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Studying in Germany with a disability

Expatrio 2024-02-15
Person im Rollstuhl


There is assistance available in universities throughout Germany for students with special needs. This assistance includes advice on studying, information about accommodation and financial support for additional costs and other disability benefits that you may incur due to your illness or disability.

Help is available from various places, including directly from the university, Studentenwerk, and other non-profit organizations.

To be eligible for this assistance, you must first register with Studentenwerk, which is the organization that provides services to students in Germany. 

You can do this by submitting a copy of your disability certification from a medical professional. Once you are registered, you will be able to take advantage of the services and support that Studentenwerk offers. Assistance for disabled students aims to provide a level playing field, with accessibility and opportunities equivalent to all other students.


Deutsches Studentenwerk

The organization is active at most German universities.

The Deutsches Studentenwerk offers support and advice to current and prospective students for a wide range of subjects. This non-profit organization can be especially important for students with disabilities, as it can provide the most relevant and specific information about the university you are applying to.


What kind of assistance can I seek as a disabled student in Germany?

The majority of universities offer advice for disabled students through the Studentenwerk, so it is a good idea to start by contacting them first.

Advisors can assist with general information about studying and taking exams, specific issues relating to your disability and any financial concerns you may have.

All international students require health insurance while they are studying in Germany. It is especially important to get the right amount of coverage if you have a disability or chronic illness. Expatrio works in partnership with Techniker Krankenkasse (TK) to help students to organize the most appropriate health insurance coverage to suit their individual needs.

Techniker Krankenkasse
Expatrio's Partner - Techniker Krankenkasse - can help you with all your questions regarding Health Insurance in Germany. It is specialized on individual needs of the costumers and patients.


University’s office for disabled students

Where do I get support as a student with a disability in Germany?

As an international student, the university's International Office deals with applications, course information and enrollment. You can also ask about the services that the office provides specifically for students with disabilities when you apply or inquire about a course. Staff may also point you in the direction of the local Studentenwerk or the Advising Office for Handicapped and Chronically Ill Students.

There is also a great deal of support available online. DAADDeutscher Akademischer Austauschdienst (German Academic Exchange Service), provides information and support for international students. This organization also trains university staff on the particular needs of disabled students and ensures that they are treated fairly.

Students can apply for grants to cover the additional costs incurred due to their disability or illness, such as extra study time, a sign-language interpreter or aid.

The university's website or the relevant Studentenwerk will provide contact information for individuals or services that offer assistance locally.


How can I find out if there’s an assistance service at my chosen university?

Look up the International Office or the Office for Disabled Students at the university where you are interested in studying. This office will be able to advise which services are available for students who are handicapped or chronically ill.

There are various forms of assistance available to students with disabilities in Germany. These range from wheelchair-accessible accommodation to financial support for equipment or help with your studies.

Barrierefrei (accessible) accommodation is offered by Studentenwerke in Germany. These apartments are designed to accommodate the physical needs of students with mobility or visual impairments, as well as those who use a wheelchair.

Another German term you may see is Nachteilsausgleich (compensation for disadvantages), which are intended to create equal opportunities for disabled students. These accommodations vary between universities and the course you are taking. They may include the use of a computer instead of writing by hand or being allowed extra time to complete an examination.

In addition, there are many services available to all international students. These include general advice about your studies, counseling services such as psychotherapeutic and psychosocial, and buddy systems to help you to settle in to life as a student in Germany.


Do I need to prove my disability?

In order to secure grant funding, you will need to be able to prove that the additional costs being incurred are directly related to your disability.

Ensure that you open a blocked bank account. You will need one as an international student in Germany. Expatrio can help you to complete the necessary paperwork to open one.


Scholarships for disabled students in Germany

There usually aren't any scholarships aimed directly at students with disabilities, but you can apply for any scholarship that is available

There is assistance available to cover additional costs that are related to your disability. Grants given for this reason will not affect any funding you receive from BAföG, Bundesausbildungsförderungsgesetz (the Federal Education and Training Assistance Act).

Many courses in Germany are free, however, along with standard living costs there can be extra expenses related to the needs of disabled students.

In addition to offering standard scholarships, DAAD can provide additional costs of up to €10,000 that are not covered by other funding sources. Applications for these grants are assessed on a case-by-case basis.

University advisors can assist with information about BAföG funding. There are several special accommodations for students with special needs, for example, a longer funding period or other grants not being included in income consideration.

If you're looking for more information about studying in Germany as a disabled student, get in touch with one of our education advisors. We would be happy to help you!

We're here to help make your dream of studying in Germany a reality!

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