BAföG

State-funded student financing

Please note: BAföG is only awarded to international students in exceptional cases. At our BAföG office you can receive more information about obtaining BAföG financial assistance as a foreign national.

What you need to know...

BAföG (= “Bundesausbildungsförderungsgesetz” or Federal Education and Training Assistance Act) enables young people to choose a study programme that best suits their skills and interests. BAföG funding is need-based and granted if the student’s own financial means or those of his or her parents or spouse or partner are insufficient for this purpose.

Half of the BAföG financial support is usually a grant, the remaining half an interest-free loan. A ceiling guarantees that students only need to repay a maximum of EUR 10,000 of the total loan amount. 

 

BAföG is a social benefit and is provided if the financial circumstances of the parents are not sufficient to finance the education. The training itself must be eligible for funding. The following applies: As a rule, a first education is eligible for funding, usually also the second-chance education and a subsequent education.

A Master's programme is particularly supported if it is based on a completed Bachelor's programme and no other university degree is available.

Students in order to receive BAföG may not have reached the age of 30 at the beginning of their education and 35 in the case of Master's programmes.

The individual amount of funding depends on the student's needs and eligible income and assets as well as the income of his or her parents or spouse.

The BAföG is calculated on the basis of the income situation of the parents/spouses in the penultimate year before the start of the approval period. Example: Beginning of the approval period 01.10.2018 = income situation calendar year 2016.

As a general rule, the standard rate (basic requirement plus accommodation) for a student who still lives with his parents and a student with his own flat and household is different.

The maximum BAföG funding period is based on the standard period of study specified in the study and examination regulations for the respective discipline. From the fifth semester onwards, BAföG is only provided if the student has submitted proof of achievement.

Funding beyond the standard period of study may be granted in exceptional cases for periods of study which delay the completion of studies, as laid down by law, e.g. for the education of a child or work in a university committee as an elected member.

We, the Studierendenwerk, are responsible for processing BAföG applications. You can submit all necessary forms to our Office for Educational Assistance (Reckhammerweg 1, 45141 Essen). The necessary forms can be found online or locally at our BAföG office.

 

The repayment obligation begins five years after the end of the maximum funding period. The monthly repayment minimum installments of currently 105 € are generally collected quarterly. In addition, the loan debt is currently limited to a total of at 10.000 €.

 

Consulting hours

Amt für Ausbildungsförderung
Reckhammerweg 1, 45131 Essen

Mo and Thu: 10:00 am - 01:00 pm
Tue: 01:00 pm - 03:30 pm

During the lecture-free period only Tuesday and Thursday

Phone consultation hours
Tue and Fr:   09:00 am - noon
Tel.: + 49 201 82010-111

 

FAQ

  • How long does it take to process the application?

    The processing time for a BAföG application is approximately 2 months. Therefore, it makes sense to submit the application as soon as possible and completely (!). In particular, renewal applications should be submitted in advance, as there may be a processing backlog at the beginning of the semester due to the large number of initial applications.

  • Are there any deadlines for BAföG?

    In principle, there are no general exclusion periods. However, BAföG is not granted retroactively. This means that if you start your studies in October and submit your application in November, you will give away your BAföG grant for October.

    Those who wish to receive BAföG on time and without any problems should submit their application as early as possible (2 months before the end of the last grant period) to the BAföG office.

    For initial applications, we recommend that you submit your application directly after you have received the notification of admission from your university.

    If time is running out, due to replacement procedures or similar, a provisional application can be submitted to meet the deadline.

  • What occurs when there is a change of specialisation during my studies?

    The BAföG entitlement does not expire if there is an "important reason" for the first change of subject until the end of the 3rd semester.

    An irrefutable reason must always be taken into account, even after the 3rd semester. This is an objective reason for the change of subject, for example a permanent physical limitation of a sports student after an accident.

    Semesters credited from one faculty to another may be credited towards the maximum funding period.

  • What is parent-independent BAföG?

    In exceptional cases, support is possible independent of parents.

    The individual requirements for this are as follows:

    • The student was gainfully employed for a total of 60 months after reaching the age of 18 and until the beginning of his studies, whereby vocational training periods are not taken into account. Gainful employment means that you must have earned enough to be able to support yourself without having to take advantage of your parents (currently 778.80 € per month - as of 10/2018).
    • The student has been employed for at least three years after three years of vocational training; together with the training there must be a period of at least 6 years.
    • The student is over 30 years old at the beginning of the training period and further requirements are met. Please contact us for further information.

