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Disability - CS052207
Case summary May 2022 | Justified
A student suffered a serious injury in an accident during their studies. Some months later they asked their provider for support for the ongoing impact of their injury on their studies.
The provider put in place some support for the student but didn’t give them any information about Disabled Students’ Allowance (DSA). The following year the student asked for some further support and the provider advised them to apply for DSA, which they did. A few months before the end of their studies, the student obtained funding through DSA for assistive technology and equipment, and study skills support.
The student was awarded a 2:2 classification and was close to the borderline for a 2:1. They said that they would have achieved a 2:1 classification if DSA support had been put in place earlier. They made an academic appeal, which the provider rejected, and then complained to the provider about the support they had received. The provider rejected the complaint and the student complained to us.
We decided that the student’s complaint was Justified. We thought that the provider ought to have given the student information and advice about DSA support when they first asked for help. The provider said that it had not done so because at that point the effects of the student’s injury had not lasted for 12 months or more. DSA is available to students with a “physical or mental impairment which has lasted or is likely to last for more than 12 months and which has substantial and adverse effects on an individual’s ability to carry out day to day activities”. The student first asked for support ten months after their injury and medical evidence indicated that the effects of the injury were ongoing. The delay in advising the student about DSA support, and delays in the application process itself, meant that the student couldn’t access all the support they needed until near the end of their studies. There was evidence that their academic performance had improved once the DSA support was in place. We recommended that the provider should reconsider the student’s grade profile with this in mind. When the provider reconsidered the student’s profile, it decided to award the student a 2:1 classification.