Figures released by the Student Loan Company (SLC) show that in England almost 12,500 students are yet to receive grants to pay for specialist equipment. Of the 19,006 eligible Disabled Student Allowance (DSA) applications, only 6,507 have been fully processed and approved by the SLC. This means that only 34 per cent of eligible applications have been processed, four months after the start of the academic year. The DSA is available for all UK students with a disability, and can be used to buy specialist computer equipment resources such as Braille paper, or to pay for personal helpers to assist on campus.
The claims come following criticism of the SLC for mismanagement of standard student loans. The latest figures show that 16,000 students in England are still waiting for at least some of their loans, while a further 2,000 are still waiting for their first payment. These delays have had a knock-on effect for disabled students, because in England, unlike Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, the SLC administers the DSA.
The SLC said the application process for DSAs ‘took longer than applications for other types of student finance’.