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Studying with disabilities

We advise students with disabilities or chronic illnesses on all questions ranging from accessibility to study organization.

Counseling and support for students with disabilities at the University of Stuttgart

We support students with disability and chronic illness throughout their studies.

Students with disabilities have a clearly defined right for compensation of disadvantages (Section 2, para: 3 State Higher Education Act [de]). For example, examination time limits can be extended and prearranged testing formats agreed on.

Who does the counseling?

The University of Stuttgart offers various counseling and support options for addressing your personal situation on the way to working out solutions. Should you require adaptations to help in your studies, we want to discuss what you need with you and what you or we have need to do.

The University of Stuttgart’s Commissioner for students with disabilities or chronic illnesses supports and advises prospective and current students with disabilities or chronic illnesses regarding their disability-related problems. This may involve questions of accessibility, of study organization, or of the formal aspects of studying (e.g., academic adjustments during test taking, adaptations to course environments, and deadline extensions).

The commissioner also acts as a resource for other advisors and teachers on disability-related subjects.

The Student Counseling Center supports students with disabilities or chronic illnesses in planning their studies, in formal matters such as examination timing as well as in all other questions arising with respect to applying and studying. ZSB works together closely with Frau Eicken, the University of Stuttgart’s Commissioner for students with disabilities or chronic illnesses, on all disability-related issues.

Student Counseling Center

Stuttgart Student Services also provides counseling for disabled or chronically ill students. In addition, you will find important information on the Student Affairs website, for example, on other counseling resources, legal and financial questions, as well as on studying abroad.

Social counseling by Student Services [de]

Information and counseling office for studies and disabilities of the German national association for student affairs [de]

Information for prospective students

If you are an applicant with a disability or chronic illness, even before starting your studies we recommend you contact us for counseling regarding study conditions and accessibility at the University of Stuttgart. In addition to the questions everyone has before starting their studies, you may have questions such as about the furnishings in buildings and rooms and what special support possibilities exist for you while attending the University. You will find it helpful to learn ahead of time about existing regulations concerning the compensation of disadvantages in testing and courses.

Special requests when applying for admission to studies

When applying to study at the University of Stuttgart, two forms of special requests [de] can be considered: the hardship request and a “request for accommodation by shortening the waiting period.” The study places available for the hardship quota (up to 2% of places in a limited admissions study program) are allocated to applicants who would be severely disadvantaged by being rejected – a very rigorous standard applies in this regard. We suggest you review the criteria [de] (page 2) on your own first to see if you would qualify for this type of accommodation request.

Counseling

Prospective students with a disability or chronic illness are welcome to ask the above-named functions for advice on special requests, study conditions, accommodation and other support resources while studying.

Information for students

What laws do apply?

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. (see the Disability Rights Convention of the UN [de], Section 2 Para. 4 Higher Education Framework Act [de], Section 2 Para. 3 State Education Act of Baden-Wuerttemberg [de]).

Compensation of disadvantages while studying

Compensation of disadvantages means: Students with disabilities and chronic illnesses are to be provided with an equal opportunity to realize their academic potential in studies and examinations under the appropriate conditions. The legal bases [de] for accomotaing treatment are found in the Basic Law of the Federal Republic of Germany, in the State Education Acts, in the UN Disability Rights Convention and in the individual study program exam regulations [de].

Any disadvantages that students with disabilities and chronic illnesses might suffer in comparison to non-disadvantaged students are to be compensated for to the maximum extent possible. The academic demands for study or testing results are not be changed by disability-compensating measures. For this reason, the measures to be taken must be decided on individually in advance for each study and testing result. In other words, the objective is not “studies-lite” but, instead, that you will have same chances as everyone else to carry on your studies successfully.

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Compensation may only be granted to individuals with a documented disability or a chronic illness and the disadvantages that stem from them. What is the definition of disability?

The concept of disability [de]

You make the request for accommodation in testing informally to the Head of your study program's examination committee [de]. In your request, you should describe which adaptation in testing you are seeking and the reasons why you require such adaptation. You must submit a doctor’s attestation that describes how your disability or chronic illness affects your studies. It will be helpful if the type of accommodation called for is supported by what is stated in the attestation.

Students with a disability or chronic illness can also file a request for extending testing time or the maximum time to complete the degree with the Head of the Examination Committee [de]. You can find the applicable rules in your study program’s exam regulations. Here also you need to make an informal request 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.

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.

Technical and organizational help

At present, the University of Stuttgart assists students with disabilites in the following ways:

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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. It has a PC with Zoomtext magnifying software with integrated speech output, a swivel-arm mounted 27-inch display, large-character keyboard, and copy camera.
  • 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.

University Library information for students with disabilities

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.

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. For a permanent solution, the Full Access working group is conducting an inventory of entrances and facilities for wheelchair users and will develop a suitable campus-wide remediation plan.

The elevators are not programmed to stop routinely on the mezzanine floors where the professors and staff have their offices. Student wheelchair users can obtain a chip card for one of the elevators that will let them access the mezzanine independently. Please contact the Commissioner for students with disabilities or chronic illnesses for assistance in applying to Building Services for a chip card that will be good for the duration of your studies.

Helpful links on study, career, and disability

Counseling Offices for students with disabilities or chronic illnesses

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

Sigrid Eicken

Commissioner for students with disabilities

 

Student Counseling Center

Geschwister-Scholl-Str. 24C, 70174 Stuttgart