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Access and Widening Participation

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Students with disabilities

UCL is committed to supporting students with disabilities to access higher education and we encourage these students to apply to UCL and access the support available.

Student with hearing aid

UCL is an inclusive learning environment, and we aim to enable all students to study as independently as possible during their time here. 

UCL recognises that when applying to and entering higher education, young people with a disability or long-term health condition can face particular difficulties that their peers are less likely to experience and we are committed to working to alleviate these. This page explains some of the activities and support that is available for these students.

On this page:


Who can we support?

In the context of our pre-entry widening participation activities, we consider students to have a disability if they have one or more of the following health conditions or impairments: 

  • A visual impairment (blind or partially sighted);
  • A hearing impairment (deaf or hard of hearing);
  • A specific learning difference such as dyslexia, dyspraxia, ADD or ADHD;
  • A social or communication difference such as an Autistic Spectrum Condition;
  • A mental health condition;
  • A physical impairment or mobility difficulties;
  • A long-term health condition.

Events and activities

We welcome students who have a disability, and attend a state school, to apply to any of our widening participation activities. Whether you want to have a taste of university life, experience a subject of interest, or learn about study skills required for higher education, then make sure you submit an application to one of our programmes. In our application forms, we ask you to explain any adjustments that can be made to make the programme more accessible to you and we are always happy to discuss this further, where needed. 

Additionally, we do offer some activities specifically targeted at students with disabilities: 

  • Experience UCL is an exciting opportunity for year 12 or 13 students to visit UCL and learn what life is like as a university student: you will spend a day with two current undergraduate students, go on a tour of the campus, and speak to members of UCL staff about topics such as applying to university, support services available and financial support. 
  • Discover UCL is a summer school exclusively for deaf and hard of hearing students in year 12, offering the opportunity to find out more about studying at UCL and the support services available for students with hearing impairments.

If you have any questions about applying to our pre-entry programmes as a student with a disability, then please get in touch with Jalal Pour and Michele Sahiri wp.pre16@ucl.ac.uk.

Top tips

  • If you are planning to attend any university open days, whether online or in person, and have any specific access needs, it’s a good idea to get in touch with the university’s disability support team or student services in advance to discuss access arrangements. UCAS has a useful guide on preparing for open days and visits for students with a disability.

  • As part of your research into different universities that you may be interested in applying to, you should look into the disability support services that they offer to inform your decision-making. It may be helpful to contact the support services team at each institution to check that they can accommodate your support needs.

  • In your UCAS application form you will have the opportunity to share details about any impairment(s) or condition(s) that you have with your chosen university – and it is highly advisable to do so. This information is never used to make an academic judgement on your application and is only shared with those responsible for arranging support. At UCL, successful applicants who choose to disclose information about a disability or long-term health condition will be contacted by the Disability, Mental Health and Wellbeing team in advance of starting their course.

  • If you do not wish to share details of a condition or impairment in your application form, you can still disclose this at any point during your studies by contacting your university’s disability support team. However, it’s always advisable to do this as early as possible so that you have access to the full range of support that you need from the beginning.

Financial support

UK students eligible for student finance may also be eligible for a Disabled Students’ Allowance (DSA) to help pay for some of the additional costs you incur whilst at university as a result of your disability or long-term health condition. You can get DSA funding on top of any other student finance and you will not have to pay any DSA funds back. 

DSA funding can pay for disability-related study support such as sign language interpreters or specialist equipment and software. You can apply for DSA at any time during your studies but it is advisable to do this as early as possible.  You don't have to wait for your university place to be confirmed, you can apply for DSA at the same time you apply for Student Finance.

You can find out more about the funding support available at UCL for students with a disability on this section of our website. UCAS also has a useful page with information about funding opportunities.

Support once at UCL

If you do decide to make an undergraduate application to UCL, then there will be plenty of support on offer once you get here. UCL's Student Support and Wellbeing team aim to promote and implement an inclusive learning and teaching environment, allowing students to study as independently as possible during their time at university. You can find out about the wide range of support services available, and a step-by-step guide on how to access them, in this section of our website. 

If you have any questions or concerns about support while at university, or would just like to talk to someone in person, then please contact Student Support and Wellbeing. You are also welcome to arrange a visit with the Student Support and Wellbeing team before you enrol, in order to check that UCL is the right place for you.

Other sources of support

The below organisations also offer information and support that may be useful to students with a disability:

  • Diversity and Ability has a useful guide to Disabled Students’ Allowance (DSA), including a short video which talks you through all of the steps involved in applying for DSA.
  • UCAS has a dedicated webpage with lots of information and advice for students with disabilities, covering topics including preparing for open days, the UCAS application and financial support. It also has a list of questions, across a range of topics, that that can give you some ideas of what to ask about when talking to a university’s disability support team.
  • The My Study My Way platform from AbilityNet can help you prepare for your experience at university by identifying the areas where you may need additional support. You can create a personalised action plan which you can share with support staff if you wish
  • Disability Rights UK has a number of factsheets and guides for students, including a guide for accessing additional support in higher education.
  • AccessAble lists accessibility information on buildings across London, including on UCL's campus.
  • SAYes Mentoring is currently looking for young people (aged 16-24) who live in London and who have a disability to take part in a fully-funded online mentoring programme. You can find out more details about the programme and how to apply on the SAYes website.