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With it's bridging assistance the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) offers help to those students who are demonstrably in an acute, pandemic-related (economic or financial) emergency and require immediate support until the end of September 2021. You can apply for bridging assistance if you are a German or international student enrolled at a public-funded and government-recognised higher education institution in Germany.

Those already receiving loans, grants or other support during the reference month may nevertheless obtain bridging assistance. Depending on proven need, you could receive between 100 euros and 500 euros as a non-repayable allowance.

Those with more than 500 euros in their bank account at the time of submitting an application will not receive this bridging assistance and should please not apply for one.

Applications can be submitted from November 2020. Another application has to be submitted for each following month.

Please submit your application online to the local student service organisation (Studierendenwerk or Studentenwerk – STW). The STW will decide on the basis of the details you have provided in your application whether aid will be granted within the limits of the budgetary funds available. The order of processing of applications is generally guided by the time of receipt of the complete documents by the respective student service organisation. 

You are not legally entitled to the award of bridging assistance. You agree on that by applying.

Applications must be submitted online. Please use the most reent version of Internet-Browsers Chrome, Firefox or Operae, or the current standard browsers of mobile devices. If you use Edge as a browser, please update to Edge Chrome version 83.x. or higher. The system does not support versions of Internet Explorer.

Applications are submitted to the student service organisation (STW) operating for the higher education institution in Germany that you are studying at. In the case of an institution with several locations, the student service organisation where the head office of your higher education institution is located will be responsible for processing your application. In the case of higher education institutions without relevant student service organisations, the German National Association for Student Affairs (Deutsches Studentenwerk – DSW) will determine which student service organisation is responsible.

If you cannot find your higher education institution in Germany in the following list, please send an Email to ueberbrueckungshilfe-studierende@studentenwerke.de

Questions about your application?
If there are any questions about the application, please use the following email address:

ueberbrueckungshilfe-studierende@stw.rwth-aachen.de

Please do not submit missing documents via this email address. The application tool must be used. Please note that the Studierendenwerk answers questions about applications of FH and RWTH students that are already submitted only.

Important: Questions can only be asked via this email address. No information via telephone. The emails are answered one by one. Our BAföG Office Administrators are not able to give information via telephone.

Contact:
BMBF-Hotline zur Überbrückungshilfe:
Telefon: 0800 26 23 003
E-Mail: ueberbrueckungshilfe-studierende@bmbf.bund.de

FAQs:

What is the bridging assistance for students provided by the Federal Government?

The Federal Ministry of Education and Research refers to two types of bridging assistance for students:

  • the temporary exemption from interest on the KfW student loan and a temporary opportunity for foreign student to apply for the KfW student loan since 1 June 2020 and until 15 February 2021.
  • this grant for students in an acute, pandemic-related financiel need via the online portal www.ueberbrueckungshilfe-studierende.de
Which students can benefit from the bridging assistance? How can I qualify?

This aid is meant to benefit those students who are demonstrably in a pandemic-related emergency, who need immediate help and who can claim no other support. This applies equally to German and international students.

Students enrolled at a public-funded or government-recognised higher education institution in Germany, not suspended or who have their main residence in Germany are entitled to submit an application.

Students studying within an employment relationship or as part of service, for example at Universities of Applied Administrative Sciences (Verwaltungsfachhochschule) or Federal Army Universities (Bundewehrhochschule), students in courses alongside career or dual system courses, non-enrolled and occasional students (Gasthörer), students at higher education institutions not recognised by the government are not entitled to apply.

The bridging assistance complements the initiatives that the Federal Government has previously launched to assist students in the current exceptional situation brought about by the corona pandemic. BAföG or the KfW Student Loan can provide more long-term support.

During the month in which I apply for this bridging assistance, I must not reckon with any other pandemic-related financial support for living, for example via emergency funds, foundations or sponsoring associations, or through previously filed applications.

What do I receive, how much do I receive?

If you are demonstrably facing financial hardship brought about by the pandemic – for example because you have lost your part-time job and you have so far been unable to find any other part-time employment – you can obtain an allowance of between 100 and 500 euros a month from the government via the student service organisation (STW) that is responsible for your higher education institution.

The level of the allowance depends on pandemic-related, individual needs and is calculated as follows:

Account balance

Bridging assistance

Less than 100.00 €

500.00 €

Between 100.00 € and 199.99 €

400.00 €

Between 200.00 € and 299.99 €

300.00 €

Between 300.00 € and 399.99 €

200.00 €

Between 400.00 € and 499.99 €

100.00 €

The account balance on the day before the application is submitted, or the last working day of the bank, counts. This means, for example, that if you submit your application on the 15 April 2021, the account balance of the 14 April 2021 is relevant. You will be informed via E-Mail if and how much bridging assistance you may receive after verification of your online application.