    In the case of parent-independent support, income declarations by the parents are no longer required. However, the income of the spouse/registered partner is always taken into account.

  • Is there an age restriction?

    Students are not eligible to receive BAföG if they are 30 years of age or under 35 years of age at the beginning of their studies and in the case of Master's programmes.

  • Do I also get BAföG abroad?

    For a study abroad there is the possibility of the "Auslands-BAföG". Special offices are responsible for this. The respective address - depending on the country in which you would like to study - can be obtained from your responsible administrator or at www.bafoeg.bmbf.de.

    Further funding opportunities for a stay abroad

    If you are not entitled to BAföG funding, you can request information on the awarding of scholarships from the German Academic Exchange Service (www.daad.de), Kennedyallee 50, 53175 Bonn, and from the International Offices of the universities (www.hochschulkompass.hrk.de)  under "Universities".Further information can be obtained from the Federal Ministry of Education and Research, 53170 Bonn (www.bmbf.de).

  • Can I get rid of the licence fee collection service?

    As a BAföG receiver, you have the possibility of being exempted from the licence fee collection service (ARD ZDF Beitragsservice). Further information and the corresponding application form can be found here: www.rundfunkbeitrag.de

  • What should I keep in mind while filling in the application form?

    In order to meet the application deadline, an informal BAföG application is sufficient. However, the official application forms must be submitted later. Please note that several weeks may elapse between application and payment of the BAföG amount.

    Fill in all fields. Even if you think you don't have to give any information somewhere, it's better to give a line or a zero instead of no information. Each gap leads to inquiries and inquiries lead to delay - and in the worst case you will get your money one month later.

  • How often must a new application be submitted?

    Generally, grants are awarded for a period of twelve months. Please refer to page 1 of your notification of support for information on the period for which you were granted support.

    Early before the end of the approval period, about two months in advance, you should submit a signed, complete and fully documented renewal application so that there are no payment interruptions.

  • When must a proof of qualifications be provided?

    At the beginning of the 5th semester, proof of qualification must be provided that you have attained the ''usual performance level'' in accordance with § 48 Para. 1 BAföG at the end of the 4th semester.

    Please talk to your advisor about what this means in your specific case.

  • My parents refuse the information/payment- what now?

    If your parents refuse to provide you with information about their income, or if they do not pay you the credited income amount as maintenance payments, it is possible to apply for an ''advance payment''.

    After examining each individual case, the Amt für Ausbildungsförderung may assume the payment of advance payments in addition to the BAföG claim. In return, the student's claim for maintenance against his or her parents is transferred to the Amt für Ausbildungsförderung, which reclaims the amount if necessary by means of a maintenance claim and charges interest at a rate of six percent up to this date.

    In any case, talk to our expert at the BAföG office.

  • What can I gain in addition to BAföG?

    With an approval period of twelve months, as an applicant you can earn an additional 5.400 € (10/2016) gross as income from employment without being credited to the BAföG rate. This means that a mini-job is possible without changing the amount of BAföG funding.

    Child benefit does not play a role in the calculation. It is not regarded as income and is therefore at your disposal.

    Please note: Other requirements apply to internship allowances or orphan's pensions, which are generally counted as income. If you have any questions, please contact your advisor.

  • How does my own assets affect BAföG?

    Your financial circumstances at the time of application are decisive. Comprehensive proof of this must be provided.

    Assets are attributed to you even if you have transferred them in an abusive manner. This is the case if you were transferred in connection with the commencement of your training or if, in the course of your training, you transfer parts of your assets to third parties, in particular parents or relatives, free of charge or without equivalent consideration.

  • What is a hardship allowance?

    On application, a part of the income may additionally remain exempt from crediting in order to avoid unreasonable hardship, for example in the case of a disability of the student or the person liable for maintenance.
    For example, the amounts for the disabled or nursing care flat rates are taken into account here.

  • What happens if I give false information?

    By signing the BAföG application, you declare that the information you have provided is correct and legally binding if it turns out to be untrue.

    It is only advisable to provide truthful information, as the Amt für Ausbildungsförderung compares data with those of the Federal Central Tax Office throughout Germany. Incorrect information leads to investigations being initiated and, if necessary, to fine/criminal proceedings for misuse of social benefits.

  • What do i have to do, if my income or that of my parents changes?

    Changes in the income of the applicant or the parents, spouse or registered partner must be notified in writing without delay.

    If necessary, a recalculation is carried out and a notice of change is issued.