Grants for students in need

As was the case last year, the grants for students who are in need due to Corona have been extended for the entire summer semester 2021. A grant of up to €500 per month is available upon application. Eligible for the grants are students who live in Germany at the time of application, are enrolled at a state or state-recognised higher education institution in Germany and are not on leave of absence. This applies to students from Germany and abroad, without age limit. Applications can be submitted via the following platform: https://www.überbrückungshilfe-studierende.de/

Background:

Students at state-recognised higher education institutions in Germany have been able to apply online for bridging assistance in the form of a grant from the regionally responsible student or student union to alleviate pandemic-related emergencies since June 2020. This assistance will also be offered seamlessly for the entire summer semester of 2021. It thus remains part of a large package offered by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) to support students.

Students are eligible to apply for the grants if they live in Germany at the time of application, are enrolled at a state or state-recognised higher education institution in Germany and are not on leave of absence. This applies to students from Germany and abroad, without age limit. The grant is awarded monthly up to an amount of 500 euros. The 57 regional student and student services organisations are responsible for processing the applications, which are submitted exclusively online via the established nationwide uniform IT platform: https://www.überbrückungshilfe-studierende.de/.

The regulations were adapted to the extended term in close exchange with the Deutsches Studentenwerk e.V. (DSW). (DSW) to adapt them to the extended term. The tried and tested cornerstones in the grant application process remain, in particular the simplifications that have been in effect since the winter semester 2020/2021. These primarily concern three areas:

  1. a shortened documentation of account movements
  2. the adjustment of the current proof of a pandemic-related hardship opens up access to grants for students who are currently unable to find a part-time job, and
  3. the extended admission of self-declarations if written documentation cannot be provided in Corona times.

For all March applications, the current guidelines continue to apply. For applications from 1 April onwards, slightly adjusted guidelines apply, which are publicly available. Experiences from more than eight months of cooperation with the regionally responsible student and student services organisations have been incorporated. Information on the rules from April onwards will be included in the various other support materials in close consultation with the DSW, i.e. in the explanations in the application form, the FAQs of the BMBF and the DSW on the internet. For general questions, the BMBF telephone hotline will remain available during the summer semester.

Currently, most of the applications received in January and February have been processed. Around 75 per cent of the students who applied were able to be supported by the grants this year. The grants thus offer nationwide, transparent and rapid support in acute pandemic-related emergencies.

Application figures and approval rate over the course of the application months (*application currently possible) (as of 16 March 2021)

Bridging assistance as a grant is only one part of the BMBF's package for students in pandemic-related emergencies. The second pillar of the bridging assistance is the KfW Student Loan, which was made interest-free for borrowers until the end of the year. The Student Loan is a proven programme of the Kreditanstalt für Wiederaufbau (KfW). Since 2006, it has offered students the opportunity to borrow up to 650 euros per month. In principle, students of all state-recognised higher education institutions in Germany between the ages of 18 and 44 who meet one of the following requirements are eligible:

  • German citizens with a domestic registration address,
  • family members of a German citizen who are staying with him or her in Germany and are registered here,
  • EU citizens who have legally resided permanently in Germany for at least three years and are registered here,
  • Family members of such an EU citizen who reside with him or her in Germany and are registered here,
  • Residents of Germany who are enrolled in education and registered in Germany.
  • More information: www.kfw.de/studienkredit-coronahilfe.

As an accompanying measure, the federal government has ensured that BAföG recipients will not suffer any disadvantages if, for example, courses or examinations cannot take place because of the Corona pandemic. If delays in the course of studies have occurred due to the pandemic, BAföG will be paid for a correspondingly longer period of time, even beyond the maximum funding period. Insofar as federal states do not count one or more semesters towards the standard period of study during the pandemic, this is reflected in the BAföG. In addition, the BAföG reform of 2019 significantly increased the need rates, the housing cost supplement and the income allowances.

Further statements:

Federal Minister of Education Anja Karliczek:

"I receive many letters in which students describe their very personal situation to me. I take these concerns and fears seriously. It is important to me that no one has to abandon their studies because their own earning potential has disappeared or their parents' income has decreased. That is why it is important that the bridging assistance is now seamlessly offered as support for students throughout the summer semester 2021. I would like to thank the staff of the Studentenwerke for their strenuous efforts on site, which continue to be implemented. Their commitment makes it possible for the support to reach students in pandemic-related emergencies. However, we also know that there are many students who do not receive benefits under the normal BAföG, even though they are entitled to them. Here, I encourage students to first submit a regular application for BAföG."

Achim Meyer auf der Heyde, Secretary General of the German Student Union (DSW):

"The student and student unions are also ready in the summer semester of 2021 to support students who have found themselves in a financial emergency due to the pandemic. The student unions are helping, and their employees are putting in the work to provide bridging assistance. The longer the pandemic lasts, the more manifest the systemic relevance of student and student unions becomes."

Further information:

FAQ of the BMBF on bridging aid: https://www.bmbf.de/de/wissenswertes-zur-ueberbrueckungshilfe-fuer-studierende-11509.html

This press release online: www.studentenwerke.de/de/content/bmbf-verlängert-zuschuss-für-studierende