Students sat on grass on campus

Study Needs Assessment

Tab Content: What is it?

The purpose of the Study Needs Assessment is to identify study aids and strategies required to provide equal access to the curriculum, within the context of a chosen course of study.

The Centre undertakes Study Needs Assessments for any student who has applied for Disabled Students’ Allowances (DSA). You do not need to be a student at Lancaster University to have your assessment here.

If you undertake your assessment with us, you can expect:

  • an assessment based upon your individual requirements by a skilled and experienced assessor who understands the demands of higher education
  • a wide range of assistive technology available for you to see and try during the assessment
  • guidance with any stage of the DSA and assessment process, including help with ordering your equipment and arranging supplementary funding requests.

Tab Content: What happens at my assessment?

The assessment is carried out by a DSA Assessor working within the guidelines provided in the Disabled Students’ Allowances, Quality Assurance Framework. The assessment take the form of a conversation with the assessor; no tests are involved. The process is intended to be quite relaxed and informal. Your assessor will try to make you comfortable. You will be offered a hot or cold drink. If you need a break just say so. If you need communication or emotional support, you can bring someone with you - although it’s important that the assessor gets your perspective on the things that are discussed. If you need an interpreter, tell us well in advance so we can make arrangements.

The Assessor will ask you about your educational history, how your disability affects your studies and any current support arrangements you may have. They will then explore different support options with you and together you will come to a conclusion about the study aids and strategies most appropriate to your needs. These will form the basis of the recommendations in our report.

The assessor will discuss with you whether you wish to see a draft of the report before it is sent to your funding body. This gives you the opportunity to check that the report accurately describes your needs and reflects the expected outcome of your assessment. It also provides you with an opportunity to comment on the report and discuss any amendments before the report is issued.

Tab Content: What might be recommended?

Depending upon your individual support needs, recommendations may include:

  • computer equipment and assistive software (note, most funding bodies require students to contribute £200 to the cost of a new computer.)
  • a recording device
  • the services of a British Sign Language (BSL) interpreter
  • additional photocopying or printing costs
  • one-to-one tuition for dyslexia
  • a specialist mentor
  • additional travel costs for using a taxi in place of public transport

Tab Content: What happens afterwards?

After your assessment, the assessor will write the report and submit it to the Centre for checking. We aim to complete the report to you within a week of your assessment, although it may be longer during particularly busy periods of the year.

If you have requested to see a draft of your report, we will email you the draft and await your comments. If we do not hear from you within five working days, we will finalise the report and issue it to the funding body. If you have consented, we will also send a copy of the report to the disability officer at your university.

When we have a final version or your report we will send it to your funding body, which will consider our recommendations and make their award accordingly. If they decline funding of any recommendations, they may contact us for further information or ask us to submit new equipment quotes.

Once the award has been made, they will write to you outlining what funding has been awarded and what to do to acquire any equipment and arrange other support.

If you have any difficulties at any stage of the process, we are happy to assist you, so please get in touch.

Tab Content: Who pays for my assessment?

You assessment fee is paid from your DSA and we will invoice your funding body directly for this. We charge an inclusive fee which covers the assessment, the report, and any updates or changes to your needs for the duration of your course.