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Important: The full process can take up to 14 weeks from your initial application to delivery of equipment or service recommendations in your Needs Assessment Report.

Assessment process


Timescale: Up to 14 weeks

Complete and send your Higher Education and/or Disabled Student's Allowance application to your Funding Body.

You will receive an eligibility letter to advice you that should arrange a Needs Assessment. This is called DSA 1 Eligibility Letter.

Please note: The application process varies from each funding body, so please apply early.

Make Appointment

Timescale: see current waiting times on home page

To book your Needs Assessment at one of ATOP Ltd's centres you can:

Telephone: 01244 513 216/7
or: 0151 225 0234


Fill in the Online Referral Form.

Once you have booked and provided the information requested, your appointment will be conducted. ATOP Ltd can usually offer appointments within 1 working day.

Needs Assessment Report

Timescale: Within 5 days

Your Needs Assessment Report should be issued to you and your Funding Body within 5 working days of your Assessment.

Delivery of Equipment

Timescale: Within 10 days

Your funding body will send you a letter advising you of what recommendations have been approved. This is called a DSA 2 Entitlement Letter.

Once you have provided the information required by the supplier, your equipment and services will be delivered.

Please note: This process can take up to 10 working days.

Your Assessment

After booking your DSA Study Needs Assessment via phone, email or online referral form, you will need to attend your appointment at your preferred ATOP Ltd Centre.

The Assessment is an informal meeting with an experienced Needs Assessor with specialist knowledge of your specific learning difficulty or disability, during which your needs will be discussed. The meeting will last approximately 2 hours, in which time you will be offered refreshments and an opportunity to take a break.

The Process

You will be greeted at each of our DSA-QAG Accredited Assessment Centres by a member of the ATOP team. They will be aware of your disability or additional needs and will escort you to the Assessment room ready for your Assessment. You will be offered refreshments.


After meeting the Assessor and settling into the Assessment room, the Assessor will begin by checking that all of your personal details are correct. The Assessor will then explain to you the purpose of the Disabled Students Allowance along with an overview of each of the allowances.


The Assessor will then discuss with you how your disability of specific learning disability impacts on study and look at what strategies you have used in the past.


After exploring your disability-related needs, the Assessor will demonstrate suitable Assistive Technology and hardware relevant to such needs. You will be given an opportunity to try out some of the software/hardware for yourself.


Your Assessor will summarise his/her findings and you will be given an opportunity to ask questions. Don't be afraid to ask any questions you feel are relevant to the Assessment and processes.


Before leaving the Assessment you will be given a card with contact details and escorted back to the main Reception area.


You will receive a copy of your Needs Assessment Report outlining all the recommendations and relevant costs within 5 working days of your appointment with us.


Phone: 01244 513 216/7
or: 0151 225 0234
Fax: 01244 513 218

Or fill in the

Online Referral Form