Will I get nothing if I permanently have 500 or more than 500 euros in my account?

Yes, that is what the criteria stipulate. This bridging assistance is meant for acute emergencies.

How high may my other monthly income be for me to still qualify for support?

This is not relevant as long as

  • a demonstrable pandemic-related emergency prevails at the time of submitting the application and
  • you assure that you have not filed any further applications for allowances as comparable support during a pandemic-related emergency situation for the month that you are now applying for. Such applications could be other emergency funds, foundations or sponsoring associations, and
  • you are not expecting income through previously filed applications this month.
  • financial support that is not meant for basic needs but for a one-off purchase such as the engineering fund (Technikfonds) of the state Berlin or company aid for self-employed
How and where do I apply for this bridging assistance?

You apply online via the portal www.ueberbrueckungshilfe-studierende.de. Your application is forwarded directly to the student service organisation responsible for your support and will be processed there.

It is important that you state at which higher education institution in Germany you are studying. In the case of institutions with branches or locations in further cities, the system will assign a student service organisation according to the head office location of the institution. Please complete the online application mask. The student service organisation responsible for you will assess your application and notify you whether and when you will be receiving bridging assistance.

From when on can I submit my application?

You can submit your application once for each current month. You are free to choose the day of application in the relevant month.

By when must I submit my application?

For the month July you must submit your application within the month July 2021 - that means by 31 July 2021 the latest.

What should I do if I cannot find my higher education institution in the portal?

If you cannot find your university, it may be due to the spelling. The name of the university must be spelled completely and correctly -no abbreviations. You can also search for the headquarters of the university.

Students can apply if they are enrolled at a state or state-recognized university in Germany, are not on suspended, and have their main residence in Germany. However, students who are studying in the context of an employment relationship (e.g. at universities of applied sciences for administration or military colleges), students in part-time or dual study programs, guest students and students at non-state-recognized universities are not eligible to apply.

Please write an email to Deutsches Studentenwerk, and send it to ueberbrueckungshilfe-studierende@studentenwerke.de if you still cannot find your university– you will then receive a reply from there.

What kind of proof do I have to provide? Which documents must I submit online?

 For an application you need:

  • your institution’s certificate of enrolment for the summer semester 2021
  • your identity card or equivalent proof of identity, such as a passport with a registration certificate
  • details of a bank account in Germany, you have access to
  • a declaration that you have not applied for any further pandemic-related support for the month that you are herewith applying for (such as from emergency funds, foundations or sponsoring associations) or are not expecting further support through applications that you have already submitted. Short-time work benefits are also considered a pandemic-related support option in the current exceptional situation caused by CoVid-19.
  • an explanation of why you are in a pandemic-related emergency situation, if possible proven by corresponding documents. The reasons for the need must have arisen in the month of application up to the day before the application was submitted or in the two preceding months. If the occurrence of the pandemic-related need dates back longer, you must document current efforts of your own that may lead to an improved financial situation in the foreseeable future. For further details, see question 11.
  • account statements of all your accounts to which you have access to at short notice (also PayPal account and Amzaon Payments). Please submit statements of the previous month and from the current month until the day before you apply or the last working day of the bank. For further details, see question 13. Important: Please note that you may not blacken anything on your account statements, otherwise the application is considered to be incomplete. The statements need to be legible and they have to show your name
  • for all other accounts to which you have no short-term access or on which there are no funds, the following declaration is sufficient: "I assure that I have provided all information about my available credit on accounts and that I have no credit on other accounts. In addition, there are no available balances at payment service providers if these accounts are not listed (e.g. paypal, amazon payments).
  • a self-declaration that you can be expected to successfully complete your studies
What does "proof of pandemic-related financial need" mean?

The purpose of bridging assistance is to help students who are in proven pandemic-related financial need, who are in immediate need of assistance, and who are unable to access other assistance.

The following requirements must be met:

  • the account balance of all accounts  is less than €500;
  • the need has arisen due to the pandemic-related loss of income in the month of application or one of the two previous months.

