What if I have a disability? The University of Cambridge welcomes applications from disabled students or those with a chronic illness – like any other student you can thrive here. Every effort is made to provide a suitable learning environment for disabled students. The University’s Disability Resource Centre (DRC) is an essential first contact point for you. The Centre offers advice and information, support, and resources to disabled students. As well as giving support and advice to those studying at Cambridge, they are happy to give advice to prospective students before they apply to the University. Contact details for the Disability Resource Centre (DRC) are given at the end of this leaflet. For those considering the University of Cambridge, arrangements can be made for informal visits to Colleges and/or departments within the University and we can also put you in touch with other disabled students who are studying here. For advice about your application and to discuss your specific requirements you should contact the Admissions Office at one of the undergraduate Colleges and your proposed department as soon as possible. Prospective students with severe mobility or sensory impairments are encouraged to visit Cambridge to assess the suitability of their intended College and department before making their application. _________________________________________________________________________ Location and Accessibility – Cambridge is a collegiate university, so students are based in Colleges for day-to-day living and go to a faculty or department for lectures, practical work etc. You will need to consider the location and facilities of these in relation to each other when deciding which College to apply to. Please bear in mind that Cambridge itself is an historic city with some narrow and cobbled streets. You may find it helpful to refer to the Access Guide found on the DRC’s website. Study and Academic Support – With your agreement the Disability Resource Centre team will liaise with relevant staff before you begin your studies to ensure that appropriate support is in place. If you require support workers such as note takers or interpreters, please note that the University runs a Non-Medical Assistants Scheme, which you can use to be matched up with the appropriate support. Examination Arrangements – If you have a disability, Specific Learning Difficulties (SpLDs) or a chronic illness you may require specific arrangements for examinations, such as additional time, someone to write on your behalf or use of specialist equipment. The Disability Resource Centre team can advise on how these arrangements can be put in place. College tutorial offices and the Board of Examinations are responsible for this process. Support for Students with Specific Learning Difficulties – SpLDs (such as Dyslexia and Dyspraxia) – On-going support is provided for students with SpLDs and may include: -
liaising with tutors and departmental staff regarding individual problems connected with your course information on assessing specialist study skills tuition.
Students with SpLDs who wish to continue to receive special examination arrangements once at the University are advised to obtain a full post-16 assessment report by an Educational Psychologist with a full BPS Practising Certificate (that identifies them as an Educational Psychologist), or Specialist Teacher with the PAToSS Practising Certificate in SpLD Assessment before coming to Cambridge. The report should be no more than three years old when you start your course and should follow the format recommended in the DfES Working Group Guidelines on Assessment of Students with Specific Learning Difficulties (2005). The DRC can offer advice on how to source an assessment to meet these criteria and provide assessors with the University’s Guidelines on Assessment of Students with SpLDs. All recommendations for examination arrangements must be clearly and specifically stated. Many students do not realise they have a specific learning difficulty until they start university, and remain undiagnosed until this point. The DRC is able to carry out Initial Assessments for students who are encountering difficulties with their work at the University that could be caused by the presence of a specific learning difficulty. A full assessment with an Educational Psychologist can be arranged subsequently, if required. Library and Information Services – The DRC has a list detailing the accessibility of all the College and faculty libraries around the University. Many are in old historic buildings that may be difficult to access, but in such instances alternative arrangements can be made for those with mobility difficulties. There is also a new Assistive Technology Area in the main University Library and a new ebooks service for members of the University. Accommodation – Each of the 29 undergraduate Colleges provide their own student accommodation. Disabled students should discuss any specific requirements with the College to which they are intending to apply. Those with mobility impairments are encouraged to visit to assess suitability prior to making their application. As well as access within the College, the distance from the relevant department and its facilities should be considered. Financial Support – UK/EU students are eligible to apply for the Disabled Students’ Allowance (DSA). The Disability Resource Centre team can give assistance with your application for the DSA. In addition, once at Cambridge there are specific grants that disabled students may apply for. Frequently asked questions What sort of disabilities do Cambridge students have? New students at Cambridge indicate disabilities and SpLDs from across the spectrum. In fact there are over 1,000 current students who have disclosed a disability. I have a disability; can you tell me which Colleges are accessible? Prospective applicants should bear in mind that department as well as College accessibility needs to be taken into consideration (as well as their relative locations in the case of mobility impairments) – see the DRC’s Access Guide for more information at: www.admin.cam.ac.uk/univ/disability/guide/. I have had a disrupted education as a result of my disability – can this be taken into account? Please look at details about the Cambridge Special Access Scheme (CSAS) at: www.cam.ac.uk/admissions/undergraduate/apply/csas.html.
