Going to university if you have SEND
Drawn by Nico, age 6 If you are a young person who has special educational needs and/or a disability (SEND), you should not feel that this stops you from going to university. If attending university is something that you want to do, there is support available to help you with your studies.
Can universities meet my needs?
According to the law, universities must try their best to support students who have SEND. Example of things a university can do to help you with your studies might include:
- Making sure class materials are available in a format you can understand.
- Giving you extra time to complete coursework or exams.
- Providing extra support around study skills, how to use computer software, the library etc.
- Assigning you a support worker who can help you organise your studies.
- Arranging for specialist equipment
These changes are called “reasonable adjustments”. They make sure that young people with SEND have the same access to a university education. You can read more about your rights to reasonable adjustments from the websites below:
- Disability Rights UK’s factsheet on adjustments for disabled students
- The Universities and Colleges Admissions Service's (UCAS) guidance for disabled students.
If you have an Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP), this will no longer apply when you go to university. It can, however, be a good idea to share your plan with the university you want to go to. This will help them understand your needs and make sure the right reasonable adjustments are put into place.
Can I get help with money?
When all young people apply for university, they have the opportunity to apply for student finance. This is a loan which covers the cost of your course and helps with living expenses. You will pay this back over time, once you have graduated and start working.
If you are a student with a disability, you may also be entitled to a Disabled Student’s Allowance (DSA). This is extra money available to buy any specialist equipment or support needed to meet your needs whilst you study. For more information on Disabled Student’s Allowance, please click here.
Some universities have money available in case you have difficulty paying for your studies. These are called hardship funds. Universities have different rules around who can apply for this money and how much you can get. For more information, you can contact the university, or visit the Government’s website.
Where can I go for more advice?
For more information and advice, you can contact the Disabled Students Helpline. They will be able to tell you about what a university should be offering to meet your needs. Their contact details are below:
Disabled Students Helpline
Telephone: 0800 328 5050
Opening hours: Tuesday 11.30am to 1.30pm and Thursday 1.30pm to 3.30pm