UK universities and colleges are inclusive places that are equally welcoming to disabled and non-disabled students. They are legally required not to discriminate against disabled students and to make all facilities on campus accessible to all.
These laws apply to international students in the same way as they do to students who are UK citizens.
Getting advice and support
Before you enrol on a UK course, we strongly recommend you contact your chosen university or college to tell them about your needs and to ask them the following questions:
Physically disabled students
- How accessible is the campus? Most institutions have wheelchair-friendly routes around their buildings but some old buildings may pose a challenge.
- What exams and learning support is available? You may qualify for extra time during examinations and support for classes.
- What exams and learning support is available? You may be entitled to access support such as Braille text, tutor recordings, text-to-speech technology, transcription services and magnification software. You may also be able to request extra time during exams.
- What are the sign language options? Signers in the UK generally use British Sign Language but you may want to check if other options are available too.
- Can I get help during lectures and seminars? You may be able to request help from note-takers or get print-outs of lectures. Many lecture theatres and classrooms will have audio induction loop systems, so it’s worth asking if these facilities are available.
- Will I have to complete a dyslexia assessment? Even if you have already been told that you are dyslexic you may be asked to complete a dyslexia assessment. This will help the university determine what support you need and how they can best help you. You can also request an assessment if you suspect you have dyslexia but have not been tested before.
- What exams and learning support is available? You may qualify for sessions with specialist tutors, additional learning resources and extra time in tests and exams.
Your university or college may also be able to arrange regular meetings with a disability adviser, or even a local doctor if needed.
Scholarships and financial support
There are a number of UK scholarships and financial support schemes for international students with disabilities and special educational needs. These schemes may be run by UK or international governments, charities or businesses – or by the UK universities, colleges and schools themselves.
Ask your local British Council office, which you can find via the 'Choose your country' drop-down menu, or your teachers if they know of any such schemes you could apply for. You could also contact the institution you wish to apply to directly, to ask about scholarships and other financial assistance available for international students.
You can find out more about scholarships and financial support generally here.
Disabled Students' Allowance
Some international higher education students in England are entitled to the Disabled Students' Allowance. It is open to:
- EU (European Union) students who have been ordinarily resident in the UK and Islands for three years immediately before the first day of their first academic year.
- EEA (European Economic Area) and Swiss migrant workers who have been ordinarily resident in the EEA for three years immediately before the first day of their first academic year, and who are assessed as meeting the criteria of ‘worker’.