Studying with a disability or chronic illness

There is a wide range of support available, such as disadvantage compensation for academic and examination performance, help with the practical aspects of studying, and disability access.

Students with disabilities or chronic illnesses are vulnerable to being disadvantaged during their studies by buildings, communications, and organizational or methodological-didactic conditions. The law requires the University to ensure that you, as a student with disabilities or chronic illnesses, are not disadvantaged in this way during your studies and that you can take advantage of what the university offers independently as much as possible.

If you have any questions about either the formal or practical aspects of studying at the University of Stuttgart, you can make use of our advisory services for students with a disability or chronic illness at any time.

Disadvantage compensation for academic and examination performance

Any disadvantages faced by disabled students or students with a chronic illness that may affect their academic performance or examination results should be compensated for where possible. If you fulfill the criteria, you have the right to compensatory measures.

Please be aware: any compensatory measures may not alter the academic requirements of the study program, which is why the necessary measures must be determined on an individual basis. Such measures are not about making studying “easy”, they are there to ensure that studying is fair and that everyone has an equal chance at success.

Who is entitled to disadvantage compensation?

The legal definition of the terms disability and chronic illness that German universities also make use of can be found on the webpage of the German national association for student affairs (Deutsches Studentenwerk) [de].

What measures can be taken and how can I apply?

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You make the request for accommodation in testing informally to the Head of your study program's examination committee (Prüfungsausschussvorsitzenden [de]).

You application must include the following points:

  • Which adjustments are you requesting for the examinations?
  • For what reasons are the requested adjustments necessary?
  • It is also necessary to obtain a medical certificate detailing the effects of the disability or chronic illness on your ability to study or to take exams. It is helpful when suggestions for disadvantage compensation are visible on the certificate.

Students with a disability or chronic illness can also file a request for extending testing time or the maximum time to complete the degree. You can find the applicable rules in your study program’s exam regulations [de].

Make an informal request with the Head of your study program's examination eommittee (Prüfungsausschussvorsitzenden [de]). The reuest must be accompanied by a doctor’s attestation. The attest must explicitly state how your illness or disability affect your studies and test taking and, respectively, how it results your needing extra time to complete your studies.

Compensation or problems in individual courses (such as organizational adaptations) may also be taken up and requested directly with the respective instructors. Simple organizational adaptations can often be clarified and taken care of informally through personal conversation.

Advice concerning compensation of disadvantages

In advance of such requests and conversations, your are invited to arrange a counseling session with the Commissioner for students with disabilities or chronic illnesses or with the Student Counseling Center to discuss the possibilities and your individual needs for academic adjustment.

Disability access at the University of Stuttgart

The group AK Barrier-Free Campus has compiled information about disability access to the various buildings at the University of Stuttgart, where you can find information about potential barriers and access to every building, as well as facilities for people with limited mobility and infrastructural measures for those with sight or hearing impairments.

Disability access to buildings [de]

The University of Stuttgart has large stock of old buildings that are not yet totally accessible by wheelchair. The University is in the process of making its buildings fully accessible one by one. If you are faced with the problem of an inaccessible destination, say a lecture hall or office, be sure to get in touch without delay with the Commissioner for students with disabilities or chronic illnesses or the Engineering and Constructions Division, so that an interim solution can be implemented.

If lectures or examination rooms do not have disabled access, please contact the representative for disabled persons or the relevant lecturer in good time before the examinations take place so that alternative rooms can be organized.

General support

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At the Campus Stadtmitte University Library, the visually impaired have use of a specially-equipped electronic workstation for academic research of data bases, the Internet, and printed media.

Both the University Libraries on the campuses Vaihingen and Stadtmitte have wheel-chair accessible study workstations and wheelchair-accessible research cubicles for using the library’s electronic services. Since neither location is fully accessible, please get in touch with library staff in Vaihingen and Stadtmitte ahead of any visits that you may be planning to these locations.

On the website of the UB you can find further information on accessible workstations [de].

Students can finance “additional educational needs due to disability” with funds from integration assistance if you meet certain criteria. You can find out more about this on the Deutschen Studentenwerk webpage [de].

The disability representatives at the Studierendenwerk Stuttgart are happy to offer advice on available support, aids and financial help.

In certain circumstances, severely disabled students are exempt from part of the semester fees (the VVS fees). The conditions for this can be found on the admissions office website under fees and charges.

If you believe you belong to the group that is exempt from paying VVS fees then you can apply for a refund.

If you need to occupy a particular place in a lecture hall, you can post signs ahead of a lecture to reserve your place. You can obtain your placards through the Commissioner for students with disabilities or chronic illnesses or the Student Counseling Center. You find the contact information and the bottom of this page.

Relaxation rooms at the University of Stuttgart

The University of Stuttgart is currently setting up relaxation rooms, with more to come in the future, for students and employees with disabilities and chronic illnesses.

You are welcome to use the relaxation rooms if you need to lie down or rest during the day, or if you need to escape the hustle and bustle of uni life for a short period. These rooms are intended as spaces for relaxation, but they may also be used by students or employees with children, or as breast-feeding or nappy-changing rooms. These rooms cannot be reserved for specific times or specific people. More than one person can use these spaces at any one time as long as this is acceptable for all parties.

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The “Multifunctional Space” is in the Haus der Studierenden on the 4th floor, room number 4.006. This room can be used as:

  • A relaxation room for disabled people, those with a chronic illness and pregnant women
  • Parent and child room
  • Breast-feeding and changing room

A lounger with privacy screen, a table with a telephone, as well as a changing table and a KidsBox are all available in this room.

This room can be used by students and employees at the University of Stuttgart and it is available for either single or repeated use – just for a short time or even for a whole day. It is not currently necessary to sign up in advance.

By using the room, you automatically agree to the terms and conditions [de]. A key is available from these people/locations [de].

This multifunctional space is new and the utilization concept is currently being tested so it would be great to receive your feedback [de].

The relaxation room on the Stadtmitte campus is located at Geschwister-Scholl-Str. 24 C on the 1st floor, room number 1.124. This room can be used as:

  • A relaxation room for disabled people, those with a chronic illness and pregnant women
  • Breast-feeding and changing room

Two loungers with privacy screens and 2 tables are available in this room.

This room can be used by students and employees at the University of Stuttgart and it is available for either single or repeated use – just for a short time or even for a whole day. It is not currently necessary to sign up in advance.

By using the room, you automatically agree to the terms and conditions [de]. A key is available from these people/locations [de].

This multifunctional space is new and the utilization concept is currently being tested so it would be great to receive your feedback [de].

Legal requirements

You can find the relevant legal information on the following websites:

The German national nssociation for student affairs (Deutsches Studentenwerk [de]) also offers a helpful summary of legal requirements, regulations and recommendations.

Guidelines for disadvantage compensation depend on the individual study programs and can be found in the examination regulations of the respective study programs [de].

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Dipl.-Ing.agr., M.Sc.

Sigrid Eicken

Commissioner for students with disabilities

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Dipl.-Päd.

Jeannette von Wolff

Deputy to Commissioner for students with disabilities