Being a student

    Fast facts

    1. 1
      There is financial support available to help students with additional needs
    2. 2
      UK equality laws require colleges and universities to make reasonable adjustments to help you
    3. 3
      At colleges the special educational needs co-ordinator (SENCO) is a good starting point for possible support
    4. 4
      Universities have disability support services to provide help
    5. 5
      If you had support for special educational needs at school this can sometimes continue after the age of 16. Note: what happens is different for different parts of the UK (England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales – more on this below)

    Top tips



    Tips from others

    Tell people. The sooner you are comfortable with opening up to your peers and tutors the more confident you will feel.”

    Student support is there for a reason. Don’t be afraid to ask them for help if you think you need it.”

    If it’s going to cause seizures, don’t feel pressured into going out and partying with people that you don’t know.”

    Your flatmates become like family at uni. Let them know what helps you to manage. I found humour a good way.”




    Students sat in a lecture

    Practical help

    There’s lots of examples of where reasonable adjustments might help you while studying. Such as:

    If you’re not getting the support you think would help you – it’s OK to ask. Find out who is responsible for supporting students who have disabilities at your place of study.



    Financial help

    In addition to the loans available to pay for tuition fees and living costs (maintenance loans) you may be eligible for further financial help. Grants and bursaries available for disabled students include:

    Male student using a wheelchair and in the library

    Help with additional learning needs after 16

    If you had support at school for additional learning needs, it’s a good idea to check what might be available when you leave school. It’s quite complicated, so we can’t give you specific advice, but here’s a starting point on info for the different parts of UK. You can also ask the college or university you are going to for advice.

    The charity Contact have information about education beyond the age of 16. This includes a useful factsheet about extra help for people aged from 19 to 25 years old in England


    The Welsh government website has more information on support in further education


    For Scotland, Enquire have information about education and additional support


    The Equality Commission for Northern Ireland has information about your rights when in education

    Northern Ireland

    Stories by you

    Rachel shares her experience of being a student with epilepsy

    Read Matt’s tips for being at university


    UCAS have a range of videos with guidance and information for disabled students about what is available.

    Watch on the UCAS website – Note: use the ‘Related videos’ link to see them all.



    3 Students on a sofa with laptops

    Do something

    There are a lot of decisions to make when considering whether to study. Doing your research will help.

    Here are some things to consider:

    More info


    There is more info about education and epilepsy on the Epilepsy Action website

    Education and epilepsy

    The NHS website has more info about getting medical care as a student


    If you have difficulties with your memory, take a look at the memory page on The Epilepsy Space


    There is more about living independently on The Epilepsy Space

    Living independently

    There a page on The Epilepsy Space about benefits, money and budgeting

    Benefits, money and budgeting

    There a page on The Epilepsy Space about work and volunteering

    Work and volunteering

    If you have difficulties with your memory, take a look at the memory page on The Epilepsy Space


    The National Union of Students (NUS) has lots of information. They also offer help and advice on finances, accommodation, landlords and safety


    The Money Advice Service website has lots more detail on student finances

    Money Advice Service

    Disability Rights UK has a Disabled Students Helpline and a range of useful factsheets

    Disability Rights UK
    Updated 12 May 2020
    Review 12 May 2023
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