To ensure that more students benefit from BAföG funding, the Federal Government officially approved the 26. BAföG reform on 17.05.2019.
The reform will enter into force in the winter semester 2019/20. Demand rates and allowances are rising, which means there's more money for more students. A further adjustment for the winter semester 2020/21 will follow.
We will tell you how you can benefit from the BAföG reform.
More housing benefit, higher income and higher childcare allowances: an overview of the most important changes in the 26. BAföG reform
The previous maximum rate was 735,00 €. This will be raised in two stages to around 861,00 € (2019/20: 853,00 €) up to the winter semester 2020/21.
For the first time it is considered that students over 30 years have to pay more for their health insurance. Those who can prove the costs will receive up to 189,00 € per month.
|Requirements for students||2016||WS 2019/20||WS 2020/21|
|Basic requirement||399,00 €||419,00 €||427,00 €|
|- living with parents||52,00 €||55,00 €||56,00 €|
|- own or shared flat||250,00 €||325,00 €||325,00 €|
|Surcharge health and care insurance*|
|- Under 30 years old||86,00 €||109,00 €||109,00 €|
|- Over 30 years old||86,00 €||189,00 €||189,00 €|
|TOTAL (max.)||735,00 €||853,00 €||861,00 €|
* This surcharge is only granted if you are covered by your own insurance (usually from the age of 25).
As before, the repayment amount is limited to 10.000 €. Now, those who are unable to repay the entire sum even after 20 years will be released from their remaining debt.
From 01.04.2020, the quarterly rates will rise to 390,00 € (130,00 €/month), so that students will have only to pay a maximum of 77 rates (= 10.010 €). So you are free of debt 6 ½ years after the end of the standard period of study!
Discounts for early repayment at once will continue to be granted, but these will be reduced in the future. Exact numbers are still to be released (Status: 01.07.2019).
First of all: the promotion according to BAföG or BAföG loans describe two different (!) forms of funding. There are no innovations for previous loan recipients.
However, from the winter semester 2019/20 onwards the BAföG bank loan will no longer be offered in its current form. The once interest-bearing student loan becomes an interest-free loan, which students can continue to apply for as an aid to graduation.
In contrast to BAföG, the full amount must be paid. The conditions for repayment are usually based on those of the "normal" BAföG debt.
The salary of the parents is a central factor in the calculation of the monthly funding amount. Students are often excluded from funding because their parents' income exceeds the so-called free allowances. The reason for this is that salaries have generally been adjusted to market values, whereas the allowances in BAföG have not been adjusted over six years.
This will change with the new reform. The allowances will be increased by 16 percent in three stages until 2021, which means that more students will again be eligible for funding.
For calculating the BAföG rate your own savings are relevant. As part of the amendment, the exemption limits for this will be increased from 7.500 € to 8.200 €. However, this adjustment will not come into force until winter semester 2020/21!
The income allowances remain at 5.400 € per year, which you are allowed to earn from non-self-employment without being credited.
The childcare surcharge is now granted for children up to the age of 14. The amount itself increases in two steps up to winter semester 2021/22 to 150,00 € per child per month.
Up to this age (under 14 years), delays in the education will also be taken into account for an extension of the maximum funding period.
Also, the age limits of 30 years specified in the BAföG (or 35 years at the beginning of a Master's programme) no longer apply if you have postponed your own initial education by raising your children up to the age of 14.
Capital allowances will increase slightly in the winter semester 2020/21. Per child, an additional 2.300 € will not be deducted from one's own income.
New in the law is the care of relatives. Students who care for close family members (from care level 3) can also receive BAföG beyond the maximum funding period.
From winter semester 2019/20 there will be more money for more students. The 26. reform of the BAföG was urgently needed and brings many improvements for students. No question! However, there is still a need for action on many points (e.g. age limits, maximum funding period or digitisation) in order to do justice to the reality of students' lives. It is a fact that the BAföG must be further reformed so that students from financially weak families can finance their studies.
In cooperation with the Friedrich-Eberhard-Stiftung, our umbrella organisation, the Deutsches Studentenwerk, has developed an 11-point plan that promises a real trend shift in BAföG. The study is only available in German.
When does the new BAföG reform come into force?
In principle, the change in requirement rates and allowances will come into force automatically with the new approval period from the winter semester 2019/20. You do not have to submit a separate application. Depending on the university, the semester or approval period begins differently:
- University Duisburg-Essen, Folkwang University of the Arts: 01.10.2019
- University of Applied Sciences Ruhr West: 01.09.2019
Please note that some changes to the BAföG reform, e.g. the increase on savings, will become valid in the winter semester 2020/21. If you have any questions, please contact us!
What are the advantages of the BAföG reform?
In total, the federal government plans to spend around 1,8 € billion on BAföG funding by 2022. By 2020 the maximum rate will rise from € 735,00 € to € 861,00 €. The rental flat rate included in this rate adapts to the rising rents and increases from 250,00 € to 325,00 €. The allowances for parents' income will also be increased so that more students will be eligible for support.
A further innovation refers to the repayment. Those who have not repaid their debts in total after 20 years will be released from their remaining debt. Unfortunately, there is no change in the procedure for applying. An overview of all important changes can be found here: the 26. BAföG reform at a glance
So far I had no claim to BAföG. Do I now have a chance of receiving a grant?
Yes, you should definitely apply. The allowances for parents' income will be increased in several stages by a total of 16 percent until 2022. This means that your parents may earn more and you can still receive BAföG. You can obtain the forms for the BAföG application at: www.bafög.de
I already receive BAföG. What do I have to do to get more BAföG?
The BAföG reform will automatically come into force in the winter semester 2019/20. You do not have to submit a separate application. As soon as your new notification has been calculated, it will be sent to you by post.
Initial and follow-up applications should be submitted as early as possible, as the changeover is expected to result in a high workload at the BAföG office.
When will the new repayment regulations come into force?
Debt relief and exemption: The new regulation on repayment limitation applies from 01.09.2019 for all students who apply for BAföG for the first time (!). If you are already a BAföG recipient, you have the opportunity to switch to the new model within the first few months of the new regulation coming into force. Talk to your administrator about this or contact the Federal Administration Office.
Monthly rates: From 01.04.2020 the instalments will be raised for repayment. As of this date you must repay at least 390,00 € per quarter.
Why is an increase of BAfög necessary?
A study conducted by the Deutsches Studentenwerk to determine the cost of living of students has shown that students need an average of 900,00 € per month for rent, food and leisure.
Costs have risen disproportionately to BAföG in all areas. The estimated BAföG basic requirement of 399,00 € and the rental flat rate of 250,00 € are no longer sufficient to cover these expenses alone. Students have to work in addition to BAföG or take on further strains so that they can finance their studies. The reform is intended to provide a remedy.
What do the critics have to say about the draft law?
We and the Deutsches Studentenwerk welcome the reform of the BAföG. This was long overdue after a long standstill. However, BAföG must be adapted more strictly to the reality of students' lives.
The planned BAföG basic requirement, for example, is not sufficient in our view to cover the monthly expenses. This amount must be increased to at least 500,00 € to 550,00 €. In addition, funding beyond the standard period of study, an extension of age limits (keyword "lifelong learning") and the topic of digitisation are not taken into account.
In cooperation with the Friedrich-Eberhard-Stiftung, our umbrella organisation, the Deutsches Studentenwerk, has developed an 11-point plan that promises a real trend reversal in BAföG.
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