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Advice for students with disabilites

Paderborn University makes every effort to support students with disabilities or chronic illnesses in their studies in such a way that they are able to participate in higher education on an equal footing and with self-determination.

Service Centre for Students with Disabilities

In order to perceive, support and improve the special needs of students with disabilities, the Service Centre for Students with Disabilities (SmB) coordinates all relevant tasks of a barrier-free everyday university life:

Support for prospective students and students

  • Advice on all questions concerning studies
  • Procurement and lending of aids
  • Accessible campus tours
  • Provision of information on the accessible campus
  • Support in the organisation of events, strategic and conceptual development of offers

Support for teachers

  • Provision of accessible materials
  • Organization of modified examination conditions

Represeantative for disabled students

  • Counselling and support in coping with difficult situations during studies
  • Counselling on the subject of compensation for disadvantages for prospective students, students, doctoral candidates and teachers
  • Advice on accessible university didactics
  • Supporting the university management and committees on issues relating to diversity management, barrier-free building, etc.

Studying with disabilities: what does it mean?

In the study "Beeinträchtigt studieren 2" (Study with Impairment 2) conducted by the German Student Services (2016/17), around 21,000 students with impairments from more than 150 universities answered questions about their study situation for the second time since 2011.


Are impairments visible?
  • The impairment is immediately apparent in only 4% of students, and in a good two-thirds (67%) it is not visible even in long term.
  • More than half of the students (53%) have mental illnesses that impede their studies, which is eight percentage points more than in 2011.
What are the difficulties?
  • Nine out of ten students (89%) report impairment-related difficulties in organizing and carrying out their studies, in examination and teaching situations. As in 2011, they are most frequently caused by a high examination density, compulsory attendance and time constraints on the workload.
  • For 7%, study difficulties arise due to structural barriers, inadequate spatial equipment or a lack of space to retreat.
  • Around 44% of students experience difficulties in social interactions related to their impairments, which trigger or intensify study problems. In particular, fear of rejection and stigmatization as well as negative experiences related to "coming out" make communication with teachers, fellow students and the administration more difficult.
How often is disadvantage compensation used?
  • Less than one-third (29%) of students requested compensation for disadvantages at least once - as in 2011 - most frequently for specific exam situations.
  • 62% of the requests were approved on average.
  • Three out of four users (73%) rate the measures as helpful.
  • Students refrain from requesting compensation for disadvantages because they are not aware of the eligibility requirements, they have inhibitions or they do not want "special treatment".
  • Three quarters of the students use - the majority exclusively - self-organized measures to compensate for impairment-related difficulties. The support of the family environment and doctors and therapists is of particular importance. Every third student is supported by fellow students.
Are counseling services known?
  • Nine out of ten students are aware of at least one specific advisory service offered by universities and student services, and one third have used at least one of these - significantly more than in 2011.
  • The main topics are how to deal with one's own impairment and how to apply for compensation for disadvantages.
  • Three out of five students benefited from counseling. Needs-based support in the introductory phase of studies is considered particularly helpful.
What about the financial situation?
  • Two-thirds of students have additional costs of living and studying due to impairments that place a financial burden on them.
  • For one in six of them, living expenses are not secured.

Have you encountered barriers in your everyday life at the University of Paderborn? 

Please report them to us so that we can work together to remove them.


Kathrin Weber

Student Advice Centre

Service Center Studying with Impairment

Kathrin Weber
+49 5251 60-5498

Office hours:

by appointment. 

Please contact me by e-mail to make an appointment.

Cornelia Wagner

Student Advice Centre

Psychosocial counselling; representative for disabled students

Cornelia Wagner
+49 5251 60-5497

Office hours:

Bitte schreiben Sie mir, um einen Termin zur Beratung (Mo-Fr) zu vereinbaren!

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