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Access Insights

Tap into the insight of your disabled students

The last five years have seen a sharp increase in disabled students, a trend that will only continue as we live with the consequences of the pandemic. The same period has also seen an increase in reports of HE inaccessibility. Institutions are faced with questions of how to meet the needs of their students and reduce the legal and reputational risk associated with inaccessibility.

The pandemic has shown us a way forward. Universal measures implemented for all have increased accessibility for disabled students and a number of other marginalised groups. Many institutions are now considering how they can maintain the progress made and continue to improve accessibility.

The Access Insights Project allows universities to benefit from the insight of disabled students using an evidence-based approach, enabling universities to improve accessibility in a proactive and cost-effective manner. 

The project evaluates disabled students’ experiences within the institution to provide valuable information about areas of strength and challenges. By gathering information from various institutions, Access Insights also helps institutions understand which accessibility policies are associated with successful outcomes. The results are updated yearly, tracking any progress.

The project was created because of three factors: 

  • There is currently a lack of data on accessibility in the sector. We cannot fix an issue that we do not understand.
  • Disabled students have invaluable knowledge about what works and does not work in accessibility. We see this every day in our work.
  • The most efficient solutions to inaccessibility are structural. Having information about structural issues and solutions allows universities to address accessibility strategically rather than as an add-on. This saves money and time, it also improves morale as staff can focus on what matters rather than fixing messes and dealing with complaints.


Higher Education Providers that sign up to our Access Insights Network make a financial contribution to the project and in return, receive a membership package that allows them to effectively tackle inaccessibility, including:

  • A yearly tailored report with recommendations for how the institution can move forward based on disabled students’ experiences at the institution.
  • A monthly Access Insights brief with informative videos from lived experience experts.
  • 6 hours of DSUK consulting tailored to the HEPs key improvement goals.
  • Becoming part of the Access Insights Network with permission to use the AIN logo on your university website
  • 15% discount on DSUK training and workshops

DSUK is currently looking for pioneering institutions to take part in the pilot. By becoming an Access Insights Member, you send a clear message to your disabled students and invest in efficient ways of improving their access. 

Financial gains:

  • Reducing accessibility costs
  • Avoiding costs associated with legal processes, complaints and crisis management 
  • Increasing funding from OfS by attracting more disabled students

Reputational gains:

  • Improving accessibility rankings
  • Increasing student satisfaction (NSS) and student performance (TEF)
  • Avoiding media scandals, OIA/OfS interventions and legal challenges

Other gains:

  • Benefitting from the academic contributions of an underutilised population
  • Providing disabled students with an equitable experience
  • Reducing the disability employment gap
  • Accessibility improves the experience of all students

If you want to learn more, email us at [email protected] 


Our Mission: To achieve a truly accessible Higher Education experience, ensuring disabled people equal access to education and the societal and self-development opportunities associated with this.

Disabled Students UK has quickly become the largest disabled student-led organisation in the UK. We are made up of almost 500 current and former disabled students from 60 different Higher Education Providers. Due to this and our evidence-based approach, we have been repeatedly approached by decision-makers for consultation. We use disabled-led expertise to increase accessibility in Higher Education. We achieve this through empowering disabled students, spreading disabled students’ insights into accessibility and informing policy.

From rather humble beginnings, through the dedication, commitment and collaborative practices of our community, we are already impacting the sector. A few of our key achievements over the last two years have included:

●     Our report “Impact of the Pandemic on Disabled Students and Recommended Measures (Disabled Students UK, 2020) being mentioned in Parliament;

●  Leading training for Student Union Staff on Tackling Disability Issues and supporting Disabled Students;

●    Being recognised in the Disability Power 100 list as one of Britain’s most influential disabled-led organisations (The Shaw Trust, 2021).

Read more about us and our work here:

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