This pandemic-related loss of income may have occurred due to the following reasons and must be proven accordingly:

  • the termination or proof of suspension of employment by the employer(s) or, if termination or proof cannot be provided, a self-declaration showing, in particular, the duration and scope of the previous employment, the reason and circumstances of the termination(s), and/or
  • the documented rejection of at least two job applications with different employers for the period prior to the application, as well as a self-declaration on the necessity of the intended gainful employment to secure subsistence. Exceptionally, a self-declaration may outline the applications and rejections if they cannot be provided due to the pandemic, and/or
  • a self-declaration on the discontinuation of self-employment (client, type and scope of activity; details of which contracts have been discontinued and to what extent; scope of income discontinued) and/or
  • a self-declaration on the loss of parental support payments (indication of which support, when, to what extent and for what reasons).

If this reason for the pandemic-related loss of income dates back more than 2 months before the application was submitted, e.g., if the application was submitted in April 2021, the job was terminated on 31 January 2021, then you must document your own current efforts to improve the pandemic-related need (e.g., job applications, offers of self-employment). Current means: in the period of the two calendar months before the application month and until the application.

What information do I need to provide for the self declaration?

In the case of unsuccessful application:

  • Employers contacted (including specific contact persons or organizational units).
  • Date of unsuccessful applications and rejections
  • Expected job scope and expected income
  • Reasons why applications and rejections cannot be substantiated by appropriate documents

In case of discontinuation or limitation of self-employment:

  • Former client(s)
  • Type and scope of self-employed activity, in particular information on which orders have ceased and to what extent
  • Average income from self-employment before the Corona pandemic (i.e. before March 2020)
  • Extent of income lost due to the pandemic or, if this has developed as a process since March 2020, a statement of the decline in orders (financial and temporal)

If support previously received is reduced or ceased:

  • From whom, what amount, and until when support payments were made
  • Specification of the reason for the loss or reduction of the maintenance payment
  • If the support payment is reduced, the amount of the current support payment should also be documented

In the case of pandemic-related loss or reduction of employment:

  • Duration and extent of previous employment
  • Reason for and circumstances of the termination(s)
  • Name of former employer(s)
  • Duration of the terminated employment(s)
  • Exact dates of termination (including last day of employment)
  • Average income from the previous employment
  • Explanation of why this cannot be shown by appropriate documents
May I blacken certain details on my identity card?

Yes. Only documents proving the pandemic emergency must be submitted without gaps. Information on the identity card that does not directly serve to prove identity and address, such as place of birth or religious affiliation, can be blacked out.

Do I have to declare all my accounts? Also a Paypal account? What about my property finance agreement or rent deposit account?

To prove that you are in financial need due to the pandemic, you must provide complete statements of all your accounts to which you currently have short-term access. These are all accounts to which you have access to - or at least joint - right of disposal.

You must provide the account statements for all accounts (incl. payment service providers such as paypal, amazon payments) to which you have short-term access, sorted chronologically and without gaps by date for the full calendar month prior to the application and from the current month to the day before or the last banking day before the application. Turnover statements instead of a bank statement are accepted, provided that the payment movements can be identified from them without gaps. This also applies to securities accounts, such as stock accounts, securities funds/deposits or BitCoinDepots. If you have a monthly withdrawal limit for long-term savings accounts, this must also be taken into account.

Excluded are account statements for savings contracts (for example, building society savings contracts in the savings phase) or other accounts to which short-term access, i.e. in the current month, is not possible (for example, rental deposit accounts or trust accounts). These do not have to be submitted. Attention: However, in the case of so-called "blocked accounts", which serve as proof of financing for foreign students, access is possible in the current month in a fixed amount, they must therefore be declared - whereby a declaration must be made regarding the amount still freely accessible on the previous day or banking day before the application in the application month. 

You must also declare online accounts, for example with Comdirect or with payment service providers such as Paypal, Amazon Payment, etc., if there is short-term available credit on them, or declare that you have no credit on such accounts.

For all other accounts to which you have no short-term access, i.e. in the current month, or on which there are no funds, it is sufficient to mark the following declaration in the application: "I declare that I have provided all information on the credit balances available to me on accounts and that I have no credit balances on other accounts. In addition, I also have no available credit balances with payment service providers if these accounts are not listed (such as paypal, amazon payments).

It must also be evident from the documents that the applicant has a right of disposal (at least joint right of disposal) over the domestic account to which the grant is to be transferred.

You may only declare a loan/credit in the amount in which a repayment obligation is actually bindingly due for the month of application. If such repayments are made in cash, proof should be provided not only by means of a self-declaration but also by means of a confirmation from the payee.

My parents always support me with cash; how should I show this on my bank statements?

