As of Tuesday, students who are in dire need of help as a result of the corona pandemic and who need immediate help can apply for bridging assistance in the form of a non-repayable grant from their student union. Federal Minister of Education Anja Karliczek explains:
“The corona pandemic has affected all of society in Germany. The Federal Government’s aim is to cushion the hardship for the people of Germany and to get through this severe global crisis as well as possible. This also applies to students.
I am aware that many students have lost their jobs, and many have lost support from their families. That is why I took extensive measures from the start of the pandemic to cushion the hardship for students. We have put together a package that includes adjustments to the BAföG and a bridging aid with two safety nets. This is a comprehensive package that corresponds to the current exceptional situation.
At the BAföG I already issued a decree in March that those receiving BAföG funding should not suffer any disadvantages if, for example, courses or exams cannot take place due to the corona pandemic. If the parents earn less due to the pandemic, an update application can be made for the current BAföG approval period. We have adjusted the crediting rules in the BAföG : Anyone who supports our society in the current crisis in systemically relevant sectors will thus remain in full BAföG funding.
We have also created a bridging aid for affected students. The largest safety net is the proven KfW student loan, which basically offers every student stable and fast support. Since May to the end of March 2021, this has been free of interest for everyone and has been open to foreign students since June who were not previously eligible to apply. Many students took advantage of this offer: in May, the number of applications more than quadrupled compared to April. This corresponds to a financial volume in May of over 167 million euros. The approximately 60,500 students who have already received a student loan will also be relieved by the interest rate reduction by the end of March 2021. This is help that is felt in the wallet of those affected.
Foreign students have been able to apply for the KfW student loan since June 1st . This applies to citizens of third countries and EU citizens who have been in Germany for less than three years. This group could only start a little later because the application technology had to be adjusted accordingly. That also didn’t exist yet. It is important to me that foreign students in Germany are not left alone in emergencies. The high number of applications from this target group in the first few days shows that it was right to open the KfW student loan for students from abroad.
Now we are opening the second safety net of the bridging aid. With a non-repayable grant, we are demonstrably supporting students in need in pandemic acute emergencies. Applications can be submitted online from this Tuesday. The BMBFhas provided 100 million euros for this. The applications are checked and processed on site at the student and student services. I would like to thank everyone involved in the Deutsches Studentenwerk and the student unions throughout the country for their work in opening this safety net. In particular, I am grateful to all employees in the 57 student unions for their dedication and the effort that counseling and processing means. I thank all of you from the bottom of my heart for being there for the students.
The grant can be applied for online up to an amount of up to EUR 500 in the months of June, July and August 2020. All students at state and state-recognized universities are eligible to apply, from home and abroad, regardless of age or number of semesters.
We take the concerns and needs of students seriously. That is why we have put together a unique support package for you. Because we cannot allow the corona pandemic to drive students to drop out or give up their studies. “
Achim Meyer auf der Heyde, the general secretary of the German Student Union, explains the dimension of the project: “We are more than aware that many students need acute financial help and were more likely to expect it. But it is an ambitious project. In a few weeks, we had to develop a completely new online-supported funding process for the nationwide bridging aid. It is important to us that the students can now apply for help for June. Since we still have to program the online portal at the same time, the payments can probably only be made from June 25, 2020. ”
Students in acute emergency can apply for the bridging help from Tuesday at 12 noon in a nationwide, standardized online tool. The German Student Union (DSW) has created its own portal as the umbrella organization for German student unions: www.ueberbrueckungshilfe-studierende.de
Students from Germany and abroad who are enrolled at state and state-recognized universities in Germany are eligible to apply. The number of semesters or the age are not grounds for exclusion. The decisive factor is the proven, acute pandemic-related emergency.
Students at administrative colleges or Bundeswehr universities, students studying part-time or dual studies, guest students and students at universities that are not recognized by the state are not eligible to apply.
The applications of the students are automatically forwarded to the student or student service responsible for them via the portal. As of June 25, 2020, applications will be processed and paid out by the 57 student and student organizations organized in the DSW.
Depending on the need, between EUR 100 and EUR 500 can be paid as a non-repayable grant. Bridging assistance can be applied for in June, July and August 2020. The decisive factor is the account balance from the day before the application is made. For example, if you still have 200 euros in your account, you can receive 300 euros in bridging assistance for the month you submit your application.
BMBF hotline for bridging help:
Telephone: 0800 26 23 003
Answers to the most important questions:
Background: Social mandate from the student unions
The 57 student and student organizations organized by the Deutsches Studentenwerk (DSW) are, as non-university, non-profit organizations, responsible for the economic and social support of students in Germany. You have a statutory social mandate. They operate student halls of residence, the refectories, and childcare facilities as well as social and psychological counseling centers at German universities. The student unions also implement the BAföG on behalf of the federal and state governments . 53 of the 57 student unions already had emergency or hardship funds for students in financial distress before the corona pandemic.