The coronavirus can infect us all but not everyone suffers from its impact to the same extent. The crisis we are currently experiencing is exacerbating social, economic and political inequalities.
We at the TU Berlin AStA are doing all we can to support you at this time. We are on your side! We always represent the interests of students in every situation. Since the start of the pandemic, we have been in regular contact with various offices of the Berlin Senate as well as the Executive Board of TU Berlin in an effort to gain a clear picture regarding financial issues. We would like to provide you with an overview of the current situation and will continue to update you
a) will be paid further
The Federal Ministry of Education and Research promised that BaföG recipients would not suffer any disadvantages due to the coronavirus. Firstly, this means that BaföG will continue to be paid in the 2020 summer semester regardless of how many and in which format the lectures take place, including in the emergency mode as announced on 20 March.
b) Corona as reason for extension
The TU promised us, that students will get a confirmation of cancellation for already cancelled exams, to-be cancelled exams, as well as lectures, Laboratories, and closed libraries. This confirmation is suppsed to allow you the possibility to extend your eligibility for Bafög, as previously happened with the student strike.
A classes cancellation, etc., qualifies as „other serious reason“ [„sonstigen schwerwiegenden Grund“] (§15 Abs.3 Nr1 BAföG) to extend the eligibility for Bafög for the respective semesters.
If you are currently at the end of your standard period of study (end of the 6th semester) and need another semester due to a cancelled exam, please submit a follow-up application for BaföG. Also if you could not submit your Bachelor- or Masterthesis in time due to closed libraries or labs, submit a a follow-up application for BaföG! Here you have to apply for the „Förderung über die Förderungshöchstdauer hinaus“(fincancial aid exceeding the maximum period of financial aid). The reason why your period of eligibility for Bafög should be extended is the one mentioned above: due to „other serious reasons“. The same goes for the performance record (Leistungsnachweis), meaning for all students currently at the end of their fourth semester. If Exams have been cancelled due to Corona, you can list this as reason for delaying the submission of your performance record.
It doesnt matter if youre at the end of your study or if you have to submit the performance record, you attach an informal letter to your BaföG-application which makes clear what cancellations you face(d) due to the Corona pandemic. This reason can also be listed later to extend your eligibility for BaföG.
In the press statement by the Bundesministerim für Bildung und Forschung it says unmistakenly: „Unavoidable interruptions in study due to a pandemic constitute a serious reason within the meaning of § 15 (3) no. 1 BAföG. This also applies if, for example, the examinations are postponed to times after the standard period of study. According to § 48 Abs. 2 BAföG, the submission date for performance records may also be postponed accordingly.“ („Unvermeidbare pandemiebedingte Ausbildungsunterbrechungen stellen einen schwerwiegenden Grund im Sinne des § 15 Abs. 3 Nr. 1 BAföG dar. Dies gilt auch, wenn sich z. B. die Prüfungen auf Zeiten nach der Regelstudienzeit verschieben. Nach § 48 Abs. 2 BAföG verschiebt sich ggf. auch der Vorlagetermin für Leistungsnachweise entsprechend nach hinten.“)
c) Change in income of your parents – Application for update (Antrag auf Aktualisierung)
If your parents‘ income decreases, apply for an update (Form 7) in any case. Thereby the recent change in your parents‘ income will be acknowledged and your eligibility will be calculated anew. Normally, the amount of your BaföG refers to your parents‘ income from two years ago, with the application for update the most recent change in income will be taken into account. With this, your eligibility may increase. You can apply for Bafög at any time, even if the eligibility arose just now due to the change in income.
d) Own income and BaföG
Do you already receive Bafög but need to work on the side to pay rent, etc, but now you lost your job?Let the BaföG office know if you earned more than 450€. 450€ is the maximum of income you are allowed to have with BaföG, anything more than that will be substracted from your eligibility. That means, if you had an income above 450€ earlier but now your income is below that, you need to let the BaföG office know because then your eligibility increases.
2) Federal local student services emergency funds
The Federal Ministry for Education and Research (Bundesministerium für Bildung und Forschung) announced to support students with an emergency fund of 100 Million €, which will be distributed by the local student services. The application has not started yet. More information you will find here.
3) Unemployment Compensation
In general, students are not eligible for unemployment compensation since their „primary social aid“ is BaföG!
However, students who have taken a holiday semester or are part-time students, is not as full student and, in this case, may be eligible to ALG2/Hartz4 or Arbeitslosen Geld 1 (Unemployment Compensation) and should apply for such.
This may be another possibility to surpass financial trouble. Important here is, that you apply for a holiday semester or part-time semester. Mind the deadlines, the switch to part-time studies and the application for leave of absence (holiday semester) needs to happen by May 18, 2020!
The reason you should list for your respective application is the „other reason“, that, since you are not receiving an income at the moment you want to switch to part-time. Please note this on your application.
With the confirmation letter for your part-time or holiday semester you go and get a Bafög letter of refusal if you are studying part-time from the BaföG office and contact the Jobcenter in your district. Should the Jobcenter tell you that they are not responsible for you because you are students and thus excluded from ALG2, an Administrative Regulation exists. Point 5.5.2 refers to the ALG 2 eligibility of students in part-time study or holiday semester.
People without a German Passport who involuntarily lost their job and have been living in the BRD for at least 3 month in the are eligible to ALG 2. In addition to this, non-EU citizens can now apply for some residence permits with the additional provision: “Expires upon receipt of services
according to the SGB II/ XII or AsylbLG”. Also ALG II include, since this regulation in Berlin at present out of force
is set. For the period from 18.03.2020 to 17.06.2020 you can claim benefits according to the SGB II (Hartz IV), SGB XII (social welfare) or the Asylum Seekers Benefits Act. Should the Corona pandemic (the orientation here is currently on 17.06.) and you would like extend your residence permit, you must, however, again prove that you can stay without supplementary social benefits. International students can also apply to the
Studierendenwerk apply for an emergency loan.
