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Timescales for getting disability support

A step-by-step guide to what you need to do to apply for additional support and allow enough time for arrangements to be put in place for when you start studying.

You need to apply for both Open University (OU) support and Disabled Students' Allowances (DSA)-funded support four months before the beginning of your module. For example, begin your preparation in July for a module that starts in October, and begin your preparation in October for a module that starts in February.

The steps listed below tell you what to do to arrange OU (Open University) support and DSA funding, in the sequence you need to do them.

1. Register with the OU

Browse courses, register on a qualification and select the Disability box.

  1. Browse the qualification information at Courses home and make enquiries. Each qualification has an accessibility paragraph in the course details tab. Once you’ve registered, you'll be assigned a student support team and you’ll have access to our StudentHome website with all its resources.

  2. As you register make sure to select from the disability drop-down list. We'll then send you an email with a link to the OU's Disability Support Form.

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2. Enrol with the OU

Select your first module and choose your fee payment method.

  1. Once you’ve enrolled on your first module you'll be directed by emails and prompts in StudentHome to complete your enrolment by selecting your first module and fee payment method.

  2. At this point you should make your funding arrangements, such as applying for a student loan.

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3. Request support from the OU and funding through DSA

You will need to request both OU support and funding through DSA at the same time, which needs to be at least four months before you begin your module.

Support from the OU

  1. Before you fill in the Disability Support Form you will need to check to see if you're eligible for DSA as it will ask you this on the form.

  2. Once you've checked your elgibity for DSA, fill in the Disability Support Form. Once you've submitted this you will be contacted by an adviser from the Disability Support Team to discuss the support you need. If you want to speak to an adviser before choosing your first module you can request this in the Disability Support Form.

  3. Discuss your module support with your tutor.

Funding through DSA

  1. You'll need to complete the application form for DSA funding that's provided by your funding body. This information is available in the GOV.UK article on student finance forms. Get in touch with the OU for the correct information to include in 'Section 5' of the form.

  2. When you receive a DSA Letter of Eligibility, it will ask you to arrange a study needs assessment. Visit the DSA Quality Assurance Group to find an assessment centre near to you. Your assessor will discuss your study support requirements with you and recommend adjustments.

  3. When your funding body has agreed with the recommendations you'll receive a Letter of Entitlement. Follow the instructions in your letter to contact suppliers and make arrangements to put in place your support and equipment. It may also be helpful for you to share these recommendations with us.

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4. Make arrangements for residential school

If your module includes a residential school you should look into any facilities and equipment you may need.

  1. If your module has a residential school, we’ll prompt you in good time to request the support you’ll need.

  2. Take a look at residential school and disability for more information on what to expect.

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5. Make exam adjustments

If you're likely to be at a disadvantage while taking exams you can ask us to make adjustments.

  1. If your module has an exam we’ll prompt you in good time to request the support you’ll need.

  2. For more information about how to make adjustments to your exam, take a look at exam arrangements for disabled students.

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6. Keep the OU updated

Keep your support requirements updated.

  1. During your study with the OU you can ask us to change the adjustments we make for you by updating your disability support details by using the Disability Support Form or by contacting your student support team.

  2. When you're choosing your next module check whether it has materials in the format you find easiest to study. If it’s not clear, or if a format you need isn't available, get in touch with your student support team straight away.

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