Funding and eligibility

The Accessibility and Disability Resource Centre (ADRC) can help you find funding to cover course-related costs due to your disability.

There are several sources of funding that cover support for disabled students. What you can get and which funds you are eligible for may depend on:

  • the country you come from
  • your course
  • your condition or impairment

Some funds, such as those provided by the UK government, are only available to UK home students. This includes, for example, Disabled Students Allowance (DSA), or other state assistance like Personal Independence Payment (PIP).

What ‘disabled’ means 

Many funds use the Equality Act 2010 definition of disability. Under this law, you’re disabled if you have a physical or mental impairment that has a ‘substantial’ and ‘long-term’ negative effect on your ability to do normal daily activities. 'Substantial' means that everyday tasks such as getting dressed take much longer. 'Long-term' means 12 months or more.

You do not necessarily need to have a diagnosis. But you will need documentation supporting how your symptoms meet this definition.

Other costs

You will also need to cover costs that exist:

  • for any student, such as tuition fees
  • whether you are at university or not, such as personal care, (if any)

Personal care support

Personal care support is any practical help you need that is not related to your studies.

This can include:

  • getting up, going to bed or adjusting position
  • washing, getting dressed and using the toilet
  • cleaning, shopping and preparing meals
  • help with eating or medication
  • driving or helping you get around outside study hours

It can take up to 12 months to arrange personal care. The ADRC cannot recommend a care provider.

If you're from England or Wales, the local authority in your home town is responsible for assessing and paying for personal care support. Find out about the Personal Independence Payment (PIP) on GOV.UK.

If you're from Scotland get information about Adult Disability Payment from

If you're from Northern Ireland get information about PIP from nidirect.

Disability Rights UK also has information about funding higher education for disabled students.

There is no funding from British government or the University to cover the costs of personal care.

You need to:

  • get an assessment of your care needs then get a detailed quote for your care
  • check that the support is available in Cambridge and how much it costs locally
  • have enough money to cover your care for your whole course, before you come to the UK

Other things to consider

  • UK costs and regulations might be different from your home country. For example, in the UK, 2 personal assistants are sometimes needed for lifting and moving.
  • Prescription medicines and specialist equipment might not be licensed or available in the UK.
  • Get advice on visas if you want to bring your own personal assistant and find out if your College can provide accommodation for your personal assistant and how much it costs.

Contact us if you have any queries.

We're happy to:

  • advise on disability related study support and funding
  • discuss your care needs and offer guidance
  • involve your College and Department in any discussions about your course and living arrangements