Students with a disability or Specific Learning Difference (SpLD)

The entire university experience – applying, starting, and studying – can be intimidating with plenty of hoops to jump through along the way. But for some disabled students or those with a specific learning difference, such as autism, dyslexia, dyspraxia or ADHD, the process can seem daunting. UCA’s Disability and Specific Learning Differences (SpLD) team are there to support you through this process.

Our aim is to make UCA as accessible as possible, starting with this website, just click on the accessibility icon in the top right corner!

By letting us know your needs in a timely manner, we will be there for you all the way, from your Open Day, right through your dissertation/final year project to graduation.


Support for Success

Download our helpful support guide here

Download your copy


If you have a disability, medical condition or dyslexia/neurodivergence, you can tell us at any time – in your application through UCAS, after you’ve accepted an offer, once you’ve enrolled, or during your course. However, the sooner you tell us the better we will be prepared to support you at the start of your course.

We understand you might not feel comfortable sharing this information, but please don’t worry. You can decide how the information is used and what is shared with other services including your academic team. We’re here to help, and you can talk to us in confidence. Our aim is simply to make sure your UCA experience is as good as it can be, and that you feel supported through your studies.

You can email us at, call us on the relevant number at the bottom of the page depending on the Campus you are based, or if you’re already on campus, ask for the disability team via the Gateway desk in your campus library.

In many cases, UK students applying for higher education courses may be able to apply for the Disabled Students Allowance (DSA).

DSA support covers: 

  • Specialist equipment – for example if a student needs a computer to run specialist software or braille display.
  • Non-medical helpers – for example, if a British Sign Language interpreter is required to attend lectures.
  • Travel – for example, if a taxi is needed to attend university, rather than using public transport.
  • A range of general costs may also be considered, related to a student’s disability.

 DSA does not depend on household income and doesn’t need to be repaid.

Please seek advice in your home country on what support you might be entitled to. Please read UCA’s International Student Support Service Statement (currently under review) for further information. You could also consider what other funding may be available through grant giving trusts and charities. Further information can be provided by our Specialist Advisers.

Further information on fees, funding and support for international students can be found on the UKCISA website.

We have a team of experienced and trained support staff who can work with you to understand your requirements and what you might need.

What can the Dyslexia and Learning Support team do for you?

  • Give you a short screening test to identify your learning needs. This is for those students who do not have a diagnosed SpLD but are experiencing difficulties.
  • Show you how to get official evidence of your SpLD by having a Diagnostic Assessment. (UCA can usually help with the cost of this)
  • Help you apply for Disabled Students Allowance (DSA). This is a fund run by Student Finance England that pays for helpful technology and software, or regular support from a Study Skills tutor.
  • Write you an Individual Learning Plan (ILP) that identifies your specific learning needs and the type of adjustments that can be put in place to support you to ensure you have the same chance of success as other students.
  • Help with assignment planning and structure. This can include anything from understanding the project briefs, so you know you are on the right track to time management and organisation to help you submit your assignments on time.

Further information can be found in Making Adjustments for Disabled Students document (awaiting approval then to be saved on the website).

When you go to university, your Educational Health & Care (EHC) plan stops. This does not mean you stop getting support. It means you will get support through Disabled Student Allowance and or your local social care team for personal care support. The Guidance on Personal Care Support booklet has more information.

Please share your up-to-date Education Health and Care Plan (EHCP) with the disabilities team so we can learn more about your needs.

You can contact the social care team by phone or online and ask for a needs assessment if you require support with personal care.

The link below gives you a step-by-step guide on how to go about applying for a needs assessment.

It is important that you have any personal care support in place before you start at your university. The University does not provide support or funding for personal care or medical treatment (including medication, medical supplies or mobility equipment) because you would need these things even if you were not a student. Please register with a GP near your campus as soon as possible.

Craig Maxwell

My UCA experience was life-changing for me, not only academically but also personally. For the first time, I felt like I could really be myself, express who I was in an environment surrounded by like-minded individuals.” Craig Maxwell, Graphic Design graduate diagnosed with dyslexia during his studies

Craig Maxwell

Contact us

If you have any questions about your application to UCA or just to find out more, get in touch:



Canterbury: +44 (0)1227 817 455

Epsom: +44 (0)1372 202 431

Farnham: +44 (0)1252 892 926

Our access and participation plan

Our access and participation plan sets out what we are doing to improve equality of opportunity for under-represented groups to access and succeed in higher education.