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Final ECJ ruling on German student grants

The European Court of Justice has made a final ruling that Germany has to provide education and training grants (Bafög) to those students that wish to do their entire degree abroad without a first year at a German  university. This case was reported in the March edition of ACA Newsletter – Education Europe, however at this point it was only a non-binding opinion.

Two German nationals had brought action before the administrative court in Aachen, because they had been refused grants on the grounds that they had not first pursued studies in Germany. The administrative court then asked the EU Court of Justice whether freedom of movement for citizens of the Union rules out the condition that studies abroad must be a continuation of education or training started and pursued for a minimum of two semesters in Germany. In its verdict, the ECJ confirmed that EU member states providing a system of education or training grants for studies abroad must ensure that the schemes do not unduly restrict free movement.

While German student unions welcomed the decision, it remains to be seen in which ways it will influence other countries in their provision of study grants and loans.