Please note that the swith brings consequences to exams. You may sit an exam you registered before switching to holiday semester, but can not enroll in clases.
In part-time study you can only make half of the credits.
If you are missing some documents, that is not a problem, just submit your application and hand them in later but as soon as possible. The reason is as follows: you receive the money going back to the month you applied. Meaning, if you were to submit the application as late as 30.04 at the Jobcenter, you will still receive money for all of april!
Normally, the money will be paid relatively quick after all documents and form have been submitted.
Finally, a quick note concerning the Jobcenter:
Since the Jobcenters are currently closed, we advise you to either fax your aplication or submit it personally to their respective mailbox. The Jobcenters are closed, meaning appointments are currently not happening.
When filling out the forms please do not forget that GIVING YOUR PHONE NUMBER IS OPTIONAL!
If you are living in asublet, they have no claim to see the headlease! You only have to sumit your contract of sublet.
Furthermore, according to news reports, applications for Hartz IV wont need a check of means and amount of rent for half a year, starting 01.04.2020.
ALG 2 counselling
where to apply:
4) Housing Money:
Note: Housing money and BaföG are mutually exclusive! Only they, who are not eligible to Bafög may can apply for housing money.
In this case, housing money can be used as financial aid. Here, it is important to have proof over your own income. As income qualify wage payments, BaföG as bank loan, financial aid from friends and family which can also mean benefit in kind, i.e. if your family were to realise that they hoarded too much toilet paper, they can give some to you. That decreases your base need. That can be important since you need to provide a „minimum income“ to receive housing money as supportive measures. The Minimum income is calculated as follows:
Basic need ( 409€ all in / benefits in kind) + rent including additional cost + insurance
If you can cover that sum, you are eligible for housing money.
To calculate the amount is very complicaed and depends from the number of members of the household. Members of a household are people in a community of responsibility. Thus, memebers of the household is not equal to the number of people living or registered in an apartment but family members, partners, etc.. If you are not living with your family but in a flatshare, your flatmates do not count as members of your household!
EU-citizens are also eligible to housing money according to the Agreement on the Free Movement of Persons .
We have to point out, that even in times without an ongoing pandemic, the applicationprocess can take up to 3 months! Those who are in need of money right now to pay their rent should not count on housing money! If the check for need will be loosened here as well is yet to see.
If you are missing documents, that is no problem either, just apply and hand in the missing files later but as soon as possible.The reason is as follows: you receive the money going back to the month you applied. Meaning, if you were to submit the application as late as 30.04 at the citizen center, you will still receive money for all of april!
You submit your application to the Citizen Center
https://service.berlin.de/dienstleistung/120656/ (only in german)
You can also apply here https://www.stw.berlin/en/finanzierung.html
5) Grants for solo self-employed persons and freelancers
1. Payments for November and December.
You can apply now for grants for November and December. Please note the following deadlines when applying! Applications for November must be submitted by 31 January 2021 and for December by 31 March 2021!
Grants are calculated as follows:
Grants of 75% of the relevant average monthly turnover for November and December 2019 are available for all businesses (including public agencies), freelancers, clubs and associations, institutions, accommodation providers and event locations.
Applications may only be submitted via tax advisors, lawyers and auditors (exception: solo self-employed persons).
You can find more information as well as an application form via this link.
2. Interim financial aid for students (Überbrückungshilfe II)
You can apply now for interim financial aid (Überbrückungshilfe II) for September to December 2020. Please NOTE that the deadline for applications is January 2021.
To be eligible, you must belong to one of the following groups:
Solo self-employed persons, self-employed members of the liberal professions as their primary form of work as well as small and medium-sized enterprises in Berlin.
Funding is calculated on the basis of the anticipated reduction in turnover for the months September to December 2020 in relation to the corresponding months of the previous year.
Applications may only be submitted via tax advisors, lawyers and auditors.
You can find further information and an application form via this link.
Further details provided by Verdi for both programs can be viewed via this link.
A bill of 23. of march 2020 proposes that tenants who are unable to pay their rent from 1. April 2020 until the end of June 2020 cannot be terminated for the time being. The tenants have the option of repaying the rent until the end of June 2022.
more information here: https://www.berliner-mieterverein.de/sprachen/englisch.htm
tenancy law counseling:
7) Expiring University Employments
In a conversation with the Secretary of State for Science and Research, Steffan Krach, it was also announced that all expiring contracts at the university (including SHKs) would be extended. Please take care of the extension of your contract in time.
8) Studierendenwerk grants
StudierenWERK Berlin offers a grant for the start of your studies as well as a grant to help you during the final stages of your degree. These grants are not dependent on the current crisis. You can apply here for a one-off grant from Studierendenwerk Berlin from 11 January 2021.
Technology fund for students
As of 06.01.2021, it is possible to apply for funding for technical equipment from Studierendenwerk’s technology fund for students.
9) KfW Study loan (also for international students)
Independent of their income or that of their parents, students who have lost their jobs as a result of the coronavirus can apply to the KfW for an interest-free loan of up to 650 euros a month (until 31.03.2021).
As of 01.06.2020, foreign students can also apply for a loan from the KfW.
- Requirements: Your main place of residence must be in Germany.
- First payments became available 01.07.2020.
- The loan is also available to all foreign students until 31.03.2021.
- Repayment of the loan commences 6 to 23 months following the loan period.
You can find out more and apply for a loan here.
Press release of the Federal Ministry of Education and Research: https://www.bmbf.de/de/karliczek-wir-unterstuetzen-studierende-in-not-11501.html?utm_source=hootsuite