BAföG - the most important things in brief
Further comprehensive information on the key points briefly presented here can be found on the website of the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (Bundesministerium für Bildung und Forschung): Information on the Federal Training Assistance Act
Can only students with German citizenship be supported?
In principle, all German students are entitled to educational support (BAföG benefits) for their first degree, provided that the means necessary for subsistence and education are not available otherwise.
There are many exceptional cases in which foreign students can also be supported by BAföG benefits.
Foreign students should in any case seek advice from the Office for Education and Training Assistance (Amt für Ausbildungsförderung).
Must BAföG be repaid? (Repayment of loan portion)
Generally, half of the educational support is granted as a grant and half as a non-interest-bearing loan. The non-interest-bearing portion of the loan must be repaid.
The central service agency of the Federal Government (Bundesverwaltungsamt) is responsible for the repayment of the loan portion. The repayment begins five years after the end of the maximum period of support (standard period of study).
Changes of address must be reported directly to the Office for Education and Training Assistance as well as to the central service agency of the Federal Government.
How much BAföG benefits can I get?
If you (the student) live in your own accommodation, you can receive a maximum amount of 853.00 €, if you live with your parents a maximum amount of 583.00 € in the form of education grants as of winter semester 2019/2020. For students over 30 years of age, the amount may increase due to higher health and nursing insurance contributions.
From the winter semester 2020/2021, the amounts will increase again to 861.00 €/592.00 €.
The amount of the grant is calculated individually and depends on your income and assets (income and assets of the student) as well as on the income of the spouse - if available - and the parents.
How much may I earn in addition, without it coming to a charge?
When working a part-time job, you (the student) are entitled to earn an additional 5,400 € per annum / 450 € per month without this amount being credited against your BAföG financial assistance drawn under Germany's Federal Education Assistance Act. This amount is/was not changed by the 26th Law amending the German Student Financial Assistance Program (BAföGÄndG).
Training allowance for a compulsory internship is credited without a tax-free allowance (full credit).
Income from scholarships is subject to different recognition requirements. For example, the receipt of benefits from an organization for the promotion of young talents excludes the entitlement to educational support (BAföG benefits). Benefits within the framework of a German scholarship, for example, are exempt from crediting up to 300.00 € per month against benefits under the Federal Training Assistance Act (Bundesausbildungsförderungsgesetz, BAföG).
It is based on your income (of the student) during the approval period.
Please note the special rules for jobs in systemically important industries and professions pertaining to jobs started or expanded in terms of work hours in order to address the COVID 19 pandemic on or after March 1, 2020.
How many assets can I have without it being counted?
Your assets (the student's assets) remain free up to 7,500.00 €, from the winter semester 2020/2021 even up to 8,200.00 €.
The assets also include motor vehicles, provided that you (the student) are the owner of the motor vehicle.
It is based on the assets at the time of the respective application.
How much can my parents earn so that I still get BAföG benefits?
Different allowances are deducted from the parents' income depending on their marital status, the number of siblings of the student and their education.
The basis is the income of the parents from the penultimate calendar year before the beginning of the approval period.
Since the parental allowances vary depending on the family constellation: Use BAföG calculators such as: https://www.studentenwerk-goettingen.de/en/study-financing/bafoeg-calculator-2019.html
What does parent-independent support mean, or when is the income of the parents not taken into account?
BAföG benefits are generally granted depending on parental income. There is no separate application for "parent-independent BAföG".
In exceptional cases, which are defined by law in section 11 paragraph 3 Federal Training Assistance Act, educational support can be provided regardless of the parents' income. These requirements will be officially checked, based on the applicant's curriculum vitae. That is why it is so important to fill out your resume in the application completely and without leaving any gaps.
In cases where it is not possible to determine the whereabouts of the parents, the income of the parents may also be disregarded, section 11 paragraph 2a Federal Training Assistance Act.
Please contact the Office for Education and Training Assistance for advice on this matter!
Does a change in specialization have a negative effect on my BAföG benefits?
Support after a change in specialization (support for a course of study other than the one originally pursued): A change of specialization is only possible under certain conditions. The longer you wait to change your major, the more difficult it will be to get BAföG funding for your new degree program. The more often you change majors, the less likely you are to receive BAföG funding for your new major.
Please contact the Office for Education and Training Assistance (Amt für Ausbildungsförderung) for advice on this matter before you change your field of study! A change of major will be assessed differently under university law than under BAföG law. For this reason, information provided by the university regarding a change of major is not always identical with information provided by the Office for Education and Training Assistance.
How long can I receive BAföG benefits?
The duration of the support depends on the standard period of study. In certain exceptional cases (illness, parenting, etc.), educational support may be awarded beyond the standard period of study.
Please note the special provisions governing the pandemic semesters (2020 Spring Term, 2020/2021 Fall Term and 2021 Spring Term)! Under certain conditions, these provisions may allow for an extension of the standard program duration (Regelstudienzeit) and hence of the maximum duration of BAföG funding.
Can I get BAföG benefits if I study abroad?
Stays abroad (studies, internships) may also be supported. In these cases, foreign grant offices are usually responsible.
Information on responsibilities can be found here: support abroad
Do I receive reductions with regard to television and radio license fees?
Recipients of educational support can be exempted from the obligation to contribute to the broadcasting service: Information about television and radio license fees