The Needs Assessment Centre (NAC) is an independent Assessment Centre providing a specialist service for students requiring assessment for the Disabled Students’ Allowances (DSA), as well as providing specialist Information Communication Technology (ICT) support. The NAC is open to all disabled students in Higher Education who are eligible for the DSA.

In addition to the main centre at the University of Northampton, the NAC also has two outreach centres that operate through the Indigo Dyslexia Centre in Norwich and Bury St Edmunds. All of these are accredited assessment centres and are quality assured and approved by the Disabled Students’ Allowances Quality Assurance Group (DSA-QAG).

DSA needs assessment

The Disabled Students’ Allowances (DSAs) provide support on behalf of the UK government that can help with the additional costs disabled students incur in attending their higher education course as a direct result of a disability such as a physical disability, a mental health difficulty, long term illness or a specific learning difference such as dyslexia.

A DSA Needs Assessment is a one to one confidential discussion between the student and a trained assessor to identify the student’s learning support needs. The assessor then writes a report that makes recommendations to the student’s funding body and higher education institution as to how these needs should be met.

During the assessment the assessor will demonstrate and allow you to evaluate software, specialist equipment and technology to determine the best possible solutions to help overcome any difficulties you may experience. The assessor may also discuss and recommend other types of support for example: confidential mentoring or mental health support, specialist tutoring to assist with assignments and assistive technology training.

Book an appointment

Before you book your assessment you will need to have received a ‘DSA Eligibility letter’ from your funding body and will need a copy of the diagnostic evidence of your disability. You can book an appointment by contacting the NAC by email, by phone or in person.


If you would like to give feedback on the service you have received, please fill in the student feedback form for assessments at any of the Needs Assessment Centre locations.