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Accessibility aspects in Erasmus+

Accessibility aspects in Erasmus+

All Higher Education Institutions which are part of the Erasmus+ Programme have signed the Erasmus Charter for Higher Education, and thereby committed to ensure equal access and opportunities to participants from all backgrounds.

Being outside of a programme means that there may be fewer support structures around you, and likely no grant to cover costs. It may also mean that you will have to pay a tuition fee at the host institution. In order to find out whether this works, you need to contact the potential host institution and ask them directly.

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Initially I didn’t want to be labelled nor did I feel that I needed support. Once I disclosed and got the support of my institution’s disability services, my options opened up.
EPFIME student testimony

If you have a disability, you are also entitled to a inclusion support that covers the extra costs associated with your disability. The definition reads: “A person with fewer opportunities is a potential participant whose personal, physical, mental or health-related conditions is such that his/her participation in the project / mobility action would not be possible without extra financial or other support”. This definition is from the Erasmus+ Programme Guide 2021, where it also says: "In particular these costs aim at covering the extra financial support required for participants with physical, mental or health related conditions to allow their participation in the mobility as well as in preparatory visits and for accompanying persons". Your sending institution can apply for this grant from its National Agency, which in turn gets the money from the EU. Extra costs could be, for example, the following (list non-exhaustive):

  • adapted accommodation
  • travel assistance
  • medical attendance
  • supportive equipment
  • adaption of learning material
  • an accompanying person
  • a sign language interpreter
  • ...

These extra costs are based on “real costs”, meaning that you will need to carefully document all the costs and make sure that you have receipts for all the costs. It may be only after the end of your experience abroad that you need to report about it to your institution.

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I had the possibility to find a good accessible accommodation, pre visit the university and visit an information centre for people with disabilities in my host city, which helped me organise medical aids and to search for personal assistance in advance of my studies.
EPFIME student testomony

Apart from the Erasmus+ special needs grants, different institutions and countries may offer additional grants. See the pages of the National Agencies and National Erasmus+ Offices.

It is important to be aware that requesting this grant is a procedure that can be lengthy, both for you and for the institution involved. The application is done in cooperation between the student and the Higher Education Institution towards the National Agency. Note also that to this day, not all institutions in Europe have had previous experience with requesting and managing this type of grant, and you might be the first person to request it. Therefore, it is important to contact your home institution well in advance to ask about this grant and make sure there is enough time to prepare the paperwork to receive it. Your institution can help you to fill in the different forms and some National Agencies also offer preparatory visits to the place of the exchange.

Want to hear from students who have been abroad already?

In our testimonials page you can hear more from students with disabilities who have taken part in different types of mobilities abroad.