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NUS deeply concerned by cuts to disabled students' allowance

By NUS UK

Monday 7 April 2014

The National Union of Students (NUS) today commented on an announcement from Universities and Science Minister David Willets of cuts to the disabled students’ allowance (DSA).

NUS DEEPLY CONCERNED BY CUTS TO DISABLED STUDENTS’ ALLOWANCE

For immediate release: Monday 7 April 2014

The National Union of Students (NUS) today commented on an announcement from Universities and Science Minister David Willets of cuts to the disabled students’ allowance (DSA).

NUS is deeply concerned at the prospect of these cuts, which could see fewer students receiving the support they need to stay the course. Those expected to lose out include dyslexic students receiving laptops to aid their studies.

The cuts could also mean that the costs of specialist accommodation for many disabled students will not be met by DSA.

The policy changes would affect all full-time, full-time distance learning, part-time and postgraduate students in England applying for DSA for the first time from 1 September 2015.  

NUS’ Disabled Students’ Campaign aims to remove the stigma from all disabilities, challenge perceptions and encourage all members of our society to take a positive attitude towards understanding the nature of disability and overcoming prejudices.

This includes ensuring disabled students get the support they need in order to study.

Hannah Paterson, NUS Disabled Students’ Officer, said:

"The prospect of deeply unfair cuts to support for disabled students should concern us all. We already know that disabled students are under greater financial strain than others.

"It is arrogant and out of touch to assume that disabled students can access 'basic' equipment or that universities will accept the new responsibilities ministers are seeking to place on them.

“I have first-hand experience with dyslexia and, at times, I found the lack of support on campus particularly discouraging.

“Students with dyslexia are still often misconstrued as being lazy or disorganised. These cuts will do nothing to stop these negative perceptions and will just reinforce the wrong message that dyslexic students ‘just don’t try hard enough’.”

Colum McGuire, NUS Vice President (Welfare), said:

"It is likely that many students will fall through the cracks as a result of this withdrawal of support and associated ministerial buck passing. 

"The disabled students’ allowance currently plays a pivotal role in allowing these students to access, and stay in, higher education. 

“We demand a full equality impact assessment of any proposed changes and a halt to their implementation until this is carried out.”

ENDS

Written Ministerial Statement: HE Student Support (Monday 7 April 2014)

http://www.parliament.uk/documents/commons-vote-office/April%202014/7%20April%202014/1.BIS-HE-Student-Support.pdf

Notes to editors:

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