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Disabled Students Allowance: the paradoxical effect of good news

May 7, 2014

Searching for recent information on the current DSA review, I found this Scottish Government news release from March 2009 announcing the outcome of the previous DSA review.  It says:

“In response to the interim findings, we have already increased the maximum threshold of the non-medical help allowance for disabled students by 60 per cent. Today, following the recommendations from the final report, we will be putting in place additional measures to improve the help available, from ensuring students no longer have to meet the costs of a DSA diagnosis to extending the DSA provisions to cover support with voluntary tutorials.”

The paradox is that – as an earlier post on this topic showed – spending on DSA peaked in 2008-09 and then started to fall. See here:  DSA spend and claims The fall in spending in Scotland after 2008-09 was not reflective of a UK-wide trend, for example.DSA UK comps

So the news release describes changes which might have been expected to lead to an increase rather than decrease spending. Yet implementation of the review  coincided with a fall in spend not seen anywhere else in the UK.  That’s got to be a puzzle worth understanding better.

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