The NMH costs for deaf students exceed the £25,575 DSA budget – any tips?

Even though the DSA budget has been increased to £25,575 and is more streamlined, deaf students will more than likely exceed this budget.

So, let's talk about why and how to manage this situation.

Why do deaf students exceed the budget?

Deaf people have different needs based on their preferences for communication, so this will very much dictate what the budget spend looks like.

So, take a look here to learn more about the different types of support for deaf students:

If the deaf student is a British Sign Language (BSL) user, they will be watching the BSL Interpreter throughout the lecture/seminar/discussion, which means that they are unable to take notes at the same time.
Hearing people can listen to the lecturer and take notes, or look around the room, listen, think and note down what is relevant. Deaf students can’t do that, as they are watching the Interpreter.

This means that all deaf students who are working with BSL Interpreters will need a Notetaker too.

So that is already 2 NMH services.

In addition to this, deaf students benefit highly from working alongside a Specialist Support Professional (SSP)

This professional works in a tailored way to support the individual’s needs and their personal learning style.

They will work with the deaf student:

  • Planning workload
  • Structuring assignments
  • Support access to research sources
  • Support preparation for assignments
  • Proof reading and giving advice on use of English language in essays
  • Provide the HEI with specific advice on making adjustments aimed at the disability team and teaching staff

This support is crucial for students who use BSL as their first of preferred language.

BSL has a different grammatical structure:

English: What is your name?


So, if a deaf student primarily uses BSL, they will most likely find it difficult to write in English. This is because the BSL grammatical structure will seep into the writing.

An SSP can support Deaf BSL students in essay planning, structuring and revising. This will support the student in reaching their full potential, as they will not be held back by a language barrier.

SSP support is useful for the whole range of deaf students. Even students with a hearing loss will find it challenging to access their education and curriculum.

So there we go – three NMH support workers needed.


How to manage

This section is not focused upon how to decrease the spend, but how to best manage it.

Communication – communication – communication!

Inform the deaf student: When the deaf student is aware that the budget wil be exceeded, there won’t be any suprises later on (that can lead to concern and stress).

Inform the University: What we have been seeing more recently, is DSA Assessors informing the University that there is likley to be an overspend, which they will need to source and fund.

When the University knows early, they are aware early and able to start sourcing funding before the deaf student even starts their studies.

We like to keep things simple, so when we start supporting a deaf student, and have received a timetable, we will communicate the DSA spend amounts to the University.

This keeps the University informed from the start, which means that they are not running around at the last minute trying to source funding, and risking the deaf student not recieving support.

The added benefit, is that this reduces stress for the student, enabling them to focus entirely on their studies.

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