Many students in Germany can support their university studies through BAföG. Here’s everything you need to know about what it is.
What is BAföG?
The Law for education support (BundesAusbildungsförderungsGesetz) is the law which regulates public financial support to university students and trainees (Auszubildenden). The aim of this law is to enable young people to study and get an education, despite their economical situation .
How to obtain it
In order to get the BAföG you need to comply with these 3 requirements:
- Being enrolled in a university course (public or private), or in a professional education course (Berufsakademien). The important thing is that the course will grant a degree.
- Being maximum 29 years old; this does not apply to students who have children and students enrolled in a Master’s degree.
- Having a German citizenship; however, students who come from other countries belonging to the EU, migrants and refugees can also request BAföG under certain circumstances.
How much money will I get?
That depends on different factors and the total amount of the contribution will be determined by the BAföG office after applying. The Ministry of Education stated that some of these factors are: your parent’s income, your potential partner’s income, your living situation (whether you live alone or with your parents), and your job. In 2019 students got on average 514€ a month.
For how long?
You will get the BAföG as long as your university course lasts. For example, if the course is 6 semesters long, that will be the duration of the support, even if you have not finished your degree by that time. Moreover, if you request the BAföG after your course starts, you will not get the money for the months before your request.
Do I have to pay the BAföG back?
The BAföG is made of a contribution and a loan, which means that you will only have to pay back the loan part (half of the whole BAföG) without any interest rate. You can start paying the money back 5 years after the contribution ends; the maximum amount to pay is 10.010 €, which corresponds to the maximum amount of BAföG support. You normally pay 130€ a month and there is a 20 years period to pay everything back. If you don’t have the means to pay, you can also request a payment cessation.
Work and BAföG
While you get it you can also work, but there are limits. If you earn more than 450€ a month, the contribution will be reduced, because it is based on your income.
How to apply
You can apply by presenting the necessary documents. You will find them by the offices for education support, by student organizations or online (only in certain parts of Germany). The main documents regard the BAfoG request itself, your income and university enrollment.