Government Proposes Cuts To DSA!
I and many others would only be where we are today with the support that was provided to us by the current level of DSA. To remove this would lead to a place where university becomes profit over people, deductions over disability and savings over support.
The government has proposed cuts to the Disabled Students’ Allowance (DSA). This has sparked a reaction from both students and Students’ Union Officers alike.
The cuts to DSA will take effect between 2016 and 2017. Initially announced last April, the cuts were due to take place during 2015/16, but were put on hold following a campaign by the National Union of Students (NUS) against the cuts.
Part of the proposal is that it will become the primary responsibility of universities to cater for individual students.
The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (DBIS) has published a consultation on the changes to DSA. Under these changes universities will be expected to be the primary providers of scribes, readers and proof-readers from 2016 onwards. However, students can still receive DSA for language and technology support. Although this means students who claimed DSA previously are not losing out completely, for many it is not necessarily the best thing.
I spoke to some students to see what they thought about the government’s proposal to cut DSA. Jasmin Manley, who studies Law, said: “I think any cuts to DSA would have a really negative effect on students. DSA is amazing. It would be a real shame to see it being cut. I don’t know what I would have done without the help from DSA during the second year of my degree.”
Ryan Holford is the Disabled Students’ Officer in the Students’ Union. He shared his opinions on the cuts with me. Ryan said: “Although funding changes have impacted every student in some form or another, the cuts to DSA are especially far reaching and have the potential to be particularly dangerous.”
Ryan feels that cuts to DSA could lead to a possible increased climate of discrimination at university and cause students with disabilities to effectively ‘enter a race without the correct shoes and with one leg tied behind their back.’
He added: “It is a concern leaving all the support to the universities as this could possibly lead to a regression in the standards of support.”
His final comments on the cuts made his opinion quite clear. He told me: “I and many others would only be where we are today with the support that was provided to us by the current level of DSA. To remove this would lead to a place where university becomes profit over people, deductions over disability and savings over support.”