Disability and special needs

UK universities and colleges are inclusive places that are equally welcoming to disabled and non-disabled students. They are legally required to make all facilities on campus accessible to all and not to discriminate against disabled students.

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 that 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 older buildings may pose a challenge.
  • What exams and learning support is available? You may qualify for extra time during examinations and support for classes.

Sight-impaired students

  • 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.

Deaf students

  • 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.

Dyslexic students

  • 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.
  • What other support is available? 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 specific UK universities, colleges and schools themselves.

Ask your teachers or others in your network if they know of any such schemes you could apply for. You could also directly contact the institution you wish to apply to, to ask about scholarships and other financial assistance available for international students.

Find out more about general scholarships and financial support.

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