Disabled Students Allowance (DSA) payments processed within/outwith 21 days of receipt: FOI release

Information request and response under the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002.

Information requested


The number of DSA payments processed within 21 days of receipt of application for academic years 2010-2011 to 2018-2019. 

The number of DSA payments processed outwith 21 days of receipt of application for academic years 2010-2011 to 2018-2019.




Please find below a table of the number of DSA applications processed within and outwith 21 days of receipt in respect of academic years 2011-2012 to 2017-2018. Please note that DSA payments will be processed at the same time as the DSA application.  

Academic Year

Applications processed within 21 days

Applications processed outwith 21 days






















 Note: student numbers are rounded to nearest 5.

 In 2010-2011 we received 5400 DSA applications. However, in this instance the costs of locating, retrieving and providing the number of DSA applications processed within and outwith 21 days would exceed the upper cost limit of £600. This is because student records prior to 2011-2012 are stored on our legacy system which contains skeletal information. In order to confirm when the application was processed we would need to manually check each of the 5400 records. 

Under section 12 of FOISA public authorities are not required to comply with a request for information if the authority estimates that the cost of complying would exceed the upper cost limit, which is currently set at £600 by Regulations made under section 12. 

Whilst analysing the data we found that the reason for the delay in processing many of the cases was due to awaiting receipt of additional/ supporting evidence. An application is not considered processed until we receive all the evidence from the applicant. Please note that the dates  on the system in respect of ‘received’ and ‘processed’ are manually entered by caseworkers, therefore please be advised that human error can occur. 

Furthermore, an exemption under section 30(c) (Otherwise prejudice effective conduct of public affairs) of FOISA applies to the information for the 2018-2019 academic session. The reason why this exemption applies is explained in the Annex to this letter.




An exemption applies, subject to the public interest test 

An exemption under section 30(c) of FOISA (prejudice to the conduct of public affairs) applies to the information you requested in relation to academic session 2018-2019. This exemption applies because the National Statistics Publication for session 2018-2019 academic year is scheduled to be published at the end of October.  As set out in the Code of Practice for Statistics‘No indication of the statistics should be made public and the statistics should not be given to any other party without prior permission for access’. This request would provide an indication of the statistics due to be published, which would constitute substantial prejudice to the effective conduct of public affairs in terms of the exemption. 

This exemption is subject to the ‘public interest test’.  Therefore, taking account of all the circumstances of this case, we have considered if the public interest in disclosing the information outweighs the public interest in applying the exemption.  We have found that, on balance, the public interest lies in favour of upholding the exemption.  We recognise that there is some public interest in release because statistics relating to student funding are published.  However, this is outweighed by the public interest in maintaining the integrity of the published data. The information in the Publication may differ from what we would provide to you, therefore releasing the data in the request will affect the integrity and accuracy of the publication. 

The SAAS Statistics publication will be published at the end of October on this page. If the information and statistics are not sufficient please submit a further FoI after this date.


About FOI

The Scottish Government is committed to publishing all information released in response to Freedom of Information requests. View all FOI responses at http://www.gov.scot/foi-responses.


Please quote the FOI reference
Central Enquiry Unit
Email: ceu@gov.scot
Phone: 0300 244 4000

The Scottish Government
St Andrews House
Regent Road

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