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On 1 February, Germany’s Federal Minister of Education, Annette Schavan, launched the country’s new Deutschlandstipendium (Germany scholarships). The scholarships, of EUR 300 per month, are to be awarded by universities and colleges to their most able students. They are not means-tested and can be awarded in addition to other support from which a student might benefit. The federal government provides the scholarship funds on the condition that private matching funds in the same amount are also made available. In other words: to each scholarship, the federal government contributes EUR 150 a month, provided a private sponsor injects the same amount.
About 1 000 scholarships were already available at the time of the launch ceremony in Berlin’s Humboldt University. In the medium term, the scheme is hoped to fund some 160 000 students. German businesses – such as Deutsche Telecom, BASF and Bayer – but also small and medium sized enterprises, foundations and private individuals, are amongst those contributing matching funds. The creation of the Deutschlandstipendium met with almost universal applause, and was seen by some as the start of a new culture of civic investment and engagement in higher education. Margret Wintermantel, President of the country’s rectors’ conference, as well as the Secretary General of Germany’s Stifterverband, an umbrella organisation of foundations investing in education, warmly welcomed the programme.
By the end of 2011, the scheme is expected to fund some 10 000 students. In the medium term, the aim is to provide 160 000 scholarships per year. Should this target be reached, almost one out of ten German students would benefit from the Deutschlandstipendien.
German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (in German)