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Germany: New coalition, same Minister for Education and Research, new BAFöG?

The new German government is in place and minister posts have been allocated within the coalition of Christian Democrats (CDU)/Christian Social Union (CSU) and Social Democrats (SPD). Johanna Wanka, who had previously replaced Annette Schavan in February 2013 due to her resignation, will remain in office as Federal Minister for Education and Research.

Already during coalition talks between CDU/CSU and SPD, speculations on an upcoming reform of the Federal Training Assistance Act (Bundesausbildungsförderungsgesetz – BAFöG) had been raised in German media. Although a BAFöG reform had not been included in the coalition treaties, Johanna Wanka confirmed plans to change the current state of BAFöG in an interview with the online platform of the German weekly news magazine Der Spiegel. The grant scheme is likely to be adjusted and increased. In addition, there might be a chance to adjust the age threshold, as people who currently start their studies at a higher age are currently disadvantaged in comparison to the ones who follow the traditional educational model and begin to study right after secondary school.  

Apart from upcoming internal changes concerning German higher education policy, the coalition programme also deliberately mentions the objectives and the work of the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD), promising to further strengthen and develop international cooperation programmes.

SpiegelOnline - Interview with Johanna Wanka on BAFöG (in German)

DAAD - Press release (in German)