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Going to university and higher education

Closeup of a graduate facing away wearing a cap and gown with purple robes.

Many young people with special educational needs and disabilities decide to go on to university and higher education.

There are opportunities locally and nationally for young people to study at this level.

Can universities meet my needs?

According to the law, universities must try their best to support students who have SEND. Examples of things a university can do to help you with your studies might include:

  • Making sure class materials are available in a format you can understand.
  • Giving you extra time to complete coursework or exams.
  • Providing extra support around study skills, how to use computer software, the library etc.
  • Assigning you a support worker who can help you organise your studies.
  • Arranging for specialist equipment

These changes are called “reasonable adjustments”. They make sure that young people with SEND have the same access to a university education. You can read more about your rights to reasonable adjustments from the websites below:

Adjustments for disabled students | Disability Rights UK

Autism Hampshire - a guide to starting university

More information on going to university and higher education

Universities local to Portsmouth City

The main university in our city is the University of Portsmouth, although many students from the city go further afield. We have shared links below to the universities which are closest to the city.

Universities have information on their websites with the support they offer. Below are some examples of local universities.

Additional Support & Disability Advice | University of Portsmouth

Disability support | Student Disability & Wellbeing | University of Southampton

Disability support (

Disability, Learning Difficulties and Medical Conditions – University of Chichester

Wellbeing – University of Winchester

Applying for university

To apply for a place at university you will need to do this through UCAS if you want to study full time. If you wish to study part-time you may be able apply to the university directly.

There is lots of information on the UCAS website and some helpful videos to explain how you apply for a place at university.

You can find out more by clicking here 

Attend a university open day before applying

Lots of universities have open days where you can go and visit and see the buildings and the places where you might live if you move away.

Each university will advertise their open days on their websites.

Financial help for students with SEND at university

The Disabled Students’ Allowance (DSA) is support to cover the study-related costs you have because of a mental health problem, long term illness or any other disability.

This can be on its own or in addition to any student finance you get.  The type of support and how much you get depends on your individual needs – not your household income.

Help if you’re a student with a learning difficulty, health problem or disability: Disabled Students’ Allowance – GOV.UK (

EHCP's and support for young people when they go to university

If you have previously had an Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP), it can be a good idea to share your plan with the university you want to go to. This will help them understand your needs and make sure the right reasonable adjustments are put into place.

SEND Going to University

You can download this easy-read guide produced by Hampshire Careers Partnership to help you decide if University is for you. SEND going to University

Get in touch - tell us what you think

Contact the Portsmouth Send Local Offer to gain help, get more information or to leave feedback about the website.

Get in touch