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A scholarship can be used to partially or fully finance studies. At the center of support in the higher education context are the 13 major organizations for the promotion of gifted students. These include, for example, foundations of political parties and trade unions, confessional organizations and business-related foundations. The funding landscape is supplemented by other foundations that award subject- or location-related scholarships to students and young scientists, for example, or by companies, universities or private individuals. A few foundations specifically address students with disabilities, chronic or mental illness.

In general, the presence of a disability, chronic or mental illness is not a reason for exclusion from a scholarship. Many scholarship providers also take into account the needs of students and young academics with disabilities, chronic or mental illness. It is worthwhile to research this carefully and, if necessary, to ask the foundations and scholarship organizations.

Important: Interested students should find out about scholarship opportunities and deadlines for applications as early as possible.

Scholarships of the Begabtenförderungswerke

The 13 German organizations for the promotion of gifted students provide financial and non-material support for particularly talented and committed students and doctoral candidates in the form of a full scholarship. The organizations are committed to a common set of values (PDF) and reflect the pluralism and social diversity in Germany. Central fundamental values are the principles of liberal democracy and the free constitutional state.

Scholarships are awarded to students and doctoral candidates whose talent, motivation, and personality are expected to produce outstanding academic achievements at the Universities and in their careers, as well as to assume social responsibility. A disability, chronic or mental illness does not prevent an application for a scholarship.

The awarding of scholarships is based on three selection criteria:

  • above-average study requirements / credits
  • social commitment
  • personality profile

On this basis, the respective plants set their own priorities for the requirements that scholar, stipendiaries must fulfill. In any case, it is worthwhile to compare the requirements for applicants and the contents of the individual works in order to find the individually suitable work.

Doctoral candidates must fulfill additional requirements. For example, their previous study and examination achievements must demonstrate a special aptitude for scientific work. The doctoral project should make a relevant research contribution in the respective subject.

Financial support

The amount of financial support is the same for all scholarships for gifted students. Students receive a so-called basic grant, which is based on the amount of the Bafög and is dependent on their own income or the income of their parents or spouse. In addition, students receive a monthly flat-rate tuition fee independent of their income.

Doctoral students are funded independently of their parents. Furthermore, funded doctoral students can receive travel allowances as well as family and child allowances.

Ideal promotion

The idealistic support includes, for example, seminars, symposia, and training courses in which scholars, stipendiaries, and students work together to deal with social issues and challenges in a differentiated way that transcends ideological, religious, and political boundaries. Individual supervision by the scholarship organization, support abroad, and networking in university groups and alumni networks are further components of a scholarship. Lecturers from the scholarships are available as local contacts.

Consideration of a disability or illness in the promotion

The organizations for the promotion of the gifted are supported with funds from the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) as well as from other governmental and non-governmental sponsors. They are subject to the guidelines of the BMBF (PDF). Therefore, the works must take into account the specific situation of students and young scientists with disabilities in the sense of the Act on Equality of Persons with Disabilities (Behindertengleichstellungsgesetz - BGG). With reference to §1 BGG, the works must pay special attention to the avoidance of discrimination in the promotion of people with disabilities. How discrimination can be avoided must be clarified with the responsible plant in each individual case.

The duration of the basic support for students is based on the maximum support period specified in the BAföG. In the case of bachelor's degree programs, funding can be fixed until the end of a subsequent master's degree program. In individual cases, the support can be extended if serious reasons are presented. Strict standards are applied and the extension of the funding period must be verifiably justified and recorded in the scholar, stipendiary's funding file. Students with disabilities, chronic or mental illnesses who wish to apply for an extension of the funding period due to their impairment should seek advice from their work or the liaison lecturer at an early stage.

The standard funding period for doctoral students is two years. Doctoral candidates can apply for an extension of funding for a maximum of one year if the scholar, stipendiary is prevented from continuing with the doctoral project due to a disability or illness. In addition, the funding can be interrupted for a maximum of one year for health reasons with the approval of the work. The reasons must be explained in detail.

Extensive information on scholarships offered by the Begabtenförderungswerke is available on the StipendiumPlus portal.

Study Fund OWL

Students at Bielefeld University can apply for a scholarship from the Studienfonds OWL foundation. This foundation is a cooperative project of the five Universities in Ostwestfalen-Lippe. Students are supported with two program lines, the social scholarship and the Germany scholarship.

Social scholarship

The social scholarship is particularly interesting for students with disabilities, chronic or mental illnesses who, for example, cannot pursue a part-time job during their studies due to their impairment and who need temporary financial support to live.

