Commissioner for university employees with impairment
At Germany's universities, 7 % of students in the 2013 social survey state that they have a health impairment. They also state that this directly hinders their studies. At the University of Applied Sciences Potsdam, this statement also applies to students with impairments. We would therefore like to draw the attention of students with health impairments/disabilities to concrete possibilities with regard to the implementation of equal opportunities at the university.
According to the social survey conducted by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research in 2021, 24 % of students surveyed at universities in Germany stated that they had a health impairment (BMBF 2022, p. 42). Almost 16 % of those surveyed reported that this impedes their studies, with almost 2/3 of these stating mental impairments (BMBF 2022, p. 42 and 44). At the FHP, this statement also applies to students with disabilities.
Advice from the commissioner on topics such as ...
How do I apply for compensation for disadvantages?
The procedure for applying for measures to compensate for disadvantages is as follows:
The regulation on night-time ice compensation at the FHP can be found in § 2 of the framework examination regulations of the University of Applied Sciences, which apply to all departments and degree programmes. Paragraphs 3 and 5 are of interest to you:
"(3) Students with physical, mental or psychological impairments and disabilities are granted, upon application, appropriate disadvantage compensation related to their disability for coping with study and examination performance. This includes in particular:
a. Approval of technical aids,
b. Extension of processing times,
c. Recognition of equivalent study and examination achievements in another form.
(5) Applications shall be submitted to the examination board responsible for the degree programme, enclosing appropriate supporting documents. They shall be submitted in good time before the start of the processing period of an examination and may not be asserted retroactively. The decision on granting compensation for a disadvantage is made by the examination board responsible for the degree programme. It shall involve [...] and, in the case of decisions pursuant to Paragraph 3, the representative for persons with disabilities."
If necessary, I am also available for a further discussion by telephone or video chat.
I therefore recommend the following procedure:
First find out which examination requirements are set for you in which module in your degree programme. To do this, you should look in the module manual and/or in the study and examination regulations for your degree programme to see which form of examination is intended for which module. If it is not clear to you whether the respective examination form poses a difficulty for you due to your restriction, I would recommend that you talk to the respective examiner or to the subject advisory service.
If you expect difficulties in taking individual examinations due to your impairment(s) (after that, if applicable), you can apply for a disadvantage compensation in the attached application form. In the personal statement of reasons for your application for compensation, you should be specific enough about the impairment(s) to make it plausible for the examination committee that you have barriers to mastering the planned examination performances and what these barriers are. You must also provide evidence of the impairment(s) by means of medical or therapeutic certificates.
In addition, you should request as concrete measures as possible to compensate for your disadvantage and specify which exam(s) in which module(s) are involved. There are many ways to compensate for a disadvantage, see the description on the website of the German Student Union. It is important that the measure is suitable and necessary in the individual case to compensate for your individual disadvantage. It would be helpful if the medical or therapeutic certificate(s) submitted contained recommendations as to how your disadvantage(s) could be compensated for from a medical-therapeutic point of view. However, the decision-making authority lies with the examination board, which must also take into account in its decision that the measure to compensate for your disadvantage does not at the same time violate the equal opportunities of the other examinees according to Article 3 of the Basic Law.
You then send the completed application together with the evidence regarding your impairment either by post or – waiving postal secrecy - by e-mail together with the scanned evidence and with the completed declaration of consent for data processing on the attached form to me (see § 2 para. 5 of the Framework Regulations). I will then forward the application with a statement to the responsible examination board. However, this is only possible with the completed declaration of consent, without which I may not store your data. In order to be able to forward your application together with my statement to the examination board of your department, I also need a release from the duty of confidentiality and therefore ask that you tick this accordingly in the consent form. Otherwise, I will not be allowed to forward your application.
In my statement, I will address the following,
- whether, in my opinion, an impairment has been comprehensibly explained in the personal statement of reasons and supported by appropriate certificates, findings or attestations,
- whether a disability is comprehensible due to the barriers of the study programme or the specific examination, and
- whether the requested measures or which measures are suitable to compensate for this disability.
The certificates and findings you enclose as supporting documents remain confidential with me and I only include in my statement what is directly relevant to the three above-mentioned topics.
The examination board will then discuss your application and inform you of the decision directly. If, in the opinion of the examination board, something is still missing, e.g. a medical certificate or similar, it will inform you and ask you to submit it.
Further counselling and support services
Social counselling of the Studierendenwerk Potsdam
The Studierendenwerk Potsdam offers free social counselling (not only) for students with disabilities or chronic illnesses.
Telephone consultation hours (+49 331 3706-254 or -251)
Monday to Thursday: 9.00 am - 3 pm
Friday: 9.00 am - 2.00 pm
Personal consultation hours: (Babelsberger Str. 2, at the Long Bridge near the main railway station)
Tuesday: 9.00 - 12.00 am and 1.00 - 4.00 pm
Thursday: 1.00 - 4.00 pm
Counselling on participation needs outside the university
The Supplementary Independent Participation Counselling Service (EUTB) supports you with questions about participation. For example, if you have questions about assistance or aids or if you want to know what a participation plan is. There are two EUTB services in and near Potsdam:
EUTB des Zentrums für Kultur und visuelle Kommunikation der Gehörlosen
EUTB , c/o ZFK e.V. Haus 2
+49 332 00513780
Blog "Locating Your Soul"
"Locating Your Soul" is a blog by young editors who want to offer a platform to talk about experiences with mental illness as a person affected, as a family member or as a friend. The aim of the blog: To encourage and educate, to destigmatise the topic of "mental illness" and to make it easier for those affected and their relatives to get help. The platform of the federal association "Angehörige psychisch Erkrankter e.V." is responsible for the blog.
Advice from the German Student Union
A comprehensive reference work for students with impairments is offered by the advice centre of the German Student Union in Berlin.
Protection of personal data
As soon as you require a support service beyond information, e.g. the processing of your application for compensation for disadvantages, this is only possible for data protection reasons if you fill in and sign the declaration of consent for data processing (PDF) and send it by e-mail or post. This is because the protection of personal data against unauthorised processing is a fundamental right. Health data in particular is subject to particularly strict protection according to the requirements of the EU General Data Protection Regulation. Your data may not be stored without your consent and may not be transmitted to the examination board without the ticked release from the duty of confidentiality. However, you can revoke your consent at any time if and to the extent that you no longer wish to receive support.
For further information on individual disadvantage compensation at the University of Applied Sciences Potsdam, please visit the website of the Study Service.
Making teaching materials accessible
The video tutorials of the University of Potsdam provide an insight into the barrier-free design of digital teaching materials. This means that students with impairments, including visual or hearing impairments, can also use the digitally provided texts, videos or online lectures without hurdles.