What will happen in my Study Needs Assessment?

In the first instance, if you are unfamiliar with the whole process of DSA, please see our step by step guide for new applicants.


  • The assessment appointment is likely to take up to 2 hours.
  • This appointment is for a Study Needs Assessment. It is not a test; it is a discussion with an assessor who is experienced in identifying appropriate provision, resources and strategies for you to use in relation to the particular difficulties you experience on your course.
  • Occasionally, students ask us if it is possible to bring a relative, friend or advocate along with them to the appointment. Please contact us beforehand if you wish to do this.
  • As part of Access SUMMIT’s commitment to quality, your assessor may be observed during your appointment. The person observing may be a trainee assessor, the centre manager, the assessment co-ordinator or a member of the assessment administration team and is there solely for the purpose of observing the assessor, and the way they work. If you are happy for this to happen, please sign the Consent for Assessment Observation Form below, and bring it with you to the assessment. If you would like further information before agreeing, please call Jonathan Spicer on 0161 275 0999, or email
  • If you already own a computer, it would be extremely useful if you are able to bring the details of the make, model and specification with you. This will enable the assessor to quickly identify which (if any) equipment may be recommended.
  • Please think carefully about the particular difficulties you are experiencing on your course. You might find it helpful to think about what has (or has not) worked for you in the past. The assessor’s job will be to consider how these difficulties can be addressed, through the use of the Disabled Students Allowance (DSA).
  • During the assessment appointment, you may be given the opportunity to try out various resources. The assessor will need to write some notes to help with writing the report. Some assessors may type these notes directly into a PC.
  • At the end of the appointment, the assessor will summarise the recommendations to be put to your funding body for consideration.
  • Following the appointment, the assessor will write a report. This will form the basis of the request to your funding body for assistance from the Disabled Students Allowance.
  • There are restrictions and criteria applying to all the support provided by the DSA. Strict guidelines are set by BIS, which Access SUMMIT must adhere to. All recommendations must be directly associated with a difficulty you have as a consequence of your disability. This may mean that we are unable to recommend all the resources you feel would be useful.
  • Many funding bodies will allow you to add your own funds in order to upgrade equipment recommended in the report. This should be negotiated with your funding body.
  • The assessment report will, under normal circumstances, be sent to you within 10 working days of your appointment. It can be sent directly to your funding body at the same time or can be sent to you to check over in the form of a draft copy. Please check over the report once you have received it, to make sure it is an accurate and fair record of your discussion.
  • Access SUMMIT has no control over the funding body’s decision, or the length of time the decision takes. We suggest that if you have not heard anything from your funding body within three weeks of them receiving the report, you should phone or e-mail the funding body using the contact details on the front of your assessment report.
  • Occasionally, funding bodies ask Access SUMMIT for more information, or clarification about a particular recommendation. We try to deal with this as quickly as possible, but if it does happen, the final decision will inevitably be delayed.  
  • Access SUMMIT operates a fully inclusive assessment fee policy in accordance with DSA-QAG guidance. The assessment fee will be paid directly by your funding body and is taken from the General Allowance part of your DSAs. This means that any additional work required for the duration of your course will not incur any additional fee, unless agreed by your funding body.
    • Additional work may include:
      • Addressing any additional needs that you may tell us about.
      • Any activities we undertake by way of reviewing your DSA support.
      • Liaison with funding bodies, equipment suppliers and HEI’s, as required


If, after reading this, you have any queries about the assessment, please contact the assessment team on 0161 275 0990 or email