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Studying abroad with a functional disability

Last updated on 5 December 2022
As a student with a functional disability you may be eligible for an additional Erasmus+ grant, or accessibility and other facilities at host universities.

Studying abroad is not equally accessible for all students. For students with functional disabilities, psychological problems, dyslexia, issues with fatigue and so on, studying abroad can require additional preparations. We encourage all students to go on exchange. Both the VU International Office and several of our partner universities offer additional support to students who require additional (functional disability) support before, during and after their exchange. Many of our partner universities have special facilities and teams who can assist students with special needs. You may be eligible for a supplementary Erasmus+ grant to cover any additional costs. If you require special assistance to carry out your studies abroad, we recommend you get in touch with us early on in your orientation process to discuss your possibilities.

Additional Erasmus+ grant

The European Commission wishes to make it easier for students with functional disabilities to participate in European exchange programmes. The Expertise Centre for Inclusive Education can provide you with more information about studying abroad. If you have a functional disability, you can apply for a supplementary Erasmus+ grant to cover any additional costs of studying abroad, such as wheelchair-accessible accommodation or additional medical costs.

To apply for the additional Erasmus+ grant, you will need the following documents:

  • a medical statement from a doctor
  • a statement from the university in the Netherlands at which you are enrolled, describing the nature and severity of the functional disability and the resulting special needs and requirements 
  • a detailed budget for the required provisions, insofar as these expenses are not covered by another source
  • an overview of all other forms of support that you already receive, including an explanation of why this support is insufficient to cover the costs of a stay abroad
  • correspondence showing that the host institution is aware of your intention to study there and is willing and able to meet your needs. 

Do you have a functional disability and wish to apply for an additional Erasmus+ grant? Please contact us.

Higher Education Accessibility Guide (HEAG)

The Higher Education Accessibility Guide (HEAG) is now online. Here, students with functional disabilities who wish to study abroad can find information about the accessibility of higher education institutions in their intended host country. Students with functional disabilities have a very low participation rate in European exchange programmes. This digital database gives these students (and their supervisors) better insight into the options for studying abroad.

More information