Frequently asked questions

On this page, we aim to answer some of the questions we are frequently asked. 

If you cannot find an answer to your question here, please contact us

Accessing our service

These web pages are about disabled students. I'm not sure if I am disabled.

If you have a long-term health condition and you’re not sure if we can help, please do get in touch. You may not think of yourself as 'disabled', but if you have a long-term condition that has an impact on your experience of university, you may have entitlements under the Equality Act. "Long-term condition” includes a wide range of:

  • physical and mental health diagnoses
  • vision and hearing impairments
  • specific learning difficulties 
  • Autistic Spectrum Conditions. 

Our service is not able to support students with temporary illnesses or injuries, or conditions which fall outside the Equality Act definition of a disability.

How can I access advice and support relating to my disability?

Please complete our self-referral form or email us at We will respond with information and advice according to what you need. This may include referring you to other services within the University, or external services, or a discussion with an adviser in one of our teams. 

What support is available for students with dyslexia/SpLD?

Are mental health conditions covered by the Equality Act ?

If you have a long-term diagnosed mental health condition that is impacting on your studies, please do get in touch to see whether you may be eligible for reasonable adjustments or access to mentoring. By long term, this generally means more than a year and by substantial, it is likely that you would have been referred to specialist NHS services, or have an ongoing treatment plan via your GP .

If you experience a shorter period of anxiety, low mood or serious stress, please have a look at the resources on our website, and consider accessing TogetherallTogetherall provides a safe space for members to engage anonymously with a wider network of people across the world who understand what it's like to struggle with mental health. Members can share thoughts and feelings, ask questions and access support 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

What sort of supporting documentation do I need to demonstrate my disability?

This would usually be a GP or Consultant's letter which includes a long-term and substantial diagnosis, and ideally tells us how this affects you, or a Disabled Students' Allowance report. If you already have some medical evidence, you can email it to us at You may be asked for further information if clarification is needed. If you don't have any medical evidence, or are not sure what would be suitable, do get in touch. Our advisers can talk you through this if necessary.

If you are a student with dyslexia or a specific learning difficulty (SpLD), you will need to submit your diagnostic assessment report. This will have been completed by a specialist teacher/assessor or an Educational Psychologist.

I have a temporary injury. Can you support me while this heals?

Depending on your temporary injury (eg broken arm, wrist, leg), you should inform your faculty Student Support Co-ordinator to see what options there are for managing this. Depending on the circumstances, and the timing of the injury, you may need to contact the Exams Office to discuss exam arrangements. You can email them at You might also need to make an application for consideration for an uncapped resit via Exceptional Circumstances.

Our service is not able to support students with temporary illnesses or injuries, or conditions which fall outside the Equality Act definition of a disability.

I’m the parent of a prospective disabled student. What support is available to us?

We are happy to provide general advice on the support we offer students with disabilities. We can also provide specific advice on the support we can offer a student with a particular disability/medical condition/mental health problems. We encourage students to talk confidentially with a disability adviser about their individual support requirements and any concerns they have. Due to confidentiality, we can only speak with parents about a particular student if we have the prior permission of the student.

Academic life

At school I had extra time in exams. Can I get this at university as well?

If you have previously had access arrangements for exams because of a disability or medical condition, then it is possible that you will be able to have extra time in University exams. We will need to organise that for you, so please come to see us in plenty of time before any exam or class test.

The deadline for this is usually Week 8 of the semester, but full details will be on our web pages from September. 

What is the Disabled Students’ Allowance?

Disabled Students' Allowance (DSA) helps pay the additional study related costs you may have as a direct result of your disability, long-term health condition, mental health condition or specific learning difficulty. You don't have to pay these back. The funding is not for assistance with living costs and fees. DSA can fund specific equipment, software and specialist support such as study skills or mentoring

What is a needs assessment?

