According to the Law No 57/2019, "People with disabilities" are individuals who have long-term impairments physical, mental, intellectual or sensory impairment which, in conjunction with various barriers, including environmental and residence, can hinder full and effective participation of these persons in society, on equal terms with the others”.
This definition comprises a wide range of disabilities.
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In general, the obligations derived by the International Conventions (in which Albania is a Party) and national legal provisions on disabilities, oblige the higher education institutions to provide reasonable adjustments to students with disabilities. HEIs are obliged to set out clear regulations and procedures on how to offer reasonable adjustments (infrastructure facilities, hygienic conditions, appropriate services, special assistance to persons with reduced mobility accompanying person for blind people, etc).
Pursuant to the legal framework on disabilities, for students with disabilities, related law and bylaw provisions are provided in the adopted legal acts on higher education. According to these acts, students with disabilities benefit from scholarships, grants, reduction or exemption from paying fees, etc.
The disabled candidates for admission in the universities benefit from admission requirements derogations defined in the relevant bylaws.
The benefits follow the submission of relevant documents issued by the competent authorities (mainly medical) for the certification of disability.
HEIs’ Counseling Offices and Didactic Secretaries assist students to submit documents to the respective offices. They tell the students about the type of documents students need to provide and how to proceed with.
The final decision is taken by the HEI’s Board of Administration, in the framework of the institutional autonomy granted by the Law.
In the first cycle, students with disabilities are exempt from paying tuition fees and they are granted with 100$. In the second cycle, students with disabilities pay only half of the tuition fee.
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In the Law no. 80/2015 “On Higher Education. . .” grants are provided for students in need (disabilities included)
The Law no. 57/2019 "On social assistance in the Republic of Albania" envisages the criteria and procedures for obtaining the status of a person with disabilities and consequently, financial benefits received in the form of payment (assistance, grants, etc.) and exemptions from tuition fees and other payments. This includes students as well.
At the same time, they benefit from other facilities (infrastructural, etc) envisaged for disabled people.
Outgoing students with disabilities do not lose their benefits (exemption from tuition fees, grants) during the period spent abroad.
The grant is paid directly to the student personal bank account and continues during the period spent abroad.
In general, grants are provided for foreign students, exemption from tuition fees and free accommodation, when they come to Albania in the framework of formal bilateral / multilateral governmental agreements. This is provided in DCM no. no. 357, dated 8.8.1994, "On the treatment of foreign undergraduate and postgraduate students, foreign professors studying or exercising academic activity, according to mutual agreements in the Republic of Albania", as amended;
Likewise, the benefits from the status of student with disabilities can be foreseen in the agreements between the universities themselves in the framework of academic exchanges and bilateral / multilateral agreements.