Studying is challenging enough and for students dealing with certain disabilities advice and support can be important. Student Services Freiburgs social advisor offers counselling and assistance for students with disabilities. He is available during the following office hours.
Further information is available in the studying with disabilities and/or chronic illness brochure. The brochure is available (only in german language) as a download or at the social counsellor’s office.
Student Services Freiburg has equipped and easily accessible dormitory rooms for students with disabilities.
In this interview, Nerea Ulrich and Barbara Toth talk about their work at the SWFR (Studierendenwerk Freiburg) and the various support options for students with disabilities.
1) In which areas is the SWFR responsible?
The SWFR is responsible for the social, cultural and financial support and advice of students in the university region of Freiburg, Lörrach, Offenburg, Gengenbach, Furtwangen, Kehl and Villingen-Schwenningen - and has been doing so for exactly 100 years now.
2) Who works at the social counselling service of the SWFR?
We, the social counselors Barbara Toth and Nerea Ulrich, share the position in social counseling. We are the representatives for students with disabilities in the SWFR. The two social pedagogues offer free and confidential consultations for all students seeking advice in German and English.
3) For whom are the social workers of SWFR contact persons?
The social workers Ms. Toth and Ms. Ulrich offer counseling on all social topics and issues and are especially responsible for students with handicaps or chronic illnesses, students with children and for international students.
4) Who can students contact with personal or study-related problems?
In addition to our social counseling offer the SWFR also offers a psychotherapeutic counseling center, short PBS. Students with psychological problems (e.g. anxiety, relationship problems, concentration problems, etc.) can turn to this center. Our psychotherapists offer free individual consultations and a comprehensive seminar program. Registration is required for this. Once a week there is an open consultation hour without appointment.
5) And in case of financial difficulties?
The counseling services at SWFR consist of social counseling, the PBS and student financial counseling. The Social Counseling Service provides information on social benefits, while the Financial Counseling Service focuses more on advising and arranging student loans, credits, emergency aid (such as the Mensa-Freitisch, a free meal in the refectories for needy students) and scholarships.
7) Is there special housing for students with physical disabilities?
Special attention is paid to the needs of students with physical impairments, which is why our housing administration offers handicapped-accessible, barrier-free and furnished single rooms and apartments in six of our residence halls. In Freiburg, a total of 20 handicapped-accessible, furnished apartments are available. There is also accommodation available for students with visual and hearing impairments.
8) What do the dining halls offer for students with disabilities?
The Rempartstraße and Institutsviertel canteens have facilities and aids for guests with special needs. For example, there is an elevator for guests with wheelchairs, strollers or walking disabilities. The elevators take you directly to the dining hall.
There are transport aids at various locations that can be used to transport up to three trays at a time.
There are two tables in each dining hall that can be continuously adjusted in height by hydraulics at the flick of a lever under the table. This means that any wheelchair can fit under the table.
If you have any questions regarding support or assistance, please contact the respective Service Point. Our employees will be happy to provide you with information and help.
9) Is BAföG available for students with a handicap? What is the so-called disadvantage compensation?
BAföG is also the first priority for students with impairments when it comes to financing their living expenses and their own funds are not sufficient.
For some specifications of the BAföG, a disadvantage compensation can be applied for. This is possible, for example, with regard to the age limit, the allowances for income and assets or the maximum period of support. Further information can be obtained from the BAföG office.
Students with disabilities are eligible for financing when continuing to a consecutive master programme. Disability related costs are provided through equal opportunity assistance. In May 2006, the "Bundesarbeitsgemeinschaft der überörtlichen Träger der Sozialhilfe" (BAGÜS) (The association for individuals requiring supplementary social assistance) recommended that potential future students with disabilities should receive supplementary financial aid.
The right to obtain equal opportunity supplementary aid, also available for consecutive master programmes, is important for many students with disabilities. It provides additional motivation to achieve career relevant qualifications.
The BAGÜS recommendations do not have any binding legal conditions, they are merely guidelines for a practical implementation to help students with disabilities gain equal opportunity.
The Friedrich-Engisch foundation compensates people born physically disabled and focuses primarily in Freiburg. This one-time assistance is given in emergency situations and varies depending on the disability. Children, young adults and adults are all eligible for this support.
Renate Heyberger zu den Angeboten des SWFR für Studierende mit besonderen Bedürfnissen.