The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills is carrying out a consultation, to which BATA will be responding, on where the balance of support for disabled students should lie.
BIS is seeking to give primary responsibility for certain types of support to higher education institutions, as part of their obligations under the Equalities Act, and to reduce reliance on grants made through the Disabled Students Allowances scheme.
“The Government remains committed to the principle of ensuring disabled students can access and continue in higher education (HE), and DSAs will continue to help meet the additional costs a disabled student is obliged to incur in order to access their course,” says BIS.
“However, DSAs should not be provided as the default provision where a legal duty to provide support lies elsewhere.”
BIS also wants a better understanding of what constitutes a reasonable adjustment for an HE provider to supply, and how DSAs can best complement such support.
The consultation seeks suggestions of ways of delivering support that are different to the approaches set out, but which could still meet the policy aims.
No type of support in the areas outlined will be completely excluded in principle from DSAs funding, and exceptions would be dealt with on a case by case basis.
The consultation will help the Government to determine which types of support for disabled students should be supplied to students by DSAs and which should be provided in part or whole by HE providers.
If any changes result from this consultation, the Government expects to implement them from the academic year 2016/2017, which should allow HE providers time to prepare for any changes.
Members can reply to this consultation online at https://bisgovuk.citizenspace.com/student-finance/consultation-on-he-dsa-2016-17, by email, or by letter.
The form is available electronically at https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/disabled-students-in-higher-education-funding-proposals.
Members can also provide evidence, further information, or a paper in support of your views by forwarding these to the address given in the document.