18 Sep

Decided: extended “individual standard period of study” ( verlängerte “individuelle Regelstudienzeit”) for BAföG during Corona + “free trial” (“Freiversuch”) in exams

Yesterday on September 17, 2020, the Berlin University Act was amended and the “individual standard period of study” (“Förderungshöchstdauer”) was extended by one semester. That means you will get BAföG one semester longer, regardless of whether you are already in a “funding over the maximum funding period” (“Förderungs über die Förderungshöchstdauer hinaus”). The only important thing here is that you were still eligible for BAföG in the summer semester 2020. We understand the change in the law in such a way that you do not have to submit any additional documents, but a normal follow-up application for the next semester is sufficient. The same also applies if you only arrive at the end of your maximum funding period (“Förderungshöchstdauer”) in the next few semesters, then you will also receive BAföG one semester longer.

In addition, a “free trail regulation” was introduced retrospectively for the summer semester 2020 and the coming winter semester 2020/21. Specifically, this means that any exams you have taken and failed will not be counted as failed attempts and you will continue to have as many exam attempts as before! This regulation means relaxation, especially for students who are already in the second or third exam attempt. If you are de-registered (“exmatrikuliert”) in the summer semester 2020 because you failed a third attempt, contact the university and / or the Hochschul- und Studienberatung here at the AStA.

Unfortunately, the extended standard period of study (verlängerte “individuelle Regelstudienzeit”) does not apply to the submission of proof of performance after the 4th bachelor semester (“Leistungsnachweis”). That does skip out on a very large group of students. Who have exactly the same problems as the students who are at the end of their funding period. We were verbally informed by the Senate that the BAföG office was instructed to proceed less bureaucratically here as well. We are skeptical about these verbal commitments. And we unfortunately have to assume that the office will continue to demand detailed justifications and evidence of Corona reasons for a “Leistungsnachweis” postponement.

If you have less than 120 credits after the 4th Bachelor semester, do NOT (!) have your “Leistungsnachweis” issued positively. Write an email or make an appointment in our BAföG and social counselling. There are mostly legal reasons why you could not achieve the credit points and thus postpone the “Leistungsnachweis” and thus study longer with BAföG. We are trying to build up further pressure and also get a proper regulation for the “Leistungsnachweis”.

And finally, the change in the law is a very small step that comes too late. There should have been a nationwide opening of BAföG. In addition, the “Förderungshöchstdauer” should really have been legally suspended in Berlin, which would also solve the problems with the “Leistungsnachweis”. Unfortunately, our demands were ignored and only this small step was implemented. In addition, the law has not yet been published in the Official Journal and is therefore not yet effective, which will probably take a few more days.

Press release from the state government: https://www.berlin.de/sen/wissenschaft/aktuelles/pressemitteilungen/2020/pressemitteilung.993402.php