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MP welcomes delayed changes to Disabled Students’ Allowance

September 15, 2014 5:41 PM

Leeds North West MP Greg Mulholland has welcomed an announcement by ministers that they will now delay any changes to the Disabled Students' Allowance (DSA).

In 2011/12, DSA was worth over £144 million to 61,000 students around England. It is a non-repayable grant that assists with the additional costs incurred by disabled students in relation to their study in higher education. DSA finances a range of support, including the purchase of computers and specialised equipment, assistance with travel costs and the provision of support workers where necessary.

Last month, Mulholland wrote to universities minister, Rt Hon. Greg Clark MP, saying "DSA provides a lifeline for many students and has proven to be effective as figures from the Equality Challenge Unit show disabled students who get support are more likely to achieve a first or second-class degree than students who do not get help."

Mulholland went to argue in his letter that many disabled students might prefer to live at or near home so they could continue to have family support, and that hence it was vital all universities must be required to effectively support disabled students. He also demanded ministers undertake a formal consultation with disabled students themselves about the proposed changes, saying that "Without a consultation, it is difficult to see how government can be sure that the assumptions underlying the proposed changes are well-founded or correct."

Commenting, Mulholland said:

"Many students and parents across Leeds will have been concerned by ministers proposing to cut off this vital source of support and this is why I wrote to the universities minister. I welcome that he has listened to the widespread opposition to his plans and now decided to delay them. We must not undermine the potential of disabled students to succeed in going to university."