Equal Opportunities: Everyone Can Study AbroadCopyright: © Mario Irrmischer
Family Services Center of the Equal Opportunities Office
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Head of Division
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A stay abroad during your studies is an enriching experience both personally and professionally. Our goal is to enable as many students as possible to spend a period of their studies in another country. This page is aimed at students in special life situations and helps them plan a stay abroad.
The focus here is on students with one or more children, students with disabilities or chronic illnesses, students who come from a non-academic background, and working students.
To find specific offers in the area of inclusion at universities outside Germany, you can use the Inclusive Mobility page.
Study Abroad: Students with One or More Children
The Family Service and the International Office of RWTH Aachen University support students with one or more children who want to study abroad and offer an advice and information service on the topic of studying abroad with children.
There you will receive information about advice centers and contact persons outside and inside the University. Furthermore, you will be supported in researching childcare options during your stay abroad.
If you are interested, Equal Opportunities Office will be happy to assist you in a personal consultation. For more information, please also see the FAQ at the bottom of the page, the DAAD information page and the Family at University info website. Best practice examples from family-friendly partner universities are available on the ENHANCE website at: ENHANCE: Mobility Placements With Children.
Study Abroad: Students with Disabilities or Chronic Illnesses
Since 1999, the DAAD has been promoting the mobility of students with disabilities. RWTH advises students with disabilities and chronic illness as part of the VORSCHUB initiative. For more information (especially in the context of the Erasmus program) and field reports, please visit the DAAD's page on international mobility of people with disabilities. For funding for students with disabilities within the Erasmus program, please read the section "Erasmus+ Special Funding".
In addition, the Berlin-based association Sozialhelden e.V. has launched the website wheelmap.org. The site makes it easier for people who rely on a wheelchair or walking aid to find their way around a city that they do not know. Using an online map, users can rate wheelchair-accessible restaurants, cafés and bus stops worldwide according to their accessibility using a traffic light system.
The Erasmus Student Network, or ESN for short, also provides a rating platform for assessing accessible locations on its website mapped.eu, focusing on the accessibility of European universities. When they are planning to go somewhere, disabled students can find out in advance whether a university building is equipped with a ramp or a lift, for example.
For further information on accessible universities offering assistance and a wide range of services for students with disabilities and chronic illnesses, please visit the ENHANCE – Accessibility web pages.
Erasmus+ Special Funding: Financial Subsidies for Special Needs
Within the framework of the Erasmus program, you can complete Erasmus internships and/or Erasmus study periods abroad in Europe. Equal opportunities is a key concern in the Erasmus program. Therefore, certain student groups can apply for special needs grants (in addition to regular Erasmus+ funding); these are referred to as special funding. The special funding is 250 euros per regular funding month and is available for both Erasmus internships and Erasmus study visits. The grant can only be applied once at a time and cannot be combined.
The following student groups are eligible for special funding:
- Students with disabilities (degree of disability must be 20 or more)
- Students with chronic medical conditions that will demonstrably result in additional costs while abroad
- Students who carry out their stay abroad with one or more children
- Students from a non-academic background
Please refer to the FAQ to find out if you are eligible and which evidence you must provide.
- Working students
Please refer to the FAQ to find out if you are eligible and which evidence you must provide.
Further Funding Options
- Starting in the 2022/23 academic year, participants with an assessed degree of disability of 20 or more, students with a chronic illness, or students with one or more children can submit long applications for their actual costs to be reimbursed for additional costs incurred abroad of up to 15,000 euros per semester.
- Long applications for preparatory trips can also be made.
For more information, please see the FAQ at the bottom of the page and the DAAD website on special funding. If you have any further questions about Erasmus+ special funding, please contact Amelie Meiners.
Who can advise me on equipment or accessibility at the host university, for example?
Please contact the Incomings office at the partner institution if you have any questions regarding what they offer.
We will be happy to assist you in making contact if necessary: Please contact the Erasmus University Coordinator Amelie Meiners (for Erasmus stays) or Benjamin Pietsch (for non-European stays).
What is the minimum number of ECTS required for the study visit?
Erasmus students of RWTH are obliged to obtain at least 15 ECTS per funded semester at the partner university and they must use the Transcript of Records to prove this to the partner university after the end of their stay.
In justified exceptional cases (for example, in the case of a disability or chronic illness), however, special permission for a lower ECTS sum can be agreed in writing in advance with the faculty's or department's international coordination.
How much does a stay abroad cost?
The costs vary depending on the destination and type of accommodation. Information on country-specific living costs is outlined in each DAAD country overview.
In general, accommodation in student residences tends to be significantly cheaper than renting privately. Please also note that you may incur additional costs if you also have to pay for your rent in Germany, besides insurance and transport costs, etc.
Erasmus+ Special Funding FAQ
How much is the Erasmus+ special funding?
The grant is 250 euros per scholarship month and is paid in addition to the regular Erasmus funding.
The grant for participants with special needs is applicable only once at a time for grantees, even if several of the criteria for receiving the grant are met.
How can I apply for Erasmus+ special funding?
The subsidy provided by the Erasmus+ Special Support program is requested by submitting a self-declaration. Students will obtain the relevant form before the start of the mobility, most likely together with the Grant Agreement form. Please refer to the emails from the Erasmus Outgoing Student Support for more information.
The request form must be completed, signed and submitted to Erasmus Outgoing Student Support by the deadline. Submissions after the deadline will not be considered.
Stating the need for special funding in the Erasmus application documents is not sufficient to receive special funding.
