Finances

Bridging assistance available until September only!

Noticeable recovery of students job market and scheduled end of the bridging assistance via student unions

Application possible until September

The ministry for education and research (Bundesministerium für Bildung und Forschung - BMBF) reacted to pandemic related financial needs of student with a compehensive aid as soon as possible. Students in situations of financial need received reliable and purposeful aid in the past semesters. Only with the grants of the so called bridging assistance more than 100,000 students received financial help, some of them for several months. Recently the job market recovered noticeably so that application numbers decreased constantly during the past months. Therefore, the ministry for education and research and Deutsches Studentenwerk agreed on bringing the aid progam to an end by 30 September 2021.

Federal Education Minister Anja Karliczek commented:
"Germany has provided aid to students who have experienced financial need as a result of the pandemic more than almost any other country in the world. We took the students' problems seriously from the beginning and, with the bridging assistance, created help that has proven its worth in the crisis. We provided effective, unbureaucratic and targeted help to those students who needed it. I would like to express my sincere thanks to Deutsches Studentenwerk and the staff in the local student unions for implementing this major joint effort.

I am pleased that the student job market is now recovering more and more from the restrictions caused by the pandemic. The number of young mini-jobbers has increased significantly compared with the previous quarter and compared with the same period last year - this also fits in with the general picture of the job market currently made by the Federal Statistical Office. The favorable course of the pandemic, the progress of the vaccination and the outstanding flexibility of many students make this possible.

In the event that, contrary to expectations, the situation on the student job market should again deteriorate significantly, we will work with the DSW to provide bridging assistance. Then we will be able to react again - if necessary. We are also keeping an eye on the situation of students in the medium term and want to adapt BAföG to today's diverse educational paths in the coming legislative period. We also want to anchor an emergency mechanism as a precautionary instrument in BAföG".

Achim Meyer auf der Heyde, General Secretary of Deutsches Studentenwerk (DSW), which unites the 57 student and student unions nationwide, explains:
"The bridging assistance was a success and has been able to alleviate the pandemic-related financial needs of many students. This was a great achievement by the employees in the student unions who were involved in this, for which I would like to thank them once again. Currently, the student job market has recovered. This means that bridging assistance no longer has to compensate for the loss of jobs due to the pandemic. We hope that this positive development will continue in the 2020/2021 winter semester and that no further lockdown will be necessary. As universities and student unions prepare for a winter semester with a high attendance rate, they will also need those employees who have now been providing bridging assistance for fifteen months back at their traditional jobs, in the BAföG office, in social counseling, in housing department."

Background:
Students at state-recognized universities in Germany can still apply online for bridging assistance in the form of a grant from the regionally responsible Studierendenwerk or Studentenwerk to alleviate pandemic-related financial need until 30 September 2021. Students who are enrolled at a state or state-recognized university in Germany at the time of application, who live in Germany, and who are not on leave of absence are eligible to apply for the grant. This applies to students from Germany and abroad, without age limit. The grant is awarded monthly up to an amount of €500. The 57 regional student and student unions are independently responsible for processing applications, which are submitted exclusively online via the established nationwide uniform IT platform: https://www.überbrückungshilfe-studierende.de/.

So far, more than 403,000 applications from just under 108,000 students have been approved; that is around 3 percent of students in Germany. As a result, students in particular need have been supported - in some cases several times - with a total of almost 182 million euros. About a third of those receiving support are international students who were hit particularly hard by the economic consequences of the pandemic.

The bridging assistance was unbureaucratic, quickly available and effective. When applicants are asked, nearly three-quarters think the online portal is good or very good, and around 60 percent each see the speed of decisions and the amount of grants awarded as positive.

Bridging assistance as a grant is part of the BMBF's package for students in pandemic-related financial needs. The second pillar of the bridging assistance is the student loan from Kreditanstalt für Wiederaufbau (KfW). This is a proven KfW program. In principle, students at all state-recognized universities in Germany between the ages of 18 and 44 are eligible.

Through the KfW Student Loan, over 49,000 additional students have gained a long-term perspective for financing their studies since May 2020. These include in particular many foreign students, for whom we opened up access to the KfW Student Loan during the peak phase of the economic consequences caused by the pandemic. The payments will remain interest-free until the end of 2021.

The most important instrument for financing education is and remains BAföG. Here, too, the BMBF has reacted quickly: Delays in studies caused by the pandemic also lead to correspondingly longer BAföG funding. In addition, as part of the BAföG reform of 2019, the funding rates and the housing cost supplement have been and will be significantly increased, and the income limits for receiving BAföG have been noticeably lowered. For the winter semester 2021/2022, this means a further increase in BAföG allowances of 6 percent. In addition to the KfW student loan, which is interest-free until the end of 2021, many more students will thus have sustainable options for financing their studies.

Further information on bridging assistance for students in pandemic-related financial need- KfW student loan and grant:
https://www.bmbf.de/de/wissenswertes-zur-ueberbrueckungshilfe-fuer-studierende-11509.html

www.kfw.de/studienkredit-coronahilfe

This press release online:
https://www.studentenwerke.de/de/content/merkliche-erholung-am-studentischen

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