Germany Increases Payments for Students Benefiting From BAföG in a Bid to Make the Scheme More Attractive
Germany Europe by Erudera News Apr 17, 2022
The German Federal Cabinet has approved proposed reforms to the German Federal Training Assistance Act (BAföG), which is a 50-years-old program funded by the public sector that enables youngsters in Germany to choose the training that fits their personal interests, regardless of their financial condition.
The reform, amongst others, intends to increase payments for beneficiaries by 20 percent and also to increase the age of those eligible for application in a bid of the authorities to enable more people to benefit from the BAföG.
The approval of the reform has been applauded by the German Minister of Education and Research, Bettina Stark-Watzinger.
“Today we laid the foundation for the BAföG to enable more real participation in the best education again… Today we have laid the foundation for making BAföG more attractive, modern, and flexible and enabling more real participation in the best education again,” she said announcing the approval of the proposal.
According to the Ministry of Education and Research, the changes planned to be made to the BAföG are as follows:
- increasing the allowances on income by 20 percent per every student in a bid to expand the scope of the BAföG
- increasing the requirement rates, the childcare payments, and the housing payments so that the maximum allowance amount will increase from the current €861 to €931
- the age limit will be increased from 35 years for the start of a master’s degree to a uniform 45 years
- the possibility to waive residual debt after twenty years to all borrowers will be extended
- an arrangement will be made to waive residual debt under simplified conditions and without a complicated application procedure
The changes will take place at the start of the 2022/2023 winter semester.
The reform has not left everyone content. Deutsches Studentenwerk (DSW) Secretary-General Matthias Anbuh claims that the BAföG plans have one weakness, and that is the far too small increase in the BAföG requirement rates by just five percent.
“Inflation eats up this increase right away. It was already more than seven percent in March 2022. At this point, the federal government falls far short. It should not impose any loss of purchasing power on the students. The BAföG requirement rates must be increased by at least ten percent. The BAföG must really be enough to live on,” Secretary-General Anbuhclaims notes.
He also calls on the authorities to further make bigger steps towards the reform of BAföG, which he claims should be taken immediately, such as the parent-independent component of basic child security, the prolongation of the maximum funding period, a reduction in the loan share or the emergency mechanism announced in the coalition agreement.
According to deutsche-handwerks-zeitung.de, between 2012 and 2021, the number of students benefiting from BAföG dropped from 979,000 beneficiaries in 2012 to just 639,000 beneficiaries last year. Aside from German students, foreigners living in Germany can also benefit from BAföG, given that they have integrated into the society and have prospects of remaining in Germany.
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