Karliczek: No disadvantage for BAföG recipients due to coronavirus outbreak

Doorstep zu BAföG
Federal Education Minister Anja Karliczek © BMBF/Hans-Joachim Rickel

Recipients of federal training assistance, or BAföG, will continue to be funded even when schools and higher education institutions are shut down or travel bans restrict their movement. This decision was taken by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) in a ministerial order that the Länder will now bring into force. Federal Education Minister Anja Karliczek explained:

“Even when schools and higher education institutions have to close their doors due to the COVID-19 pandemic, BAföG recipients will continue to receive training assistance. I want BAföG recipients to enjoy clarity and planning certainty in these special current circumstances. Nobody should have to be worried about their training assistance due to the coronavirus pandemic. This is why my ministry has issued a ministerial order that ensures that BAföG allowances will continue to be paid to the same extent as before.

When schools or higher education institutions have to shut down due to this pandemic and classes and lectures are being shelved, BAföG allowances will continue to be paid. BAföG recipients should not be at a disadvantage due to the coronavirus pandemic. That is very important to me.”

How is the BMBF ensuring the continued disbursement of BAföG training assistance?

The university has been closed. Will I continue to receive BAföG?

Yes. The time during which universities remain closed due to the pandemic will be considered equivalent to semester break. As such, BAföG will continue to be disbursed until further notice. However, if online courses are offered, attendance is mandatory. For more information visit our BAföG webpages (available in German only).

I am a first semester student. Will I still receive BAföG payments?

Yes. First semester students will receive their grant despite universities being closed. The period of closure is considered equivalent to semester recess. For more information visit our BAföG webpages (available in German only).

I benefit from upgrading training assistance (Aufstiegs-BAföG). Will I now be missing too many semester hours/credits?

No. Your allowances will continue to be disbursed until further notice if you are absent because the educational establishment is closed due to the pandemic. For more information continue reading here.

My exam has been cancelled – will I still receive BAföG?

Yes. If exams are cancelled and you therefore exceed the standard period of study, disbursement of the BAföG grant will continue in most cases. For more information visit our BAföG webpages (available in German only).

My standard period of study ends now – will I still receive BAföG?

If the standard period of study has been exceeded and the exam has been cancelled due to the pandemic, disbursement of the BAföG grant will continue in most cases. For more information visit our BAföG webpages (German).

Background:

Schools have been closed in Germany due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Other countries have suspended all education activities. In relation with the pandemic, some countries have issued travel bans on people entering from abroad. In Germany, some Länder have postponed the start of the summer semester in order to slow down the spread of the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus.

In order to ensure that preventive measures to counter the pandemic do not put BAföG recipients at a disadvantage, the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) has issued a ministerial order that decrees the Länder, which are responsible for executing the Federal Training Assistance Act or BAföG, and their Offices for Training Assistance (Ämter für Ausbildungsförderung) to continue to disburse BAföG allowances. University entrants for whom the start of the semester has been postponed due to the pandemic will also start receiving their BAföG payments on the day for which the start of their study course had initially been scheduled.

Once training and education institutions have made online learning and teaching tools available, BAföG recipients will be required to take part in these online learning measures in accordance with eligibility rules.

The Federal Training Assistance Act of the Federal Government enables young people to choose the training that suits their personal interests, irrespective of their families’ financial means. Millions of adolescents and young adults have benefited from BAföG since the adoption of the Federal Training Assistance Act in 1971. The Federal Government has been funding all financial assistance under the BAföG Act since 2015. Prior to that, training assistance had been co-funded by the Länder.