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Compensations for disadvantages

Compensations for disadvantages serve to enable those students who have to bear a particular burden to participate in the course on an equal basis.

Students with particular challenges may apply for adapted study and examination conditions on the basis of the Berliner Hochschulgesetz (BerlHG). According to BerlHG, the federal universities of Berlin are obliged to grant a “Nachteilsausgleich” (compensation for disadvantages) to students with particular challenges. This is not a privilege but rather a legal right and a step towards integration and equality.

Please note that at Freie Universität Berlin, the details of the compensation for disadvantages / the adapted study and examination conditions are no longer regulated by the individual examination regulations – with the exception of the state exams. In other cases, Section 7 of the “Satzung für Allgemeine Prüfungsangelegenheiten“ (SfAP) shall be applicable. In this context, please note that according to the “Rahmenprüfungsordnung”, Section 31, Clause 3 of Berliner Hochschulgesetz (BerlHG) shall also be applicable here.

The supervision and decision about the compensation for disadvantage in the examination procedure is in most cases a matter of the examining board of the major. It is usually the lecturers and/or dean who decide about the results.

It is recommended to discuss the compensation for disadvantages arising from the particular study situation with the students themselves in detail. Arrangements should be made in writing in order to avoid misunderstandings. Ask the students to contact the Student Records and Registration Office for a further discussion of the compensations for disadvantage.

Legal certainty is only created for all parties involved (lecturers as well as students) once an official permission has been given. As a matter of fact, though, it is often difficult to differentiate between study and examination performance: as in the BA/MA courses all achievements during the studies are deemed to be examination achievements, every exceptional regulation would have to be approved officially by the examining board. We recommend students with disabilities and/or chronic diseases to contact the official responsible for disabled students with regard to the official regulation mechanisms. Students with children and/or relatives to be taken care of are kindly requested to contact the Family Support Center or the Examinations Office of the department. They will be able to explain to you which compensations for disadvantages are conceivable in the case in point, which statements must be made in medical certificates. They will also prepare a proposal or recommendation for the compensation for disadvantage and pass it on to the examining board, if necessary.

 Examples of compensations for disadvantage

  • Admission of technical aids for blind and hard of hearing students
  • Extension of deadlines for study and examination achievements
  • Individually adapted conditions for internships
  • Relocation of classes to accessible rooms
  • Modification of examinations
  • Added time
  • Interruption (splitting) of an examination
  • Conversion of an oral examination into a written one and vice versa.

We would like to thank Mr Classen (Advocate for students with disabilities) and Peter Dietrich (Network for Students with Disabilities at Freie Universität Berlin) for advice and information provided during the preparation of these recommendations.