European Association for International Education

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Access & Inclusion (ACCESS)

Access and Inclusion is concerned with achieving the equal participation of students and staff with disabilities in all aspects of higher education, especially international mobility.

These students and staff are underrepresented in exchange programmes, with multiple barriers to entry such as deep-rooted cultural attitudes to disability, lack of information about opportunities and misconceptions about the range and nature of different disabilities and the accommodations required.


It is estimated that 80 million people living in the EU have a mild to severe disability and that the proportion of students and staff with disabilities at universities across Europe ranges from 8-10%. Despite worldwide recognition that equal rights and opportunities for people with disabilities should be self-evident and safeguarded, in daily practice much work remains to be done to achieve equal access and participation in society.

The mission of ACCESS is to increase the participation and improve the experience of students and staff with disabilities in international higher education through activities designed to exchange knowledge, change perceptions and influence national and European policy.


  • To work with other groups active in the field – nationally and internationally – and aim to consolidate, rather than replicate, actions, resources and projects.
  • To build a practical, collaborative network of international education professionals and disability professionals both within and between countries. This has the potential to impact directly on the everyday interactions of students and staff with disabilities at universities across Europe and to promote the equal sharing of opportunities among the population.
  • To engage with the administration of the Erasmus programme at the European Commission, feeding in information about the practical delivery of the programme at ground level and proposing measures to improve the experience of students and staff with disabilities.
  • To be a primary source of information on international higher education, disability and diversity.
ACCESS Steering group
ACCESS Resource persons

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