Students Staff

17 June 2014

MP hears first-hand about student’s fears over proposals to cut Disabled Students’ Allowances

Bernard Jenkin MP and Essex student Ruairi Hipkin

Bernard Jenkin MP with Essex student Ruairi Hipkin.

Harwich and North Essex MP Bernard Jenkin took up an invitation from Essex student Ruairi Hipkin to hear first-hand, concerns about proposals to cut Disabled Students’ Allowances (DSAs).

Due to come into force for new students from September 2015, the changes will not personally affect Ruairi, but he has real worries about the impact on future students who are in a similar situation to him.

“I have always been very grateful for the support and equipment I have received from my Disabled Students’ Allowances. University is difficult already and even with DSA support, University can be difficult for me at times,” explained Ruairi.

“My concern is that by reducing DSA it denies future generations of disabled students the ability to pursue a degree that they might very well have a potential to achieve.

“University students are expected to support themselves. However, disabled students have the added difficulty of having to work out what else they may need to ensure their disability does not adversely impact their studies.”

About 300 students at Essex currently receive the DSA to pay for a range of different support for their studies – from specialist software and computing equipment to sighted guides and note takers.

Chantel Le Carpentier, the Students’ Union Vice-President (Welfare), added: “The proposed changes to the DSA would cut many disabled people out of higher education, restrict their independence and put unnecessary pressure on educational institutions to fill the financial gap. It would be a travesty to see people who could be some of the greatest minds of the future completely shut out of education.”

After the meeting Mr Jenkin said: “I very much enjoyed meeting Ruairi and am glad to have had the opportunity to discuss his concerns over the Government’s changes to the Disabled Students’ Allowance. I am writing to the Minister for Higher Education to seek clarification on the points Ruairi raised at our meeting to ensure disabled students are not discouraged from higher education.”


Note to Editors
For more details please contact the University of Essex Communications Office on 01206 872400 or email


...more news releases