Reduce Barriers Facing Disabled and Neurodivergent Students in Accessing Further and Higher Education Funding
Policy passed at NUS Scotland Conference 2023
What’s the issue and how does it affect students?
The process by which disabled and neurodivergent students apply for funding through Student Awards Agency Scotland (SAAS) is overly onerous and prevents students from accessing the support they are entitled to.
- There are several additional forms that disabled and neurodivergent students are required to complete as part of their application.
- Students must reapply for Disabled Student Allowance (DSA) each year of their studies.
- The process often requires dialogue with SAAS, which can be time-consuming and anxiety-inducing.
- Neurodivergent students may face barriers to accessing their education as a result of things such as running out of spoons and sensory overload
What changes would we like to see in society to change this?
- Eligible students should be automatically re-enrolled for the support they received the previous year unless they are choosing to leave, their needs have changed, or they have graduated.
- The application process for disabled and neurodivergent students should be reviewed and streamlined where possible/appropriate, with disabled and neurodivergent students and NUS feeding into that process.
- Universities, Students’ Unions, and SAAS should have a duty to explain processes in-depth and in Simple English
- Universities and Students’ Unions should work with neurodivergent students to create a welcoming environment which caters to their needs (i.e. sensory, healthy life balance
How does it impact FE students / Apprentices?
The current process can deter students trying to secure funding to access further or higher education. This policy would not directly impact further education studies but could support those continuing their studies through higher education qualifications at college and university. There would be no impact on apprentices.