There are a number of legal provisions in German law which guarantee individuals with disabilities or chronic illnesses the right to participate in higher education. In addition to legal frameworks pertaining to academic access in general, there are several provisions which explicitly focus on improving study conditions for students with disabilities at universities.
In its joint statement "A University for Everyone" [de], published in April 2009, the member universities of the German Rectors' Conference (HRK) voluntarily pledged to recognise the special situation of students with disabilities and provide them equal opportunity through sustainable measures. Although this pledge had no legal underpinnings, it produced various measures which have since advanced the implementation of legally-mandated provisions on handicapped accessibility and equal opportunity in academia.
In the examination regulations in all degree programmes offered at the University of Münster, there is a section on "Compensation for disadvantages for completing required coursework and examinations". The provisions serve to implement the regulations outlined in the Framework Act for Higher Education (HRG) [de] and the Higher Education Act of the Federal State of North Rhine‐Westphalia (HG NRW) [de].
These are the same provisions contained in the Framework Act for Higher Education (HRG) and the Higher Education Act (HG NRW). They stipulate that universities are responsible for ensuring that students with disabilities are not placed at a disadvantage when studying (see HRG § 2(4) and HG NRW § 3 (5)). Furthermore, they specifically state that examination regulations take into account the special needs of disabled students in order to guarantee equal opportunity and compensate for disadvantages the students may encounter (see HRG § 16 and HG NRW § 64).
Social regulations and other legal frameworks
On 1 January 2018, the newly amended Ninth Book of the German Social Security Code (SGB IX) went into effect and was incorporated into the German Federal Participation Act (BTHG). The central element of the Ninth Book established the legal right of individuals with disabilities to participate in social life in a self-determined manner and mandated the removal of obstacles to equal opportunity. The last part concerning the right to integration support will be included in the SGB IX starting in 2020, at which point the thematic complex on "Disabilities" will be entirely decoupled from the Twelfth Book of the Social Security Code (SGB XII).
- Ninth Book of the Social Security Code (§ 2 – Definition of Disability, § 75 Guidelines on Participation in Education) [de]
- Twelfth Book of the Social Security Code (§ 53 – Integration Support (valid until 2020)) [de]
The following links provide an overview of further important legal frameworks: