The government announced yesterday that it is to make further cuts to Disabled Students’ Allowances (DSAs), which students with disabilities vitally need to get the right support in further and higher education.
Jo Johnson, the Minister for Higher Education, was the one who made the announcement, which sees more responsibility being placed on universities to provide disability support.
Whilst this doesn’t mean that the DSAs won’t fund any support, it ends up creating what I call ‘the tennis effect’.
This is where students will go to the government for the support, only to be told that the university should provide it. But then, when they approach the university, they are told to go back to the government.
All in all, it will only create more confusion. The phrase ‘reasonable adjustments’ has been thrown about recently, but for most students it’s a term they don’t understand. It’s another example of where doubt and uncertainty is felt by disabled students applying to university.
It is because of the lack of distinction that students are confused. It still seems to be unclear as to who provides what support.
On top of that, for disabled students visiting universities in open days, they now have to consider another, unnecessary factor – what support they will get.
In turn, this could lead to a student choosing a degree based on the support, not the course. Everybody should have the right to study the course they want to study, and questions about support should not influence this.
I’m extremely disappointed by the government’s decision, but what do you think about the announced cuts? Comment below!