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Germany: More aid for EU and non-EU university students

From the start of the academic year 2016-2017 students in Germany will be entitled to a considerably ameliorated system of financial support. The essential changes will concern the rise of the monthly upper limit of the Bafög support scheme (combining grant and income-related loan in equal proportions), as well as an increase in rent aids and child benefits.

According to statistical data from 2013, state aids were allocated to 666 000 students in higher education institutions (almost 24 % of 2.5 million). After entry into force of the new measures approximately supplementary 110 000 students will become eligible by the end of summer 2016. The right to demand aids will be also granted to nationals of non-EU countries, as well as to asylum seekers on family or humanitarian basis, after a residence period in Germany of only 15 months, much shorter in comparison to the 4 years requirement which is currently in force. According to the German Federal Education Ministry, these changes will demonstrate that Germany welcomes qualified people.

However these are not the only news in German education system. Another recent development concerns tuition fees, that will be completely abrogated by the start of the academic year 2014-2015. This comes after wild protests throughout the country in response to the introduction of moderate annual tuition fees (EUR 1000) in some regional states (Länder) during past eight years. With the reform introduction, as from January 2015 the Federal Government will become responsible for the allocation of all grants and loans to tertiary and secondary students countrywide and the Länder will be remitted from their traditional financial contribution of 35% which, according to the Federal Government, could be invested in improving infrastructure in education institutions.