You must upload a reasoned personal statement in which you have to declare:

  • Which maintenance payments were granted ?
  • When were they granted ?
  • What amount was granted ?
  • Why are they not granted anymore ?
How do I ensure that I am really submitting the application for myself?

In the course of the online application, you will have to upload a photo of yourself several times, including once with your identity card or passport (together with the registration certificate), and there is a further authentication step with an automatically generated number code that will be sent to your Email address. This is meant to prevent abuse and cheating.

I forgot to upload a document. Is is possible to hand it in later ?

No. Subsequent submissions are not possible. Therefore, during the application process, make sure that you have uploaded all correct documents before sending the application. The documents will be shown immediately after uploading and you can delete or replace them if they are incorrect or illegible. You can also go back and check the accuracy and completeness of the documents before you send the application. If you do not have the documents immediately at hand, interrupt the processing of the application and log in again later so that you can upload the correct documents. You should not send the application until it is completely processed!
In the online application process, you will automatically be informed when uploading the documents whether and when your application is complete.

When do I learn whether and how much bridging assistance I will receive?

You can log in the portal www.ueberbrueckungshilfe-studierende.de at any time and check the processing status of your application with your local student or student union. To do so, click on "LOGIN" on the start page and enter the e-mail address you used to submit your application. You will receive a 6-digit "token" or code by e-mail, which you can use to access your application information.

When your student or student union has finished processing your application, you will receive a message at the e-mail address with which you are registered at the portal.

If you then log in to the application portal, you will find out whether and how much bridging assistance you will receive. Again, click on "LOGIN" on the start page and use the 6-digit token/code that you receive by e-mail.

Important: You will receive this e-mail notification directly from the application portal www.ueberbrueckungshilfe-studierende.de, not from the student or student union that has processed your application.

Please refrain from phone-calls or inquiries at your student service organisation.

How fast you will receive a otification of the system depends on how many applications the student service organisations receive. Staff will do their best to swiftly process the applications. Many student service organisations have set up their own teams for this purpose.

If your application is approved, you can reckon with the money being transferred in a week’s time.

Can I submit an application more than once?

Yes. This bridging assistance is granted monthly. If your emergency situation lasts longer, you can submit a new application for the next month.

Do I have to provide everything again for each subsequent application?

No. All you have to provide with a subsequent application is:

  • a declaration that you have not applied for any further pandemic-related support for the month that you are herewith applying for (such as from emergency funds, foundations or sponsoring associations) or are not expecting further support through applications that you have already submitted. The receipt of short-time allowance must also be indicated.
  • If the ID document you uploaded has expired in the meantime, you would need to upload a new one
  • the declaration about your pandemic-related emergency has to refer to the month in which you have applied. New declarations or/and current proof have to be uploaded
  • a account statement that continues chronologically from the account statement that was uploaded for the last application
I already received bridging assistance, can I use the access data again ?

If you are still enrolled at the university where you were already enrolled last time, please continue to use your access data from that period of time. This means: Please log in to the portal with your email address already registered in the summer months of 2020 and submit a follow-up application for November 2020 or the following months.

If you have changed university in the meantime, please create a new application ID with the new email address of your current university. You will then go through the application phase of identity verification again and will then have two application IDs on the portal. Since your email address is linked to an application ID, it is important that you always use the correct email address to login to the portal and that you process and submit applications in the correct application profile.

I already applied for bridging assistance once/several times, but in the meantime I have changed university. I now also have a new university email address. What applies to me?

Please reapply for bridging assistance using your new university email address. You will then receive a new application ID. With this new application ID you can follow the processing in the application tool. You no longer need your "old" application ID.

My employment contract is only at rest, not terminated, do I still have to look for alternative jobs?

See also question 10: If the reason dates back more than 2 calendar months before the application, then you must document your own current efforts (e.g., applications for a part-time job, offers of self-employment) to improve the pandemic-related need. If, for example, the employment contract has been suspended since January 2021 in the case of an application in April 2021, the same applies as in the case of termination: you must document your current efforts, i.e. in the period of the two calendar months prior to the application or in the current month up to the application.

Can I also claim support after an emergency?

What counts is whether you were in a pandemic-related emergency at the point of submitting the application, and that you are able to proof it.  You must supply proof of this difficult situation with account statements and further information.

I am a foreign student, does it have a negative effect on my legal situation in Germany if I apply for the bridging assistance?

No. The use of the bridging assistance has no influence on the residence law. The positive examination of an application for bridging assistance is based on a sudden and undeserved emergency situation for the applicant, so that a situation must be assumed which is to be regarded as a case of hardship for the granting of a temporary one-off emergency assistance. Accordingly, this is an exception to the standard requirement of guaranteed subsistence § 5 abs. 1 Nr. 1 Aufenthaltsgesetz (Residence Act).

