Disabled Students

An increasing number of disabled students go on to achieve amazing things in higher education.

If your child has a disability or long-term health condition, you may have some additional concerns about helping them to manage the transition from school or college to university. Universities and colleges recognise this and will provide additional support to disabled students throughout the process of applying to Higher Education and beyond. 

The number of disabled students entering higher education has increased significantly over the past few decades. Universities and other higher education providers now welcome approximately 30,000 disabled students each year and they have specialist staff to support and enhance their experience from application to graduation. 

Students with long-term health conditions, mental health conditions, physical or sensory impairments, and specific learning differences, such as dyslexia and autism are all entitled to support.

Download The Guide: Support available for Disabled Students at University

Supporting a Disabled Student

What support is available for disabled students in higher education? 

The support teams in universities vary in titles depending on the provider but may be called disability support teams, student support teams, or well-being services. 

They are employed to ensure students are not disadvantaged in their studies because of their disability, health condition, or Specific Learning Difficulty. They can also provide advice about the resources that are available within the universities and from external agencies.

Most HE providers will work with students to create an Individual Learning Plan (ILP) or Individual Education Plan (IEP). Depending on the students’ needs these may include:

  • Extra time or rest breaks in exams.
  • Allowing audio-record lectures.
  • Recommending reasonable adjustments for the teaching, learning and assessments of courses.
  • Support with applying for additional funding, such as Disabled Student Allowances (DSAs).
  • Support with setting up one to one support including support workers, tutors, and mentors.
  • Recommending accommodation for disabled students with adaptations if necessary.
  • Disabled parking permits.
  • Advice on getting assessments for specific learning difficulties (e.g., dyslexia) if appropriate.
  • Access to adapted computers onsite, which are reserved for students with disabilities.
  • Accessibility advice and guidance.

Disability Contacts at Kent and Medway Universities

How can my child access this support?

When considering their higher education options, it’s a good idea for disabled students to contact universities and colleges to discuss any support they might need as early as possible – even before making an application. 

You should also encourage your child to share information about a disability, health condition, mental health difficulty or Specific Learning Difficulty (SpLD) on their UCAS application to make sure they get the additional support that they may need. All information is treated in confidence and won’t discriminate against them in any way.

Where can my child access careers advice to support the decision-making process?

KMPF are working with CXK who can offer individual careers guidance sessions for SEND secondary school students who are considering higher education and want to explore their next steps in depth with a trained and experienced career guidance professional. CXK can help the student explore the pros and cons of university for them as an individual, explain the support that may be available to them at university, signpost them to research their options, and advise on writing personal statements. This is available to all SEND students and is not dependent on having an EHCP.

If you would like to access this support, please complete the attached KMPF Referral Form with your child and email it to KMPFReferrals@cxk.org

What financial support is available for disabled students?

Finances are a worry for many people when starting university. Most students, whether they’re disabled or not, will apply for a student loan (or ‘student finance’) to pay for their studies and living costs at university. This may seem overwhelming, but it’s not like other types of loans, as you only start repaying it once you earn over a certain amount. 

The Disabled Students’ Allowance (DSA) is available to financially support students with any additional costs they may incur whilst a student. Students can get DSA on top of other student finance and you will not need to repay DSA. The DSA is not means-tested or based on your household income.

Universities also have emergency funds for any student in financial difficulty.

For more information, see our Student Finance section and visit the Student Finance website.

Where can I get more help and support?

Disability FAQs 

Disability Links

SEND PP Webinars – check out our range of webinars for disabled students on all aspects of applying to HE.

More frequently asked questions (FAQs) and answers are available on the UCAS website


Universities and other higher education providers now welcome approximately 30,000 disabled students each year.

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