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FAQ on bridging assistance for students in pandemic emergency situations
Applications to be submitted from Friday, 20 November, at www.ueberbrueckungshilfe-studierende.de

  • With the reactivation of the bridging assistance for the winter semester 2020/2021, from November 2020 until the end of March 2021, the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) offers, once again, help to those students who are demonstrably in an acute, pandemic-related (economic or financial) emergency and require immediate support. 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. Incomplete applications are not processed.

  • You are not legally entitled to the award of bridging assistance.

  • 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 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 the following list, please send an Email to ueberbrueckungshilfe-studierende@studentenwerke.de

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:

  • a temporary waiver of interest on the KfW Student Loan until the end of March 2021 and expanding the entitlement to the KfW Student Loan also to international students

  • this grant for students in an acute, pandemic-related emergency 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 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) as well as 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 support, 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 counts. This means, for example, that if you submit your application on the 22 November 2020, the account balance of the 21 November 2020 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 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 from Friday, 20 November 2020.

By when must I submit my application?

For the month November you must submit your application within the month November 2020 - that means by 30 November the latest.

I already received bridging assistance in Sommer 2020, can I use the access data again ?

"Yes, you even have to, and have to upload the enrollment certificate of the current winter semester 2020/2021 again! You have to use your previous access data, because if an applicant from summer 2020 uses different access data - this refers mainly to the e-mail address - he/she will create a new application. At the latest at the point where the telephone number has to be verified, these applicants fail, because the portal will report back if the telephone number has not changed: "This telephone number already exists in another application".

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

Please write an Email to Deutsches Studentenwerk, and send it to ueberbrueckungshilfe-studierende@studentenwerke.de – 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 winter semester 2020/2021
  • your identity card or equivalent proof of identity, such as a passport with a registration certificate
  • details of a bank account in Germany
  • 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. 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
  • an explanation of why you are in a pandemic-related emergency situation, if possible proven by corresponding documents: termination of you employment relationship by your former employer, a self-declaration regarding the loss of your previous gainful employment, or a self-declaration that owing to the pandemic, family support has been terminated, or a documented, written rejection of at least two applications or a self declaration about your applications and rejections
  • account statements of all your accounts to which you have access at short notice (statements of the previous month and from the current month until the day before you apply). 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 is new, or better, simpler than the first edition of the bridging assistance?

There are several improvements for the students:

  • if the pandemic-related termination of the previous employment relationship cannot be submitted or documented in writing, a self-declaration stating the reason and circumstances of the termination is now sufficient.
  • if the required two written rejections of at least two job applications cannot be provided, a self-declaration of unsuccessful applications and their rejection is now also sufficient.
  • now only the account statements from the previous month as well as from the current month up to the day before the application must be uploaded. If you only receive monthly statements, please check whether your bank provides a complete income-expenditure overview for the (current) application month from the account balance of the last statement to the day before your application.
  • you only need to upload the statements for those accounts that can be accessed at short notice.

My identity card has expired, but I cannot have it renewed at the moment because of the pandemic. What to do?

You can still apply. The expiry date of your identity card only has to be after 31 December 2019.

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. Exceptions are account statements for savings contracts (e.g. property finance agreement) or other accounts to which short-term access is not possible (e.g. rent deposit accounts, other blocked accounts or trust accounts). These do not have to be submitted.

This does not apply to savings accounts (e.g. building society contracts -  Bausparverträge) or other accounts that cannot be accessed at short notice (e.g. rent deposit accounts - Mietkautionskonten, other blocked accounts or agency accounts). These do not have to be submitted.

You also have to specify online accounts, for example with Paypal or Comdirect if these accounts do have balance with short term access - or declare that these accounts do have no balance.

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).

 

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 than a month, you can submit a new application in the following month, i.e. for the months December, January 2021 until March 2021.

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 latest account statement
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.  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.

What happens if my statements are incorrect or incomplete?

Sorry, then you cannot receive bridging assistance.

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?

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, and that the account statements 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. Am I entitled to apply?

Yes, as long as it is not a course alongside a career (berufsbegleitendes Studium).

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?

This bridging assistance is granted as a non-repayable allowance; it is meant to bridge the time up to when you have found new employment and are no longer in an emergency situation.

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 allowance that does not have to be repaid if you meet the eligibility criteria.