30 Oct

Newsletter with information about BAföG, Bürgergeld, heating costs, semester ticket & more – AStA BAföG and Social Counseling WiSe 23/24

Dear fellow students,

We welcome you to our new newsletter from the AStA TU BAföG and Social Counseling in the winter semester 2023/24! We provide solidarity-based and biased advice to students on issues related to student financing and more. In our new newsletter, we want to inform you about news and changes related to AStA counseling topics in a consolidated manner.

Newsletter Overview:

1. Semester ticket expiration and social ticket

2. BAföG 

2.1. Budget cuts in BAföG 

2.2. Federal Administrative Court ruling on higher BAföG rates

3. Additional cost payments: Bürgergeld entitlement due to high energy costs and bills

4. Bürgergeld

4.1. Earnings for those under 25
4.2 Income allowance slightly higher

4.3. €3,000 ALG 2 volunteer work annually, not monthly, since July

5. FAQ about study financing

1. Semester ticket expiration and social ticket

The student parliament of the TU Berlin decided on June 8, 2023 not to extend the semester ticket at the current conditions, because the offer of the Verkehrsverbund Berlin Brandenburg (VBB) does not justify a solidarity model. Solidarity model means that all students must pay for a ticket regardless of usage. Negotiations on timely alternatives, such as the Berlin 19-Euro-Ticket for students or the inclusion in the Berlin 9-Euro-Sozialticket have failed for the winter semester.

The first alternative is now the 49€ ticket (Deutschlandticket). Here you can find out how to purchase this ticket at short notice. Please also contact your employer to find out if you can get a subsidy for the Jobticket.
If you receive certain social benefits such as housing allowance (Wohngeld), citizen’s allowance (Bürgergeld), basic security (Grundsicherung) or benefits under the Asylum Seekers’ Guidance Act, you are eligible for the 9-Euro-Sozialticket. Please note that BAföG recipients are not included.

2. BAföG

2.1. Budget cuts in BAföG

The current government coalition of SPD, Greens, and FDP promised a two-stage fundamental reform of BAföG in its coalition agreement. So far, there has only been a small and completely inadequate change (german) for the winter semester 2022/23. Now, the FDP-led Ministry of Finance has drastically cut (german) the BAföG budget in the upcoming budget by a total of €440 million and half as much for student BAföG. Despite clear promises in the coalition agreement, the urgently needed increase and reform of BAföG is now a distant prospect, and the federal government once again proves that they have no interest in students and student poverty! Here is a statement from freier zusammenschluss student*inennschaften (fzs) (german). We strongly condemn these cuts and urge the federal government to keep its promises and finally make BAföG poverty-proof and fair.

2.2. Federal Administrative Court ruling on higher BAföG rates

Due to a ruling by the Federal Administrative Court on May 20, 2021, it appears that the BAföG standard rates may be unconstitutional (because they are too low). To potentially receive a refund in the event of unconstitutionality, we recommend that you file an objection (Widerspruch) within the 4-week period for each new BAföG decision (Bescheid) to benefit from a possible retroactive increase later.

More information can be found here (german).

3. Additional cost payments (Heiz – und Nebenkosten) Bürgergeld entitlement due to high energy costs and bills

If you receive a high additional cost bill, you may be entitled to “Bürgergeld” for that month. If your living costs cannot be covered by your own income in that month, you have the right to “Bürgergeld” to cover the uncovered expenses! The basic requirements are that you are officially studying part-time or in Urlaubssemester and that you apply for “Bürgergeld” in the month in which you have to pay the additional costs. You can learn more about this topic here (german).

4. Bürgergeld new allowances

If you do not get BAföG, an alternative to finance your studies is “Bürgerhartz” (Arbeitslosengeld II, Bürgergeld). In order to be entitled to it, you must either study part-time or be in a semester of leave (Urlaubssemester) and fulfill further requirements. Here you can find more information.

For all those who already receive Bürgergeld (or want to receive it from next semester), a few things have changed as of July 2023. Here is a short summary of the most important points:

4.1 The tax-free amount for income from pupil and student jobs for under 25-year-olds will increase to 520 €! This means that if you have a mini-job alongside your (part-time) studies and receive money from the Jobcenter, you can keep the 520 € completely. Point this out to your Jobcenter if they have not yet taken it into account! (§ 11b Abs. 2a S. 1 Nr. 4 SGB II)

4.2 Also the income allowance for all over 25-year-olds changes

A basic allowance for gross income of 100€ remains, which you can keep. Between 100-520€ you are allowed to keep an additional 20%, for 520-1000€ it is 30%. Small calculation example: who receives money Form Jobcenter and earns 520€ may now keep 100€ allowance + 84 € (20% of the 420 €) additionally. (§ 11b Abs. 3 S. 2 Nr. 2 SGB II)

4.3 Income from voluntary work (“Ehrenamt”), exercise leader activity (“Übungsleitertätigkeit”) or expenditure compensation (“Aufwandsentschädigung”) remains up to 3,000€ /year free of charge
(§11a Abs. 1 Nr. 5 SGB II)

5. FAQ Financing your studies

If you have questions about financing your studies, you can find our FAQ on our website: