Going to university is no longer the preserve of a privileged few. Thanks to successive reforms under this government, including a generous student finance system and the abolition of student number controls, anyone who aspires to a higher education can achieve it.
Students of all backgrounds and circumstances are unlocking the potential of a university education and widening their horizons. This includes record numbers of students with a disability.
New figures show 94,120 new students with a disability enrolled at university in England in 2017/18 – that’s up by more than 6,000 on the previous academic year and by some 26,000 since 2013/14. This is an achievement of which we can rightly be proud.
But we must not become complacent. The number of students with a disability starting university is still below the proportion of working-age adults with a disability. So I want us all to do more to show disabled students that going to university can be an option for them.
Nobody should ever be held back from pursuing their dreams by their background or circumstances. And there is certainly no reason why disability should stand in the way of someone going to university and fulfilling their potential.
As part of the government’s commitment to bringing down barriers to access, students with a disability can already access Disabled Students’ Allowances (DSA). These are grants to help students with any extra costs they may incur as a direct result of their disability. Students can use DSAs to cover the costs of specialist equipment, personal support, non-medical helpers or travel costs.