29th BAföG amendment: "There is a lack of power"

  • Thursday evening, 18 January 2024, debate in the German Bundestag on the Federal Government's 23rd BAföG report
  • Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) has now submitted a draft bill for a 29th BAföG amendment
  • Deutsches Studierendenwerk (DSW) sees slight improvements, but misses an increase in the BAföG requirement rates and flat-rate housing allowance
  • DSW Chairman Matthias Anbuhl: "There is a lack of strength"
  • Anbuhl: "It is a deliberate decision by the Federal Ministry of Education to spend only 62 of the 150 million euros provided. The students are the ones who suffer"

Berlin, 18 January 2024: In view of the Federal Ministry of Education and Research's (BMBF) draft bill for a 29th BAföG amendment, Deutsches Studierendenwerk (DSW) lacks the political will to actually make full use of the financial framework provided by the budget committee for BAföG.

DSW Chairman Matthias Anbuhl explains on the occasion of today's debate in the German Bundestag on the 23rd BAföG report:

"Prices and rents are high due to inflation, BAföG rates and the BAföG housing allowance remain too low - although money is available for this despite the difficult budget situation: That is the fatal message this draft bill sends to students.

The Bundestag Budget Committee has earmarked 150 million euros for the Federal Ministry of Education and Research for the months of October to December 2024 to increase BAföG rates. According to the draft bill, only 62 million euros of this is now to be used.

Despite high inflation and high prices for rents, energy and food, not increasing the BAföG basic requirement and the BAföG flat-rate housing allowance, not using the financial framework provided by the Budget Committee - this is a very deliberate political decision by the Federal Ministry of Education.

BAföG is to remain stagnant at the level of fall 2022 in terms of the rates of need and the flat-rate housing allowance. The 5.75 percent increase in the benefit rates at that time was immediately eaten up by inflation. While there are automatic adjustments to housing benefit, pensions, citizens' allowance and MPs' salaries, BAföG is only increased in line with the political cycle. This means that the central state instrument for educational equality is being left behind.

Against this background, it is difficult to appreciate the slight improvements planned in the draft bill, such as the increase in parental allowances by five percent, the extension of the maximum funding period by one semester, the change of subject after five semesters or the planned study start-up aid.

At the same time, the BAföG loan component is also to be increased from the current maximum of 10,010 euros to 11,550 euros. Many students, especially those from poorer families - as the latest social survey shows - are put off studying by debt. The coalition had promised to look into reducing the loan component. Now the Ministry of Education is proposing the complete opposite.

My conclusion: there are to be slight improvements to BAföG, but overall, the lack of an increase leaves a large gap. The Ministry of Education lacks strength and political will. The ones who suffer are the students."

Link to the Bundestag debate 23rd BAföG report Thursday evening, 18 January 2024, approx. 9 pm

This press release online


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