Do I have to pay the money back?

No. The bridging assistance is a non-repayable allowance from the Federal Government.

This does not apply if your financial situation has changed, for example if you have a new job or received money from your parents or from another fund.

You have to pay back the grant or rather it is demanded back from you if it is proved that you have made false statements.

What happens if my statements are incorrect or incomplete?

Sorry, then you cannot receive bridging assistance. If it subsequently transpires that you have provided incomplete or even untrue information, you will have to repay the bridging assistance you have received. In the case of untrue statements, there is also the risk of criminal proceedings.

What does it mean when "Action required" is displayed in the application portal ?

If "Action required" is displayed in the application portal, it means that the processing of your application has already started but cannot be completed without your intervention. Click on the "Expand" button in the application portal to read the message you received. There you will find out what you still need to do. As a rule, you will be asked to submit documents or further information. You can only upload subsequent submissions via the application portal.

Can I also apply for bridging assistance if I have taken out a loan or am receiving a grant?

Yes, provided that despite this you are demonstrably in a pandemic-related emergency situation.

Can I also apply for this bridging assistance in addition to other emergency aid, immediate aid or other support aid?

It depends. Students submitting an application have to declare that they do not expect further infome for the month for which they apply for bridging assistance, and have not applied for or intend to apply for further pandemic-related support (such as from emergency funds, foundations or sponsoring associations).You can receive bridging assistance if you can proof that you are in financial need caused by the pandemic eventhough you receive financial support that is not meant for basic needs but the engineering fund (Technikfonds) for computer hardware or company aid for self-employed.

I am receiving some BAföG – does that mean that I do not qualify for the bridging assistance?

No, it doesn’t. BAföG notifications are not tested. What counts is that you are nevertheless in a pandemic-related emergency situation. The account statements have to demonstrate that previous income of the same amount from jobs and/or family support has ceased owing to the pandemic.

This BMBF bridging assistance is an allowance. Will this allowance be deducted from my BAföG support? Does this mean that I will be receiving less BAföG?

No, the BMBF states that it is not income in the sense of the BAföG, cf. BMBF online source:

“In some Federal States or student service organisations, emergency aid is available for trainees and students who have lost their (part-time) job owing to the pandemic. Recipients of payments in accordance with the BAföG can also apply for such aid and will receive it, provided that they qualify. Such loans are referred to in § 21 Para. 4 No. 4 BAföG and are hence not to be treated as income in the sense of the BAföG. […] This regulation is to be applied correspondingly for emergency aid in the form of allowances.”

https://www.bafög.de/keine-nachteile-beim-bafoeg-wegen-corona-756.php

Can I submit an application if I have already exceeded the standard period of study?

Yes.

I am doing a correspondence or distance course at a university in Germany. Am I entitled to apply?

Yes, as long as it is not a course alongside a career (berufsbegleitendes Studium) and your main residence is in Germany.

I am doing a second degree course. Am I entitled to apply?

Yes.

If I can find a job again after all when I have received this bridging assistance, must I repay the money?

If you do find a job and receive a salary in the same month, then yes, but if this only happens in the following month, then no. This bridging assistance serves as a bridge for one month at a time.

Is there an age limit?

No.

Why do I have to submit my e-mail address and mobilephone number ?

Both are important for secure identification and protect you and all other students from abuse. You will receive a six-digit token or code via your e-mail address each time you log in. The token or code is valid for two hours and must be requested again for each login. Always use the e-mail address with which you made the application.

Once all documents have been fully uploaded during the online application process, you will receive a six-digit confirmation code via SMS on your mobile phone so that you can finally send and complete your online application.

This means that you will receive an e-mail token every time you want to complete your application after an interruption or view the processing status. You will receive the six-digit SMS code only once to be able to send your application.

What about data protection? What happens to my data?

Data protection is ensured in accordance with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) of the European Union.

Am I legally entitled to this bridging assistance?

No, the bridging assistance is an additional benefit provided by the state to moderate the consequences of the pandemic for students.

You do not have a legal claim; you also confirm this by giving your consent to the funding guidelines of the Federal Ministry of Education and Research on the application portal. The Studentenwerk or Studierendenwerk that is processing your application is responsible for making a decision on your application. Only there you can get a binding information about your application. There is no other appeal authority.

Furthermore, neither the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) nor Deutsches Studentenwerk (DSW) are authorized to view applications or application decisions.