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The Assessment Process

What happens when I have a DSA Needs Assessment

How to make an appointment

Contact the assessment centre to make an appointment.  You can ring 029 2087 9127, email, write to or call into the Student Support Centre.  You will find our address and opening times on our homepage.

The assessment centre is open Monday to Friday 9.30am to 4.30pm and needs assessments can be carried out at 4.30pm on a Wednesday and a Thursday.

We aim to offer an appointment within 15 working days and can often offer you an appointment sooner than that dependent on the time of year.


Will I need to provide any information or documents for the Assessment Centre?

Before an appointment can take place you will need to provide us with a copy of your medical evidence supplied with your Disabled Students' Allowance application and the letter from your funding body (e.g. Student Finance England, Local Authority, NHS) which authorises the DSA Needs Assessment.  These need to reach us within 5 working days of receiving your appointment confirmation.


You will also be sent a short pre-assessment questionnaire, when your appointment is confirmed.  Returning this to us before your appointment will allow you and your assessor to prepare for the assessment.


What happens during the assessment?

The DSA needs assessment is an individual assessment and therefore each appointment is different.  However, assessments usually last approximately 2 hours.  The assessment is an informal interview to establish your study needs; if you require any assistive technology there will be an opportunity to try it out during the assessment.


At the end of the assessment interview, the assessor will go through a summary of all the support that is going to be recommended.  The assessor will confirm whether you want to see a draft copy of your report or if you agree for the final copy to be sent directly to your funding body, with a copy being sent to you at the same time. 


You will also be asked for permission for the report to be sent to your University's Disability Service.  It is important that you contact this Service to ensure that all the recommended support can be put in place.


What happens to the DSA Needs Assessment Report?

  • If you asked to see a draft copy, this is sent to you and will not be sent to your funding body until you confirm that you are happy with the report.
  • If you did not want to see a draft copy it is sent to you and your funding body at the same time.  Please keep your copy safe as it contains useful information.
  • If you agreed to a copy being sent to your University's Disability Service, a copy is forwarded.
  • A copy is kept in the Assessment Centre Cardiff.

How long does it all take?

We aim to adhere to the following timescales:

  • If you contact us for an appointment we will respond within one working day;
  • The DSA Needs Assessment appointment will take place within 15 working days of the appointment being confirmed (when we have received all necessary documents);
  • The draft or final report will be issued within 10 working days;
  • If you have seen a draft, this will be issued to your funding body within 1 working day of receiving your approval;
  • If you or your funding body require any amendments to be made to the report, these will be made within 1 working day.

How can I give the Assessment Centre feedback?

You will be asked to complete an assessment evaluation questionnaire which can be found at: as your comments help to improve the DSA Assessment process.


If you have concerns regarding the Assessment Centre Cardiff, please contact the Assessment Centre Manager.  For more information, please see the Resolution of Student Concerns procedure .


Accredited Status

The Assessment Centre Cardiff is accredited by DSA-QAG, which confers that the Assessment Centre Cardiff is committed to providing high quality Needs Assessments to students accessing the Disabled Students' Allowances (DSA) through adherence to the DSA-QAG Quality Assurance Framework (QAF).


To achieve and maintain accredited status the Assessment Centre Cardiff must demonstrate in an annual audit compliance with the DSA-QAG quality assurance criteria.  This includes:

  • Compliance with DSA Needs Assessments Standards and Measures;
  • Compliance with policy and procedural requirements;
  • Ensuring access to the required equipment for demonstration;
  • Ensuring assessors meet the staff competency criteria;
  • Monitoring and evaluating service delivery;
  • Undertaking an annual audit.