I am a UK student with personal care needs for my disability – what do I need to do? You should contact the College to which you are considering applying to discuss the availability of suitable accommodation. You should also contact your local Social Services Department to discuss your support needs. The Disability Advisers at the Disability Resource Centre can also provide advice. I have a diagnosis of dyslexia which was made when I was 15 – is this assessment still acceptable? No. To access support you will need a full assessment that has been completed while you are in post-16 education and is no more than three years old when you enter the University. For further information, see the ‘Support for Students with Specific Learning Difficulties’ section above or contact the Disability Adviser for Specific Learning Difficulties at the Disability Resource Centre. When I come for interview what do I do about special arrangements for my disability? You will need to contact the Admissions Office of the College to which you have applied and discuss the arrangements that you will need to be put in place. The Disability Resource Centre team can also guide you through the process appropriate for your disability. I am a wheelchair-user, should I come and look around before making my application? Yes. Further information should initially be sought from the DRC’s Access Guide at: www.admin.cam.ac.uk/univ/disability/guide/. The Disability Advisers at the Disability Resource Centre can also guide you through the process. I would like to study Medicine/Veterinary Medicine/Education and have a disability, am I eligible? Professional bodies have their own rules regarding fitness to practise. Contact the Disability Resource Centre team and see the following websites: - Medicine: o www.cam.ac.uk/admissions/undergraduate/courses/medicine/requirement s.html#health o www.bma.org.uk/ - Veterinary Medicine: o www.vet.cam.ac.uk/application/ o www.rcvs.org.uk/ - Education: o www.educ.cam.ac.uk/ o www.tda.gov.uk/ I am very anxious about coming to Cambridge with my particular disability – can you put me in contact with a Cambridge student with a similar disability? If you contact the Disability Resource Centre team they will try to put you in touch with current undergraduates with similar disabilities.
I will need note takers/assistance to help me – do I need to do anything before I arrive? Yes. You should contact the Disability Resource Centre team for further information about the Non-Medical Assistants Scheme. Prospective UK students should also contact the Student Loans Company about funding to help pay for this assistance well in advance of starting their course. For further information, visit: www.direct.gov.uk/studentfinance/. How do I finance the support I need because of my disability? The extra costs you may face while at university because of your disability can be met through the Disabled Students’ Allowance. This is administered through the Student Loans Company. For further information, visit: www.direct.gov.uk/studentfinance/. There are also some limited supplementary University funds for disabled students. More information is available at: www.cam.ac.uk/cambuniv/disability/students/funds.html. The Snowdon Award Scheme can also help in some cases, see: www.snowdonawardscheme.org.uk.
Finding out more If, having read this leaflet, you have any further questions, please contact a College Admissions Office or: Disability Resource Centre Keynes House Trumpington Street Cambridge CB2 1QA Telephone: 01223 332301 Textphone: 01223 764085 Email: email@example.com Website: www.cam.ac.uk/cambuniv/disability/ The University’s Access Guide to the Colleges and departments is available online at: www.admin.cam.ac.uk/univ/disability/guide/ and in various accessible formats. You may also find the following websites useful: •
The National Bureau for Students with Disabilities provides information and advice on finance and applying to university: www.skill.org.uk
The Disabled Students’ Allowance: www.direct.gov.uk/studentfinance/
This information is available in alternative accessible formats upon request to either the Disability Resource Centre or the Cambridge Admissions Office.
Produced by: Disability Resource Centre (May 2010) Distributed by: Cambridge Admissions Office, Fitzwilliam House, 32 Trumpington Street, Cambridge CB2 1QY Telephone: 01223 333308 Fax: 01223 366383 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: www.cam.ac.uk/admissions/