as possibly trying out various pieces of software and equipment. You will not have to do any tests, and you will not be asked to prove that you require support. The appointment can be in-person on campus, or remotely via MS Teams or telephone.
Following your SR you will receive a report which will outline recommendations about the support and adjustments that may be beneficial for your studies. If you already have an ILSP before you undertake your SR, your ILSP will be reviewed and updated.
Why have I been referred for an SR?
You may be invited to have an SR if we think that further information would be helpful in determining what adjustments and support you need for your studies. If we invite you to book an appointment for an SR and you do not think you have any unmet needs, you do not need to book an appointment.
If we have not invited you to have an SR but you feel you would benefit from one please contact the Disability and Inclusive Practice Service.
I’ve already had a DSA assessment, why have I also been referred for an SR?
An SR is different to a DSA assessment. A DSA assessment considers types of support which are eligible for DSA funding. This is funding from outside the University usually from the body that provides your student loan or that pays your tuition fees. The SR will look at those aspects of your needs that the University can provide support and adjustments to meet.
Accommodation and Parking
How do I apply for an Accessible Parking Permit?
We would be able to consider recommending an Accessible Parking Permit, but in order to be eligible for this (and any other reasonable adjustments) we would request that you provide us with medical documentation regarding your condition. Ideally, this will confirm your diagnosis and outline how this affects you on a day-to-day basis. More information on accessible parking spaces can be found on the Parking webpage.
Why do I have to pay for my Accessible Parking Permit?
With the exception of Blue Badge holders, all students requesting a parking permit for campus are required to pay £142. The reasonable adjustment being made for eligible disabled students is the provision of an Accessible Parking Permit which allows parking in one of over 110 dedicated spaces in prime locations across campus.
How do I apply for accommodation?
If you are an applicant, please see the Accommodation webpages for information about what is available, and how to apply.
If you are a continuing student, your College Accommodation Manager will contact you when applications for on-campus accommodation open. The deadline for continuing students to apply to stay on campus is usually early January but please check with your College Accommodation Manager if you have questions or are unsure.
Do you provide financial contributions towards accommodation costs?
Undergraduate disabled students may be eligible for a small cost contribution towards accommodation costs where they meet the following criteria:
- Identified as being in financial hardship (e.g. in receipt of a Lancaster Bursary)
- Have provided the University with relevant evidence to support the need for a specific room type
- Are living in University owned accommodation
Postgraduate disabled students may be eligible for a small cost contribution towards accommodation costs where they meet the following criteria:
- Have provided the University with relevant evidence to support the need for a specific room type
- Are living in University owned accommodation
Please note in the following circumstances a cost contribution may need to be re-assessed:
- The student opts for a different room type to the one that the cost contribution has been considered against
- The student moves back into University managed accommodation
I had priority in regards to accommodation in first year can this continue in future years?
Yes, if you have sufficient evidence you may be able to be prioritised for on campus accommodation throughout your studies. Please contact the Disability and Inclusive Practice Service as soon as possible if you hope to stay on campus beyond for first year. You will still need to apply each year to live on campus, in line with the accommodation applications process but the Accommodation Team will be aware of your priority status.