The ESNsurvey 2018 report is based on the answers obtained from an online questionnaire in 2017, the first edition of the ESNsurvey created to take into account accessibility and universal design aspects. The choice to explore the topic “Mapping the challenges and enablers of mobility for students with disabilities” comes as a great occasion to evaluate the expanding concept of student services. The recommendations and conclusions based on the results of the survey presented in this report aim at supporting the broader recommendations of the Inclusive Mobility Alliance.

To compile this report, we surveyed 948 students, from which 259 (27.3%) stated that they experienced some barriers because of a medical condition, disability or impairment. The data presented in this survey cannot be extended to the entire population of students with disabilities, but it can be useful for a large variety of stakeholders and policy-makers, as one of the aims of this research is to increase the amount of information available about disabilities in higher education and exchange programmes. The data can be considered as a starting point for follow-up studies that will further explore this topic.

The report is also available on



Key Findings

Support provision at the Home Higher Education Institutions

  • 80.7% of students with disabilities indicated the availability of an assigned person or office designated to supporting students with disabilities, the most common support service students with disabilities indicated at their Home Higher Education Institution. 46.3% of students with disabilities also identified their family members as their support network when it comes to their access and inclusion at their Home Higher Education Institution.
  • 15.8% of students with disabilities were very satisfied with the support provision at their home Higher Education Institution, 28.2% were satisfied, and only 10% were very dissatisfied with the services.
  • Recommendation: better support services for people with disabilities at Higher Education Institutions.
  • Recommendation: mental health support at the home and host Higher Education Institution.

Information provision about international exchange programmes

  • 80.3% of respondents with disabilities expressed that their Home Higher Education Institution provides information about international exchange programme opportunities. 56.4% highlighted the internet as the number one source of information and 48.6% of respondents rated International Relations Offices (IRO) as the second most important source of information.
  • More than one-third of students with disabilities explained that they received information about finances, budget and preparatory meetings. Only 21.6% of them highlighted that Home Higher Education Institutions do not provide accessibility information of the Host Higher Education Institution.
  • Only 15.1% of respondents with disabilities mentioned that their Home Higher Education Institution provides information on the Erasmus+ special needs grant for physical, mental or health-related conditions.
  • Recommendation: students with disabilities must have access to more accurate information on the levels of accessibility of Higher Education Institutions across Europe.


  • Among the students with disabilities who successfully received the Erasmus+ Special Needs Supplementary Grant, 31.3% mentioned that all of their access needs (support costs) were covered and 28.1% had most of their access needs (between 60%-80%) covered.
  • Recommendation: information about grants must be made accessible and easier.

Non-mobile participants

  • 68.7 % of students with disabilities did not participate in international exchange programmes. The most-reported factors for not engaging in an international mobility programme are the lack of (accessible) information about International Exchange Programmes (42.2%), the lack of support provisions from Home Higher Education Institutions (38.8%) and the financial constraints (35.9%).
  • Recommendation: inclusion of students with disabilities who participated in Erasmus+ in the promotion of the Programme towards other students with disabilities.


  • 83.8% of the sample of students with disabilities were either satisfied or very satisfied with their mobility experience.
  • Recommendation: Better overall accessibility measurements of Erasmus+ and other EU fundings.


Authors: Agnes Sarolta Fazekas, Jaume Alonso i Fernández, Laura De Vocht, Bojana Zimonjić, Giovanni Telesca, Andrea Bittnerova.
Editing: João Pinto (coord.), João Costa (coord.), Safi Sabuni (coord.), Dominique Montagnese.

The Project

ESNsurvey is the biggest regular European research project planned and carried out entirely by students, for students. It aims to be conducted annually and it surveys students at higher education institutions. ESN shares the results with the main stakeholders in higher education and mobility programmes.

ESNsurvey aims at:

  • Exploring current issues connected to academic and non-academic mobility and education.
  • Getting a better insight into student issues in order to represent their real needs.

To view previous reports of ESNsurvey, visit