If you qualify for the Disabled Students’ Allowance (DSA), you will need to have a DSA needs assessment to decide on the support you will need on your course. For advice and help with your DSA application, including navigating your way through the process and how you access your support:

Why do I have to have a needs assessment before I can get Disabled Students' Allowance? Can't I just use the 'statement' I had at school?

A ‘Statement of Educational Need’ or Educational Health Care Plan (EHCP) that you might have had at school is no longer valid once you join Higher Education. Instead, you will be required to have a needs assessment as a part of the process of applying for DSA.

How do I find my Inclusive Support Plan & will my academic tutors know about my needs?

An Inclusive Support Plan (ISP) will be written, which will be used to share information about your disability and the adjustments you need. It will only be shared with those staff at Brookes who are directly involved in your teaching or support.

Once it has been agreed, your ISP can be viewed via the Student Information pages.

If your ISP includes use of a 'blue card' for marking, please see the information on how to use the blue marking card in coursework and exams

What type of support is available in the library?

Our library staff can assist with any questions you have. They have information on library services for users with disabilities, and you can contact them at with any further queries. 

I need books enlarged. Can you guarantee that all my course material will be enlarged for me?

The library can provide books and other library materials electronically for students with vision impairments, and we can work with your lecturers to explain the format you need for your course materials. 

If you have a vision impairment and you will require written material electronically, we recommend that you get in touch with us at an early stage, to allow enough time to source all the written materials you need in the format that works best for you. 

I can’t lipread and write notes at the same time. How will I cope in lectures?

D/deaf and hard of hearing students and many other disabled students who may have other barriers to effective note taking use Assistive Technology to help with this, and for the majority of students, this is recommended as part of their DSA funded package of support. If the nature of the disability means that this is not possible, then alternatives will be explored. 

I might need support when I arrive but don’t know if I need it all year. Is that possible?

We can provide support and signposting for students for enrolment and induction. We will then review your needs with you once you have settled into university life.

The type of support available during induction includes:

  • arranging check in contact with a disability adviser
  • referring students to ‘buddying’ systems where appropriate 
  • signposting to relevant support networks and services.

Students who have told us about  their diagnosis of an Autistic Spectrum Condition (ASC) are invited to attend an induction event in August. The event programme and content is designed around feedback from previous students with ASC and what they found helpful when starting university.

All students can access supporting information for applicants in the Applicant Hub, where you can find virtual campus tours, applicant timelines and subject-specific webinars and course overviews.

The main source of information for new students is on our New Students website (please check you are looking at information for the relevant start date). Students will receive information about the Brookes transition programme and induction events, with live workshops and webinars, before they arrive.

If you have been allocated non-medical help support through DSA (study skills support or mentoring) but are uncertain as to how beneficial this will be for you, you can review this as the year progresses and this can be discontinued if it’s no longer needed. We can reinstate support if you decide you need it later in your course. Please note: reinstating support once it has been discontinued may involve a waiting list, so it’s important that you discuss this with your study skills tutor, mentor and/or disability adviser before making this decision.

Please discuss your needs with your disability adviser (or email if you’ve not been allocated an adviser) so we can put appropriate support into place for you.

What support is there for me if I feel anxious about giving presentations?

Most students feel nervous delivering presentations which is completely normal. Often over time and with practice, students find that these feelings reduce.

Student life

Accommodation: how do I apply for an adapted room?

If you have any specific accommodation requirements relating to your disability, you should include this information when you apply for University accommodation. Campus. Please send your supporting evidence with your application.

This supporting evidence should be a letter which explains your condition. It needs to be written in English by a certified medical practitioner. This letter should state:

  • how your condition affects the way you live
  • why your condition is best supported in (a) specific residence type(s).

Please contact the Accommodation Bureau at if you have any questions about the process. We work closely with their team over the summer, and are able to support the process of allocating rooms in Brookes halls where necessary. 

Is parking available to disabled students?

If you have a valid Blue Badge, you will be entitled to park on-site for free, but must first obtain a Blue Badge Holder Permit (free of charge) or risk receiving a fine. 

See our accessibility web page to find out more about parking for disabled students.