In general, the support schemes for students with disabilities are well-developed in Denmark, and the legislation regarding the schemes often guarantees that the students maintain the support services when going abroad for studies or traineeships during their higher education programmes. Some examples of such support schemes are: Special educational assistance /SPS, assistance received pursuant to the Danish Act on Social Services or Danish State Educational Grant and Loan Scheme disability allowances.
Within Erasmus+, additional special needs support can be granted due to special needs are only provided when costs are not covered by the Danish support schemes. Often all costs are covered by the national support schemes, thus the special needs support through Erasmus+ is not widely applied. Therefore, not all students with special needs are registered as they have not applied for additional funds
Normally, students must be Danish citizens to be eligible for State Educational Grants. Foreign citizens, however, have the possibility of applying for equal status with Danish citizens and thus being approved to receive State Educational Grant and disability allowances for students with a very substantial limitation in their earning capacity because of a lasting physical or psychological disability.
For more information, check the description of the application procedure for equal status with Danish citizens
There is no differentiation between physical or mental disabilities, and there is no limit to which illnesses or conditions are included.
According to the Executive Order on Exams for higher educational institutions:
“§ 7. The university can offer special conditions for students with a physical or mental disability and for students with another first language than Danish, when the university deems it necessary to make students equal to the other students in the same exam situation. It is a premise that the offer does not change the level of difficulty of the exam.“
Almost all similar provisions are in the three other Executive Orders on Exams for the higher educational institutions.
Students are entitled to supportive measures when they can provide recent medical documentation of lasting or long-lasting physical, sensory or psychological impairments, which in interaction with barriers in the educational system may hinder full and effective participation in education.
Students who are entitled to Danish State Educational Grant and Loan Scheme and attending higher education or a vocational education, are entitled to a disability allowances, when they have a very substantial limitation in their earning capacity because of a lasting physical or psychological disability.
The higher educational institutions under the Ministry of Higher Education and Science are mostly autonomous and under supervision by the Minister of Higher Education and Science, who have delegated this competence to the Danish Agency of Higher Education and Science. It is the educational institution’s duty to initiate appropriate adaptation measures in relation to a disabled student.
The protection of disabled people and the ban against discrimination on the job market etc. is written in Danish law in: Bekendtgørelse af lov nr.1001 of 24th August 2017 om forbud mod forskelsbehandling på arbejdsmarkedet m.v. The ban against discrimination includes the higher educational institutions and its students.
The term “disabled” should in this context be interpreted as when a student’s illness must be characterized as a disability, if there is anything on the course where the disability has the consequence that the student cannot have the same opportunities as other students.
The institutions have a legal basis to offer students some kind of accommodation to their physical or mental disability to remedy and by that making them equal to other students, without it changing the level of difficulty of the exam.
The institutions have to assess the situation and decide what kind of documentation is necessary so the student can be offered special conditions. From the time where the institution becomes acquainted with the knowledge that the student has a disability, the responsibility and obligation to make adjustments surpasses the institution. Therefore, the student does not need to apply for special accommodations for each exam.
The institution has an obligation to investigate which special accommodations would be appropriate, and they cannot simply reject the application for special accommodations if the students’ suggestions are not possible or appropriate. The students’ suggestion for special accommodations have to be seen as information in the assessment of which accommodations that would be appropriate, and not a limitation of which accommodations that have to be assessed.
The special conditions could be extended time for the exam, a different kind of exam, a special room to have the exam in, writing pen, reading tools, spell-check etc.
If a student wishes to make a complaint over a decision made by an institution about special accommodations, the student has to form a complaint to the Danish Agency of Higher Education and Science if it is about legal matters. The Agency does not have jurisdiction to assess complaints about professional judgement, if the special accommodation is necessary or appropriate. In those matters, the student has to make a complaint to the Council of Appeal on Equal Treatment.
The Danish Agency of Higher Education and Science has sent a letter and a guide on the 5th of May 2020 to the higher educational institutions about the administration of students with disabilities
For more information: https://www.retsinformation.dk/eli/lta/2017/1001
Students with disabilities are to contact the educational institution immediately after admission. The educational institutions are obliged to apply at the National Agency for Education and Quality for disability specific support within a short period. The educational institutions are to indicate the specific kind and scope of support for the student. Applications must be attached with recent documentation for the impairment.
Based on application and documentation, different supportive measures can be provided according to the specific needs of the student. The supportive measures can be in the forms of:
- Assistive devices e.g. as adjusted computers and compensatory programs, e.g. for persons with dyslexia.
- Sign language, captioning and hearing facilities.
- Adjusted materials.
- Support to structure time and to manage participation e.g. for persons with psychological impairments.
- Educational institutions can provide reasonable accommodation as e.g. extended time for exams and testing as well as separate rooms.
Students who are entitled to Danish State Educational Grant and Loan Scheme and attending higher education or a vocational education, are entitled to a disability allowances, when they have a very substantial limitation in their earning capacity because of a lasting physical or psychological disability. The application procedure is electronic and integrated with other Student educational grant applications. The students must provide medical documentation. The applications are assessed individually