University students with type 1 diabetes have been urged to apply for government grants after JDRF revealed that thousands of pounds of potential funding is unclaimed every year.

According to JDRF many students eligible for the Disabled Students’ Allowance (DSA) are not applying for the funding – mistakenly believing that only people with a physical disability can make a claim.

DSA provides specialist, bespoke support to help students with long-term health conditions throughout their time at university. Grants are worth up to £5,684 and are based on individual need rather than household income.

For people with type 1 diabetes, the grants could be used to help fund the cost of a fridge to store insulin, travel costs for appointments at diabetes clinics or medical technology.

With financial concerns often cited as one of the main reasons young people don’t apply for university courses, the report highlights the importance of raising awareness of the availability of DSA to help encourage people with type 1 diabetes to pursue higher education.

Dan Farrow, Head of Community Engagement at JDRF, said: “Asking for help and declaring a health condition takes confidence, and we know that when a serious health condition is non-visible, it can be tempting to hide it.

“This is particularly concerning for students with type 1 diabetes who are not only missing out on funding but are worried about telling new friends they make that they have the condition when they get to university.

“However, for students with type 1 diabetes, this issue is compounded further by the fact they are more likely to drop off the radar of their healthcare team and miss out on crucial clinic appointments.

“Universities therefore need to work closely with local health teams to ensure students know where their local clinic, hospital and pharmacy is – so they are better prepared when starting.”

According to a Department of Education report into the effectiveness of DSA support, students in receipt of the grant are 91% more likely to continue their course than those who are eligible, but do not receive it.

Because it can take up to 14 weeks to get DSA support in place, JDRF is recommending universities alert students with long-term health conditions to access DSAs earlier on in the process when applying for university.

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