Nachteilsausgleich

Compensation for disadvantages in academic performance and examinations

Students with a chronic illness or disability are often impaired in their studies:

  • Structural barriers hinder people with limited mobility.
  • Hospital stays or medical treatment can lead to interruptions in studies.
  • The ability to work and perform can be severely restricted by an illness.
  • A large part of the personal time budget has to be used to cope with the illness/disability-related effort.

For this reason, the Higher Education Framework Act (§2, para.4 HRG) requires that universities must work to ensure that students with impairments are not disadvantaged in their studies. The higher education laws of the various federal states take up these stipulations and create the possibility for individual compensation for disadvantages in order to avoid discrimination and ensure participation in university life.

Financial compensation for disadvantages

BAföG:

Training assistance under the Federal Training Assistance Act (BAföG) also comes first for disabled and chronically ill students to finance their studies if they do not have sufficient funds of their own. Unless other cost units finance the studies. This may be the case if the disability is the result of a vaccination injury, an accident at work or an accident while attending day care or school.

In accordance with the general administrative regulations, the Office for Educational Funding usually bases its determination of disability on certificates issued by other bodies, e.g. in the form of the severely disabled person's ID card.

Funding beyond the maximum funding period

According to §15 Para. 3 No. 5, a disability or chronic illness, for example, is a reason that can lead to continued funding. This reason should be substantiated in good time and with the agreement of the case officer before the end of the maximum funding period. In addition, it must be shown credibly that the training was delayed due to a disability or chronic illness and that it was not possible to prevent the delay in training. This is possible, for example, by means of medical certificates.

Illness

Pursuant to Section 15, Paragraph 3, No. 1, an illness that has led to a delay in training can be a serious reason for granting support beyond the maximum support period. In these cases, too, it must be shown credibly that the illness was the cause of the delay in training and that the delay could not have been prevented.

Further information on this topic can be found at

German Student Union

AStA Social Counselling

Compensation for disadvantages in examination performance

What is a disadvantage compensation?

Students with a disability or chronic illness are often directly impaired in their studies. Such restrictions are to be counteracted with the help of a disadvantage compensation. Affected students have a legal right to corresponding regulations.

Compensation for disadvantages in study and examination performance relates to the form of the performance to be given; the quality requirements are not affected by this. It is therefore not a matter of simplifying examination performance, but of changing the framework conditions.

Who can make use of disadvantage compensation?

All students who are restricted in their studies due to a health impairment can make use of the disadvantage compensation. It does not matter whether it is a recognised severe disability or a chronic illness. Chronic mental impairments also fall into this category, as do reading and spelling difficulties and ADD/ADHD.

What does a disadvantage compensation look like?

Compensation for disadvantages is always an individual solution, as it compensates for specific limitations of an individual case. Therefore, it is important to clearly explain in the application what the impairment is and how it can be compensated.

Examples of compensation for a disadvantage:

Oral instead of written examination (e.g. for the visually impaired)

Written instead of oral examination (e.g. for the hearing impaired)

Extension of writing time for examinations (e.g. for motor impairments, but also for dyslexia, ADS, diabetes, long-term use of sedating medication)

Writing an exam in a separate room (e.g. in the case of severe concentration disorders).

Homework instead of a presentation

Interrupting an examination with breaks

Extending the time needed to complete homework, final papers, etc.

Use of technical aids

Possibility of withdrawing from examinations due to illness

Shortening of examination periods

This list is only exemplary and intended as a source of ideas. Which compensation for disadvantages is appropriate in individual cases always depends on the specific impairment. There can be no schematic solutions in this context.

How do I apply for compensation for disadvantages?

In the interest of all parties involved, a "lean" procedure should be chosen that causes little bureaucratic effort. The following procedure has proven successful:

  1. First, contact the examiner in charge and discuss the personal request.
  2. The application for compensation for a disadvantage should be submitted to the relevant examination office. You can find the relevant form here: Apply for thegranting of a disadvantage compensation during examinations. Information on the illness is necessary, but not necessarily a diagnosis. The application should make it clear to a medical layperson which limitations - in relation to the course of study - exist. In addition, suggestions should be made as to how a compensation for disadvantages can look in a specific case.
  3. A medical certificate must be enclosed. Here, too, it is not the diagnosis that is relevant, but the comprehensibility of the impairment.
  4. The application is submitted to the responsible examination office.
  5. This forwards it to the examination board. The examination board decides on the application in a timely manner and sends a written decision.

An application for compensation for a disadvantage must always be submitted in good time before the examination.

In the case of permanent restrictions, one application can also be submitted for several examinations in order to keep the administrative burden low. If, for example, it is foreseeable that someone will always have problems with handwritten exams due to a motor impairment, the use of a laptop can be applied for for all future exams.

As a rule, students with disabilities or chronic illnesses know best where limitations exist and how they can be compensated for. Sometimes, however, it can be useful to look for a suitable solution in a joint discussion between students, subject representatives and a counselling institution.

Requirements for medical certificates:

If possible, the certificate should be issued by the attending doctor or therapist. This can be a specialist doctor, but also a family doctor.

Diagnostic tests, e.g. for dyslexia, should not be older than 5 years.

It is not necessary to give the exact diagnosis or medical history. However, the symptoms that lead to an impairment in the study situation should be described as precisely as possible.

If possible, official medical reports should be dispensed with due to the high costs involved.

Data protection

  • Both the Examination Office and the Examination Committee are obliged to maintain confidentiality towards third parties.
  • An application for disadvantage compensation must be treated confidentially.
  • The answer to an application will be given in written form.

You are welcome to contact us, we will be happy to help you.

(Changed: 2021-10-03)