Hochschule Karlsruhe Hochschule Karlsruhe - University of Applied Sciences
Hochschule Karlsruhe Hochschule Karlsruhe - University of Applied Sciences

Studying with a disability

The Central Student Advisory Service  assists students with disabilities or chronic illnesses to ensure that their studies run smoothly.

Below you will find some basic information about studying with a disability.


Leiter Zentrale Studienberatung
Oliver Broschart

Phone: +49 (0)721 925-1071
oliver.broschartspam prevention@h-ka.de

Study preparation schedule

When preparing for a degree program, it is important to begin as early as possible. This should be done at least one year before taking up studies. The following timetable is mainly based on information provided by the German Student Union:

  1. Obtaining information on future career options, suitable courses of study and study organization.
  2. Contacting the university to clarify questions about the organization of studies, but also about application procedures and the chances of admission.
  3. Obtaining information on applications for disadvantage compensation when applying for a place at university and preparing applications if necessary.
  4. What are the conditions on campus (e.g. accessibility, housing situation)? This can best be clarified by visiting the university.
  5. If necessary, clarify the organization of care, study assistance as well as mobility.
  6. Checking the possibilities for financial support, for example at the BAföG-Amt des Studierendenwerks Karlsruhe, disability-related additional requirements at the employment agency or at the social welfare agency (depending on the responsibility) and, if necessary, applying for a scholarship at a foundation.

Application for a study place

At HKA, five percent of the study places in each of the Bachelor's and Master's degree programs are available for so-called cases of hardship. An exceptional hardship exists if individual circumstances make it absolutely necessary for the student to begin his or her studies immediately. This is the case, for example, if a seriously ill person, who has been diagnosed with a worsening of the course of the disease, would not be able to complete his or her studies due to a delayed start of studies.

A severe disability alone does not justify admission on the basis of a case of hardship; the grades of the university entrance qualification certificate or the Bachelor's degree are also taken into account.

Please carefully consider whether your personal situation constitutes a hardship before submitting an application. Your application must be substantiated by supporting documents (e.g. medical certificate, severely disabled pass, etc.).

Furthermore, it is possible to apply for a shortening of the waiting period: Whoever claims to have been prevented from achieving a better value for the consideration of the waiting time due to circumstances for which he/she is not responsible, will participate in the allocation of study places with the proven value (cf. § 27, paragraph 2 of the University Admission Ordinance of the state of Baden-Württemberg).

Further general information on application and admission to German universities can be found on the pages of the Deutsches Studentenwerk.

Compensation for disadvantages in your studies

In its Studien- und Prüfungsordnung, Teil A für Bachelorstudiengänge (§16, 2) and Teil A für Masterstudiengänge (§14, 3) respectively, HKA the possibility of compensation for disadvantages in examinations and coursework:

"If someone credibly demonstrates that due to a prolonged or permanent disability or chronic illness it is not possible for him or her to take examinations, entirely or partly, in the intended form, the chairperson of the examination committee shall allow for the examination to be taken within an extended processing time or for the examination performance to be taken in another form. The submission of a medical certificate may be required for this purpose. The same applies to coursework and preliminary examinations."

Students who require compensation for disadvantages should contact the representative for students with disabilities or chronic illnesses or the respective examination board in good time in order to find an individual solution for exam modification together. This should be done as early as possible in the semester.

Examples of disadvantage compensation are:

  • oral instead of written examinations
  • additional time for examinations and homework
  • use of technical aids
  • extension of total study time
  • support of practical work (laboratories) by study assistants and/or technical aids
  • individual handling of guidelines for internships and excursions...

Study financing


Upon application, students with handicaps can be given special consideration for BAföG under the following aspects:

  • If personal reasons such as illness and/or disability prevent the timely commencement of studies, BAföG can be granted irrespective of age, provided that the studies are commenced immediately after the reason for the impediment has ceased to exist.
  • When determining the income of the parents/spouse, a hardship allowance can be granted, so that the funding may be higher.
  • The maximum period of support is extended if it can be proven that the disability is the cause of an extension of study time and the university can provide a prognosis of study success.
  • In the case of loan repayment, disability-related additional costs are taken into account upon application. This increases the income limit at which loan repayment begins.


For students with disabilities or chronic illnesses, there are a number of scholarships to support them during their studies. The Deutsches Studentenwerk has compiled an overview of the funding opportunities.

Additional needs of impaired students

Students with disabilities regularly incur additional costs that cannot be covered by regular study funding options such as BAföG, nor by their own funds. Under certain conditions, which must be checked in each individual case, social assistance benefits (integration assistance, supplementary benefits for living expenses and medical aids from the health insurance fund) can be claimed.

Further information can be obtained on the pages of the Deutsches Studentenwerk.

Study abroad support

The German Academic Exchange Service funds preparatory trips for severely disabled students to countries participating in the Erasmus+ program. In addition, a companion can be funded as an assistant.

Accessibility on campus and in Karlsruhe

At HKA, the entrances to the buildings have been made barrier-free in recent years. Almost all buildings (exception: Building R) have an elevator. In addition, toilets for the disabled are available in all buildings. At the university's building management (building A, ground floor, opposite AStA), students with disabilities can borrow a code key with which the entrance doors to the buildings can be opened electronically. An overview of the entrances for students with disabilities can be found in the HKA campus plan.

The university is also striving to gradually implement digital accessibility to comply with legal regulations.

The city of Karlsruhe strives to enable comprehensive accessibility of public facilities. To this end, it has posted accessibility information  online.

Most inner-city streetcar and bus lines, including those leading to the university (especially streetcar lines 2, 3, and 6) are barrier-free.

In addition, all inner-city stops are barrier-free. On the electronic passenger information displays, all low-floor vehicles are marked with a wheelchair symbol.

Chronic diseases

An estimated 20% of German citizens are chronically ill, i.e. have a disease that does not heal or whose cause cannot be eliminated. Many chronically ill students are often not even aware of their rights (e.g. possibilities of disadvantage compensation).

The following list is intended to provide insight into which illnesses are considered chronic illnesses. The list is not intended to be exhaustive.

  • Attention deficit disorders (e.g. ADHD)
  • Personality/developmental disorders (e.g. Borderline, Asperger's)
  • mental illnesses (e.g. depression)
  • partial performance disorders (e.g. dyslexia, dyscalculia)
  • Cancer
  • Hepatitis
  • Diabetes
  • Crohn's disease
  • Ulcerative colitis
  • Rheumatism
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Epilepsy
  • Bronchial asthma
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Cystic fibrosis
  • Heart disease (e.g. heart failure, heart defects)
  • High blood pressure
  • Renal insufficiency
  • Allergies

The Federal Joint Committee established a Chronic Disease Guideline back in 2004 that defines who is considered chronically ill (last updated 2018).