Definition of the target group(s)
The twenty-fourth additional provision of Organic Law 6/2001 on universities (LOU) as amended by Organic Law 4/2007 (LOMLOU), establishes that universities shall guarantee equal opportunities for students and other members of the university community with disabilities, prohibiting any form of discrimination and establishing positive action measures to ensure their full participation in the university environment.
Universities shall promote actions to ensure that all members of the university community who have special or particular needs associated with any disability have the means, support and resources to ensure real and effective equality of opportunities in relation to the other members of the university community. In addition, regarding the award of grants and financial support, special attention will be paid to:
- people with family responsibilities;
- victims of gender-based violence;
- dependent and disabled people.
As for non-university higher education, for detailed information on attention to diversity measures aimed at students in advanced vocational training, see article Special education needs provision within mainstream education.
Specific support measures
Financial support for students
Article 45 of the LOU as amended by the LOMLOU, stipulates that the government and the autonomous communities, as well as the universities themselves, shall implement a policy of grants, aids and loans for students in order to ensure that no one is excluded from university studies due to financial reasons. In the case of public universities, they shall establish modalities for partial or total exemption from the payment of public fees for the provision of academic services. In all cases, special attention shall be paid to people with family responsibilities, victims of gender violence and people with dependency and disabilities, thus guaranteeing their access to and continuation of university studies.
Within its area of competence, the Ministry of Education and Vocational Training regulates the award of general grants and financial support. The Ministry invests financial resources in these grants, a part of which is intended for support for students with special educational needs, as well as for compensating universities regarding the public prices for the academic services corresponding to students who are grant holders and students of the National University for Distance Education (UNED) with any disability.
Special grants for university students with disabilities are characterised by the following:
- the possibility of reducing the number of credits in which they enrol in the case of university students with a degree of legally recognised disability of 65% or more;
- if students enrol in all the credits, the fixed amounts of the corresponding grants will be increased by a 50%.
Organisational options and alternative structures
- Distance university education:
- provided by UNED, a public university in Spain;
- the goal is to facilitate the access to studies and their continuity to those who cannot regularly attend university due to work, economic, place of residence or any other reason.
- Distance advanced vocational training: the Ministry of Education and Vocational Training, has created the platform Vocational Training through Internet with the purpose of familiarising citizens with vocational training, as well as facilitating information on these studies and giving access to online training.
Specific measures for students with disabilities
The LOU, as amended by the LOMLOU, defines in its twenty-fourth additional provision the measures for the inclusion of people with disabilities to ensure their access, permanence and exercise of their academic qualifications:
- availability of means, support and resources to ensure genuine and effective equality of opportunities in relation with other members of the university community;
- university environments must be accessible in accordance with the conditions of equal opportunities, non-discrimination and universal accessibility for people with disabilities, and in their implementing provisions. Buildings, equipment and university rooms, including web spaces, as well as services, procedures and information provision, must be accessible to everybody, so that no member of the university community, due to their disability, is prevented from exercising their right to enter, move, stay, communicate, obtain information and the like, in real and effective conditions of equality;
- every curricula proposed by universities must take into account that training in any professional activity must be carried out on the basis of respect and promotion of human rights and the principles of universal accessibility and design for everybody;
- total fee and public prices exemption for disabled students following studies leading to the obtaining of a university degree.
Article 12 of Royal Decree 1791/2010, which approves the University Student Statute, underlines that universities must establish the necessary resources and adaptations so that students with disabilities can exercise their rights on equal conditions as the rest, without it leading to a reduction in the required academic level.
Regarding access and admission procedures, article 15 of the University Student Statute establishes that the specific needs of these students must be taken into account in order to ensure equal opportunities and their full integration into university. They must guarantee the accessibility of spaces and buildings, including virtual spaces, and must make available to students with disabilities the material, human and technical resources to ensure equal opportunities and their full integration into the university community.
Administrations and universities, in accordance with article 18 of the University Student Statute, shall promote the participation of students with disabilities in national and international mobility programmes, establishing the relevant quotas, guaranteeing sufficient funding in each case, as well as information and cooperation systems between the units that provide care for these students.
According to article 22 of the University Student Statute, the establishment of permanent academic supervision programmes, so that students with disabilities can have a tutor throughout their studies, will be promoted.
As for evaluations, article 26 of the University Student Statute university institutions and departments must make the necessary methodological, time and space adjustments:
- establishment of the necessary resources and adaptations so that students with disabilities can exercise their rights on an equal basis as other students, without lowering the academic standards required;
- regarding access and admission processes, the specific needs of these students must be adopted, in order to guarantee equal opportunities and their full integration into universities;
- accessibility of their spaces and buildings, including virtual spaces, and material, human and technical resources must be made available to disabled students in order to ensure their full integration
- promotion of participation in national and international mobility programmes for students with disabilities;
- academic supervision programmes and activities will take into account the needs of disabled students, through the necessary methodological adaptations and, where appropriate, the establishment of specific academic supervision according to their needs. The establishment of permanent academic supervision programmes, so that students with disabilities can have a tutor throughout their studies, will be promoted;
- concerning the development of external work placements, the establishment of agreements with companies and institutions will be promoted. Such companies will be encouraged to implement the necessary adaptations for the accessibility of trainee disabled students;
- regarding evaluation tests, institutions and departments must make the necessary methodological, time and space adjustments;
- the communication of the exam results and the premises aimed at exam revision must be accessible for students with disabilities;
- promotion of student representation, facilitating the access and participation of disabled students;
- promotion of physical and sport activity programmes for students with disabilities, providing the means and adapting the facilities;
- encourage the participation of disabled students in development cooperation and social participation projects;
- creation and maintenance of adapted transport services for students with motor disabilities and/or with reduced mobility;
- promotion of the creation of Assistance Services aimed at the educational community with disabilities;
- the facilities of university colleges and residences must be accessible for people with disabilities.