What evidence is required for the Erasmus+ special funding? (as of: April 2022)
- Students with disabilities: Students must submit a signed declaration of honor which confirms that they meet the eligibility criteria. The form will be sent out together with the Grant Agreement. In addition, proof of a degree of disability of 20 or more in the form of a severely disabled pass or medical certificate must be submitted upon request.
- Students with a chronic illness: Students must submit a signed declaration of honor which confirms that they meet the eligibility criteria. The form will be sent out together with the Grant Agreement. In addition, upon request, they must submit a certificate from a general practitioner. The certificate must confirm that the student suffers from a chronic illnessand that additional costs abroad are to be expected as a result.
- Students who are studying abroad with one or more children: Students must submit a signed declaration of honor which confirms that they meet the eligibility criteria. The form will be sent out together with the Grant Agreement. In addition, upon request, they must submit a birth certificate(s) and travel documents of the child(ren).
- First-time academics (students from a non-academic background): Students must submit a signed declaration of honor, certifying that they meet the eligibility criteria. A form for this statement can be found with the scholarship contract. In addition, a formless statement from their parents on their educational background may be requested.
- Employed students: Students must submit a signed declaration of honor, certifying that they meet the eligibility criteria. The form will be provided together with the Grant Agreement. In addition, proof of salary and the employment contract may be requested.
What is a long application for actual costs?
Starting in the 2022/23 academic year, participants with an assessed degree of disability of 20 or more, students with a chronic illness, or students with one or more children can submit long applications for their actual costs to be reimbursed for additional costs incurred abroad of up to 15,000 euros per semester.
The long application replaces the regular grant of 250 euros per month which is granted via special funding. The application should therefore only be submitted if the additional costs exceed the regular grant. The complete application must be submitted at least two months before the start of the period abroad.
The Erasmus University Coordinator Amelie Meiners will be happy to advise you on the application process. The application form from 2021/22 in the download area at the end of the page will give you a first impression of the application process.
Long applications for preparatory trips can also be made in consultation with the Erasmus+ University Coordinator.
How certain is it that I will receive the special funding?
If you apply for the funding on time and meet the requirements, you are entitled to receive it.
When are working students eligible for special funding?
Their net income must be more than 450 euros and less than 850 euros and must have been so for six consecutive months. It is also possible to add the net income of several activities, as long as the total income is within the specified income range.They must prove that this 6-month period of employment started at the earliest six months before they submit their application, ending at the latest before they travel abroad. They cannot be self-employed or do freelance work. Students in work-study programs with a fixed salary (for example dual study programs) are also not eligible for special funding.
Do I have to quit my job to apply for special funding for working students?
You cannot keep working for your job in Germany during your stay abroad (this also includes remote work, online work, paid leave, etc.), but you do not necessarily need to give notice. Termination is not a requirement; the employment contract may also be paused.
When are students from a non-academic background eligible for special funding?
Neither parent nor caregiver can have a degree from a university or university of applied sciences. This also includes courses of study completed by a parent abroad that are not recognized as such in Germany (for example, physiotherapy). A degree from a vocational academy leading to a qualification comparable to a university degree is to be regarded as an academic degree. In this context, a master craftsman's diploma is not to be equated with an academic degree.
Who is considered a caregiver for students from a non-academic home?
Your caregiver is the person or the two persons you grew up with. This does not necessarily have to be your biological parents. If one or both parents are already deceased, a short written explanation of their academic background will be required for verification purposes.
FAQ Students With Children
Who do I contact when I have questions about childcare, housing, or school admission?
Students with children are advised to contact the International Office or the Family Services Center of the international host university at an early stage. They can provide information about childcare and housing options for students with children.
Daycare and schooling: What do I need to consider ?
Find out in advance about childcare options for student parents at the host university and any other services that may be available.
It is also advisable to find out about school vacations in the host country in order to organize childcare.
If you already have childcare arrangements in place here in Germany, you should ask your daycare provider whether these can be resumed after your study abroad period.
Compulsory Schooling in Your Host Country
In some countries, school attendance is compulsory before the child's sixth birthday. You should therefore find out at an early stage from what age school attendance is compulsory in your host country.
Can I continue to receive child and parently benefits while studying abroad?
If your stay abroad is only temporary and for educational purposes and you continue to have a registered address in Germany, you continue to be entitled to child benefits parental benefits. Please make sure to you contact the family Benefits Office (Familienkasse) or Parental Allowance Office (Elterngeldstelle) in good time.
Am I eligible to receive BAföG while studying abroad?
If you are receiving BAföG financial support here in Germany, you should be eligible to receive BAföG while studying abroad. Further information is available on the BAföG im Ausland web page
Does my current health insurance cover study abroad?
We advise you to contact your health insurance provider to find out to what extent your current health insurance coverage is valid in the host country and, if applicable, whether accompanying family members are covered as well.
What documents do I need to take with me?
Student parents studying abroad are advised to bring the following documents:
- Birth certificate
- Custody certificate (if applicable)
- Power of attorney from the other parent if you are traveling alone with your child(ren)
- Health insurance cards of all family members
- Medical documentation (for example, medical records booklets, vaccination cards, etc.)
Integration Team – Human Resources, Gender and Diversity at RWTH
Equality project of the RWTH students (AStA)
Representation of students with a disability or a chronic illness (AStA)
an den Aachener Hochschulen e.V.: meeting point for LGBTQ students
First Generation Aachen e.V.
Aachen network for students who do not come from an academic background