Scholar, stipendiaries are financially supported for two semesters with a monthly contribution to living expenses. In addition, they can take advantage of an extensive non-material support program with workshops, contacts to companies, mentoring and more. Participation in the non-material support program is encouraged.

The social scholarship is awarded to students of Bielefeld University who, through no fault of their own, can prove that they are in financial or personal need. Applicants must have at least satisfactory school or study requirements / credits.

The scholar, stipendiary is selected on the basis of the application documents submitted. There are no selection interviews. The primary selection criterion is the existence of financial or personal need or hardship. Social commitment is, in contrast to many other scholarship programs, a secondary selection criterion.

Interruptions of studies, such as may occur in the case of a leave of absence due to illness or disability, must be agreed upon with the Stiftung Studienfonds OWL on a case-by-case basis.

Important: A severe disability fulfills the criterion of personal need. In the case of otherwise equal suitability, severely disabled students will be given preferential treatment in the awarding process.

When receiving a social scholarship, the BAföG rate may possibly be reduced. Scholar, stipendiaries should inform themselves in good time at the responsible BAföG office.

Germany Scholarship

The Deutschlandstipendium is awarded by Bielefeld University and is characterized by the combination of state funding and civil society commitment. Half of the scholarship is funded by the German government and the other half by donations raised by the participating Universities or, for Bielefeld University, by the Studienfonds OWL.

A Deutschlandstipendium can be used to sponsor talented and high-achieving students at Bielefeld University. The selection criteria include academic achievements at school or university as well as the social commitment of the Applicants. In addition, special social, family or personal circumstances of the Applicants are taken into account. This includes, for example, overcoming biographical hurdles resulting from family or cultural background.

Scholar, stipendiaries of the Deutschlandstipendium are supported ideally and financially for two years. A performance review takes place after one year.

Scholar, stipendiaries receive a monthly amount in addition to their own living expenses, regardless of income or student loans. The Deutschlandstipendium can only be partially used in conjunction with other scholarships. For example, simultaneous support from a scholarship organization for the gifted is not possible. Interested persons who already receive a scholarship from another funding institution should inform themselves in advance about the admissibility of supplementary funding through a Deutschlandstipendium.

The special feature of the Deutschlandstipendium is the extensive idealistic support program, consisting of e.g. workshops, mentoring, cultural events or company visits.

Scholarships specifically for students with disabilities, chronic or mental illness.

Some private foundations exclusively sponsor students with disabilities or a chronic illness.

aktion luftsprung - Foundation for chronically seriously ill children and adolescents

The aktion luftsprung foundation awards five scholarships per year to students or trainees as part of the luftsprung campus program. Scholar, stipendiaries receive monthly financial support in addition to their living expenses such as child support, BAföG or similar. This is intended to enable the scholar, stipendiary to pursue their studies and lead their lives without the burden of additional activities such as part-time jobs. In addition, the scholar, stipendiaries are accompanied by the foundation's own mentor team and supported in their choice of career.

The funding period is one year. Re-application is permitted.

Applications are open to all young adults with a systemic chronic disease, especially people with inflammatory bowel disease, multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, cystic fibrosis or cystic fibrosis. Applicants must have a qualifying high school diploma and proof of enrollment or education.


Google Europe Scholarship for Students with Disabilities

The Google Europe Scholarship for Students with Disabilites, together with the non-profit organization EmployAbility, supports students with disabilities, chronic or mental illness who are studying or pursuing a PhD in Computer Science, Computer Engineering and related subjects at a European or Israeli Universities. Further requirements for a scholarship are very good study requirements / credits. Scholar, stipendiaries receive a one-time financial allowance in the year of funding, which may only be used for costs of study, e.g. tuition fees, textbooks and other required study materials.


Bowel Disease Foundation

The Bowel Disease Foundation exclusively sponsors people with Crohn's disease or ulcerative colitis with a one-time financial educational scholarship.

The scholarship is intended for study- and training-related expenses, e.g. for the realization of an individual education or training project, the purchase of teaching materials or technical literature, or the financing of stays abroad. Living expenses or additional needs due to disability cannot be covered by the scholarship. In individual cases, housing and travel costs can be covered at the end of the studies in order to bridge the time of the final exam(ination) or the final thesis.

Applicants must not be older than 35 years. At the time of application, the educational project must not yet be completed and should start by the end of the funding period of one year at the latest.

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