Interim financial aid for students: what you need to know

The BMBF is providing interim financial aid for students faced with pandemic-related financial hardship. The aid originally consisted of two parts: the KfW student loan, and interim aid for the months june-september 2020.

Gastronomie in der Corona-Zeit
When classes end, off to work they go . . . Two out of three uni students hold down a student job. Interim financial aid is now available for those who have lost that job due to the coronavirus pandemic. The loan is interest free until the end of march 2021. © Adobe Stock / annacovic

The coronavirus pandemic has been a financial challenge and has meant financial hardship for a great number of students. Students who are entitled to receive funding under the Federal Training Assistance Act (BAföG) but have not yet applied for it – either because they had earned enough from a part-time job or received enough money from their parents and whose income has been interrupted due to the pandemic – should now apply for a BAföG grant. However, some students do not fulfil the criteria to receive BAföG (e.g. because they have exceeded the standard period of study or are enrolled in a second period of university studies). The Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) has now made interim financial aid available for this group of students. There were two components of the financial aid: the well-established student loan from the KfW banking group, which is interest free until March 2021, and financial aid for the months June through September 2020, which was allocated by student services organisations.

KfW student loan: Basic questions and answers

How does the student loan work?

Since 8 May 2020, students have been able apply for a loan from KfW which is interest-free until 31 March 2021. Students from EU member states who have resided in Germany for less than three years and students from third countries can apply since 1 June 2020.

The BMBF will pay the interest costs until 31 March 2021 on KfW student loans, which are in the disbursement phase before that date. After that date, students are expected to pay the applicable interest rate themselves. Depending on need, the loan is granted for an amount of up to €650 per month following an unbureaucratic online application procedure.

The temporary interest-free period on student loans also applies for students who have already taken out a KfW student loan and are receiving disbursements. The loans being made to students will likely enable additional funding of up to €1 billion in total.

What are the rules governing student loan repayment?

The usual, very flexible, repayment schedules for KfW student loans apply. Terms and conditions can be agreed and amended on an individual Basis.

The basic conditions for loan repayment are as follows: no repayment is due during a grace period of 6 to 23 months, but during which interest may accrue. A minimum instalment of €20 per month is due in the subsequent repayment phase. A maximum repayment period of 25 years is in effect. Loans must be repaid by the borrower’s 67th birthday.

Unscheduled repayments are allowed, which is attractive in particular for small-volume and shorter-term financial aid.

Further information is available here.

Who is eligible for KfW aid?

The KfW student loan as interim financial aid is available to the previously eligible group: students aged 18-44 who are enrolled at a state-recognized institution of higher education in Germany and fulfil one of the following conditions:

  • German citizens who are registered as living in Germany
  • Dependants of German citizens who live with them in Germany and who are registered here
  • EU citizens who have been lawfully residing in Germany on a permanent basis for at least three years and who are registered here
  • Dependants of EU citizens (who fulfil the above criteria) and reside with them in Germany and who are registered here
  • Non-nationals who have acquired their university entrance qualifications in Germany and are registered in Germany

In addition, the group eligible for a KfW student loan will be expanded for a limited period of time. International students – third country nationals and EU citizens who have resided in Germany for less than three years – can take advantage of the loan, provided their primary residence is in Germany.

To check if you fulfil the criteria for the KfW loan, go to the KfW website .

How does one apply?

Applications for interim financial aid can be submitted to KfW since 8 May 2020. Students from EU member states who have resided in Germany for less than three years and students from third countries can apply since 1 June 2020. Further information is available on the KfW website at www.kfw.de/studienkredit-coronahilfe

When can applicants expect disbursement of the student loan?

If an application for aid is made by the fifteenth day of the month, disbursement will begin on the first day of the following month.

Is there any other form of emergency aid for students in need?

Yes. A sum of €100 million was available, in addition to the aid from KfW, during the months of June through September 2020. Students faced with pandemic-related financial hardship and who need immediate help could apply for financial aid with the student services organisations.

The interim aid, which was allocated by the student services organisations, was available for the months June through September 2020.

Additional auxiliary terms and conditions for the implementation of interim financial aid for students faced with pandemicrelated financial hardship (regulations)