Compensation for disadvantages

What are compensations for disadvantages ("Nachteilsausgleiche")?

Students with disability or chronic (physical or mental) illness can be restricted in their studies in many different ways: by a reduced ability to perform and concentrate, time-consuming treatments and hospital stays, structural barriers or a limited time budget. As a result, time and formal requirements for studies and examinations often cannot be met as planned. This is why there are so-called compensations for disadvantages. They are intended to ensure that all students are granted equal opportunities and the individual needs of students with disabilities or chronic illnesses are taken into account. Compensations for disadvantages do not represent "privileges", but rather compensate for individual and situational disadvantages that arise from a disability or chronic (physical or mental) illness.

Who can apply?

All students with long-term health impairments (usually lasting more than six months) that affect their studies can apply for compensation. These can be psychological impairments, such as depression or eating disorders, autism, chronic diseases such as diabetes, irritable bowel syndrome and pain disorders, visual and hearing impairments, motor impairments, speech impairments or partial performance disorders such as dyslexia and dyscalculia and other long-term impairments. Also included are chronic diseases with an episodic course, for example rheumatism, epilepsy or multiple sclerosis.

Legal framework

The legal requirements for the compensation of disadvantages can be found in the Lower Saxony Higher Education Act (NHG) §3, section 1, number 7 as well as §7, section 3, sentence 5. The legal framework for the compensation of disadvantages at Leuphana University is formed by §15 of the General Assessment Regulations (Rahmenprüfungsordnung, RPO) of Bachelor and Master programmes; §9 of the RPO Professional Bachelor Studies and §7a of the RPO Professional Masters Studies.

How to apply

  1. If you'd like to apply for the compensation of a disadvantage, it is recommended to discuss the matter with one of the advisors for students with disabilities or chronic illnesses before the application is made.
  2. In order to apply, you need to submit an informal written application in which you explain how the disability or chronic (physical or mental) illness affects your performance of study or examination achievements and suggest, what a suitable compensation for this disadvantage could look like. The application can also be made for several comparable examinations. It is important that the application clearly states which disadvantages exist with regard to the specific courses or exams in question. While information on the illness is necessary, the mention of a diagnosis is not mandatory. The decisive factor is not a diagnosis, but how the impairment affects your study or exam performance. Still, the application needs to enclose "suitable evidence" for the disadvantage. One or more of the following documents are particularly suitable to support the application:

    — Medical certificates or statements from licensed psychological psychotherapists
    — Treatment reports from hospital and rehabilitation stays
    — Statements from rehabilitation agencies or
    — Approval notices from integration assistance agencies,
    — Diagnostic tests, such as for dyslexia or dyscalculia (generally not older than five years)
    — "Schwerbehindertenausweis" or notice of assessment from the "Versorgungsamt"
    — Statement of the representative for students with disabilities or chronic illnesses

    Official medical reports ("Amtsärztliche Gutachten") are only required if you are explicitly requested to submit them by Leuphana University 
  3. The application needs to be submitted to the advisor for "Administrative and Examination-related Questions" responsible for your school and major at the Student Service. The respective advisors can be found here: College (Bachelor Programmes), Graduate School (Masters and Doctoral Programmes) and Professional School (Professional Bachelor and Masters Studies). They will forward your case to the responsible examination board. Please make sure to submit your application in time.
  4. The examination board will decide on the application and send you a written decision. If your case is rejected, you can lodge an appeal.


The application will be treated confidentially. Both the Student Services and the Examination Committee are obliged to maintain secrecy towards third parties. The use of disadvantage compensation must not be noted in certificates.

Forms of compensations

The following list gives you a first orientation about possible measures for the compensation of disadvantages. Which measure is appropriate always depends on the individual needs of the applicant and the respective examination requirements.

  •  Extension of writing time for examinations or extension of preparation time for oral examinations
  •  Extension of exam time by the necessary breaks taken
  •  Tests in separate rooms with own supervision
  •  Extension of deadlines for term papers and theses
  •  Change of the examination method
  •  Modification of internship times
  •  Modification of practical tests by other examination formats
  •  Permission to use technical aids and personal assistance
  •  Provision of adapted examination documents
  •  Rectifying of examination concentrations/ rescheduling examination dates

Compensation for disadvantages in examinations can only be granted if it is suitable, necessary and appropriate to eliminate the impairment in the provision of services caused by the disability or chronic (physical or mental) illness. For this reason, compensation for disadvantages is excluded if the impairment cannot be compensated because it affects precisely the performance capacity to be determined by the examination. In order to ensure equal opportunities for all candidates, the performance requirements and assessment standards may not be changed.