Studying with disabilities in facts and figures

How many students have a disability or chronic illness. Who belongs to this group? How do the respective impairments affect their studies?

The social survey and the study "beeinträchtigt studieren" (best), both published by the German Student Union and financed by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research, provide information on the special situation of students with health impairments relevant to their studies.

Social Survey of the German National Association for Student Affairs (DSW)

As a rule, the DSW surveys students about their economic and social situation every 3 years. In 2016, eleven percent of students stated that their studies were made more difficult in connection with long-term physical, mental or sensory impairments. Just over half of them described the aggravation as severe or very severe. Students with impairments also interrupt their studies significantly more often and for longer periods of time and change their university and course of study significantly more often than their fellow students without impairments. > Brief overview of important results

The results of the 21st Social Survey on "Health Impairment and Study Difficulty," published in June 2017, can be found as Chapter 3.5 of the Main Report and as Chapter 9 of the Executive Summary.

Study impaired data collection: best1 and best2.

After 2011, students with disabilities and chronic illnesses at more than 150 universities were surveyed about their study situation for the second time in the winter semester 2016/17. The results of best2 were published in September 2018.

best1 and best2 show how diverse the group of students with disabilities and chronic illnesses is and how impairments specifically affect their studies. Through the data collections, we learn how the counseling services offered by universities and student or student services are used and how effective reasonable accommodations are to compensate for individual impairment-related disadvantages.

The data collection best-its purpose, implementation, and results-is documented in detail at

Student Serve with Data on Students with Disabilities and Chronic Illnesses.

The University Research Group at the University of Konstanz regularly surveys students about their study situation and orientations. Since the 12th survey in WS 2012/13, students have also been asked whether they suffer from chronic diseases or have a disability.

The results of the survey of students with impairments in the context of the 12th Student Survey were published in the form of a special evaluation.

DZHW study "Studying in times of the Corona pandemic: Vulnerable student groups in focus".

In the summer semester of 2020, the German Center for Higher Education and Science Research (DZHW) examined the situation of vulnerable student groups in times of the Corona pandemic. The groups studied included students with disabilities and chronic illnesses. Results: Students with disabilities are significantly more likely than other students to report corona-related difficulties in coping with exams and in maintaining relationships with family members. They are also significantly more likely than other students to feel stressed by corona