Students with Health Impairments

As many as twelve per cent of all students enrolled at German universities have a disability or chronic disease that impairs their access to higher education. They face a number of challenges while pursuing their degree.

Ruhr-Universität strives to facilitate equal-opportunity access to education: students with disabilities or chronic diseases that impair their access to higher education are eligible for access arrangements (“Nachteilsausgleiche”) – when they get admitted to university, for individual exams or lecture, and in some cases for the duration of the entire degree programme (if, for example, their health impairment means that it will take them longer to complete their degree).

Thus, we do not only comply with legal requirements, but we also work towards the common goal of establishing inclusive higher education in accordance with the notion of universitas.

Application for access arrangements can be downloaded at the website of the joint examination board (“Gemeinsamer Prüfungsausschuss”)

Taking advantage of the services

Unfortunately, not all eligible students take advantage of the access arrangements: some are not aware of that options, others reject what they consider preferential treatment, or they don’t want others to know about their impairment.

We would like to encourage and invite you to get advice – it is fully confidential and might help you assess to what extent and in what way your academic career may benefit from access arrangements.

Health impairments

Many health impairments are invisible: those include multiple sclerosis, cardiovascular or gastrointestinal diseases, diabetes, specific developmental disorders such as dyslexia, as well as mental disorders such as depression or anxiety, which make up 47 per cent of all health impairments among students. Students suffering from any of these disorders are likewise eligible for access arrangements.

Who provides advice?

The Service Centre for Disabled Students (BZI) at the academic services office Akademisches Förderungswerk provides professional and individual advice to RUB students with health impairments regarding university admissions, degree programmes and access arrangements.

The service centre, moreover, houses wheelchair-accessible workstations and technical aids. These workstations are monitored by IT.Services, which also implement access arrangements for exams.

Additional information at the BZI homepage:

Implementation of access arrangements in exams and other services provided by IT.Services:

Further information for international students with disabilities


Another important issue for students with health impairments is the question of funding. Students with disabilities or chronic diseases are generally less likely to support themselves with ease. RUB’s social services and funding department (“Sozial- und Studienfinanzierungsberatung”) provides advice on access arrangement regulations for students receiving student loans (BAFöG), as well as available applications for additional and social benefits.

Additional information and contacts are listed at the funding website and at the pages of the German National Association for Student Affairs (“Deutsches Studentenwerk”).

Additional information and services for students with health impairments

  • University library services for students with disabilities and chronic diseases
  • RUB campus map
    for wheelchair users
  • Kompetenzzentrum NRW: Information and consultancy centre for students with (in)visible disabilities and/or chronic diseases
  • Self-help groups: List at the student counselling centre website
  • AKAFÖ also provides rooms in student halls that are fully accessible for students with disabilities.
    AKAFÖ: Accommodation
  • Thanks to the huge selection offered by the university sports department, students with health impairments can easily find a discipline that suits their requirements. The university sports service office is happy to help. If you already know that you’d like to work out at the university gym Unifit, make an appointment for an initial interview.
    University sports

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