12 Mar

The federal government plans to increase the BAföG repayment sum by €1,540, and the BAföG rates are not set to rise

The federal government has broken its promises regarding BAföG outlined in the coalition agreement. What’s worse, with the latest “reform” in 2024, the “BAföG debts” are set to increase from the current €10,010 to €11,550. This affects both new BAföG recipients and those who have not yet repaid or are in the process of repaying. This change is explained by the increase in repayment rates from €130 to €150, resulting in an increase of €1,540 over the legally prescribed 77 repayment installments, thus leading to significantly higher debts for BAföG recipients. The coalition agreement of the SPD, Greens, and FDP aimed for a reduction in the loan component. Studies have repeatedly shown that individuals from poor backgrounds are deterred by debts, thus this increase in the BAföG repayment sum will have massive negative effects on the attractiveness of BAföG.

The urgently needed increase in the BAföG rate has also not been approved. Currently, BAföG recipients receive €452 basic needs in the maximum BAföG rate, which is lower than the (also too low) rates of €563 in basic income support (Hartz IV) and €460 in the Asylum Seekers Benefits Act. Additionally, the housing allowance of €360 in BAföG is absolutely ludicrous, especially in cities like Berlin, Munich, or Hamburg where a romm in a shared flat often costs over €500-600.

While other new provisions, such as the study start-up assistance of €1,000 for students from poor families, the so-called “flexibility semester” allowing students to study one semester beyond the standard duration upon request, and the possibility for a Fachrichtungswechsel after four instead of three semesters, are all good changes, unfortunately, they are still not sufficient to adapt BAföG to the reality of studying.

You can find an overview of the “reform” from 2024 here (in German), which is set to come into effect for the winter semester 24/25. Until then, as students, we must increase pressure on the federal government to prevent these deteriorations and finally ensure that BAföG is adequately increased!

Additional Statements (in German):

Statement from Deutschen Studentenwerks

Statement from Hochschulrektorenkonferenz (HRK)

Statement from fzs