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The German government has amended the German Federal Law on Support in Education (BAföG) regulating the country’s individual education and training grant scheme. The 27th amendment aiming to expand public aid for students was issued on 21 July and will be applicable starting from the winter semester 2022/23. The adopted changes include the following:
The 28th amendment planned for this autumn involves the launch of a crisis mechanism supporting students in emergency situations.
The adjustments are intended to provide more people with the opportunity to pursue education that they would otherwise not be able to afford and to make federal education and training grants accessible to more Germans.
Although the changes have been welcomed by the German National Association for Student Affairs (Deutsches Studentenwerk - DSW) as “an important step forward in terms of regulatory policy,” students stressed the need to expand the planned emergency mechanism in the BAföG to a broader range of crises such as “war, inflation, price crisis” beyond the disruption of the student labour market and to open the scheme to international students. They have also voiced concern about soaring inflation and accommodation prices stressing the fact that the increased accommodation grant can only cover housing costs in two out of 38 university towns in Germany, namely Chemnitz and Magdeburg.
Universities are also hit by rising energy costs and possible energy shortages expected in winter. In this context, DAAD has emphasised the importance of maintaining classroom teaching for international students and warned against the negative impact of electricity-saving measures such as closure of lecture halls, seminar rooms and libraries on the successful integration and study of international students.