29th BAföG amendment: "The plans are disappointing"

On Wednesday, March 6, 2024, the Federal Cabinet will discuss the Federal Ministry of Education and Research's (BMBF) draft bill for a 29th BAföG amendment. Matthias Anbuhl, Chairman of the Executive Board of Deutsches Studierendenwerk, explains:

"The plans for this BAföG amendment are disappointing: despite sharp rises in food and rent prices, students are to be fobbed off with a zero increase in the BAföG needs rates. While the citizen's allowance, pensions and parliamentary salaries are rightly being adjusted and increased in line with inflation, this is not happening for a central instrument of educational justice. This sends a fatal signal to the younger generation.

This flaw in the BAföG amendment cannot be compensated for by slight improvements to the maximum duration of support, the change of subject or the introduction of a study start-up grant.

What's more, the Bundestag Budget Committee has earmarked 150 million euros for the Federal Ministry of Education and Research, including for an increase in BAföG rates. However, according to the BMBF's draft bill for a 29th BAföG amendment, only 62 million euros of this is to be used.

At 452 euros per month, the basic BAföG requirement is significantly lower than what Düsseldorf Tabelle specifies as a guideline for parental maintenance, namely 520 euros per month, and it is far below the basic requirement of 563 euros per month for the citizen's allowance, which the federal government defines as the socio-cultural subsistence level. However, students are not second-class citizens; they eat, drink and heat no less than other people.

The BAföG flat-rate housing allowance of 360 euros per month is hardly enough to afford a room in a shared flat in any university city. According to the 22nd Social Survey, the average rental expenditure of students in 2021 was already 410 euros per month. And that was before the war and inflation. Düsseldorfer Tabelle also estimates this sum for maintenance. Today, market research analyses estimate average costs of more than 450 euros per month for a room in a shared flat.

The money is also available for an increase in BAföG rates and the flat-rate housing allowance. And the Federal Ministry of Education and Research doesn't want to use it?"

You can find this press statement online

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