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 other inequalities.
We at the TU Berlin AStA are doing all we can to support you at this time. We are on your side! We try to 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.
2) Nationwide subsidies for students (Überbrückungshilfe) (not extended)
3) Unemployment compensation (ALG II/Jobcenter)
4) Housing Money (Wohngeld)
7) Studierendenwerk grants (depleted)
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 regardless of how many and in which format the lectures take place, including in the emergency mode as announced on March 20 2021.
b) Corona as reason for extension
Extended standart period of study and funding for summer 2020, winter 2020/21 summer 2021 and winter 2021/2022
If you were/are enrolled in the summer semester 2020 or the following semester until winter semester 2021/2022 and have not yet exceeded the standard period of study, your maximum funding period will be increased by one semester for each case. This applys to all students in Berlin but also in other federal states like f.e. Brandenburg. That means you don´t have to extend your Bafög with an individual justification but just apply with the usual BAföG (follow-up) application.
How to apply for the BAföG extension with individual justification (not necessary in most of the cases!)
If you were enrolled but have/had exceeded the standart period of study during summer 2020, winter 2020/21 and summer 2021 you can anyway – in most of the cases – use corona as a reason to extend you BAföG funding. If you´re not sure what applicates on your case it´s always good to make an appointment in our counselling and we´ll help you!
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 (usually 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 and earned more than 450€ besides, but now you lost your job? Let the BaföG office know! 450€ is the maximum of income you are allowed to have with BaföG, everything more than that will be substracted from your eligibility. That means, if you had an income over 450€ earlier but now your income is below that, your funding increases.
However, this does not currently apply to “system-relevant jobs” like (Kindergarten) Teacher or even working in a test center. In these you are allowed to earn more than 450€! So even if you have e.g. a SHK job and earn 450€ there, you can earn additional money in “system-relevant professions” beyond that. For this you need a certificate from your employer that your job is system relevant and that you started to work there/ had to work more because of the pandemic. However, you still need to keep in mind that your salary and the number of average hours you work may affect your health insurance. If you have any questions, please contact us!
The regulation has now also been extended by the federal government until the end of December 2022. More information here: https://www.xn--bafg-7qa.de/bafoeg/de/home/_documents/keine-nachteile-beim-bafoeg-wegen-corona.html
2) Federal local student services emergency funds “Überbrückungshilfe” (not extended)
The only real financial aid for students, the Überbrückungshilfe, expired in September 2021.
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 a 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)!
If your reason to switch to part time studies is your decreased income, you should list for your respective application „other reason“ and maybe a short declaration.
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´re not responsible for you because you as a student are excluded from ALG2, there is an Administrative Regulation. Point 5.5.2 refers to the ALG 2 eligibility of students in part-time studies or holiday semester.
To be eligible to ALG II as an EU-citizen you have to fulfill one of those conditions:
- you live in Germany since at least 5 years or
- you have legally worked in Germany for 1 year continuous
- you have worked for 3 month during the last year
- you have a job that´s at least 8hrs/week and you earn at least minimum wage
More information (in German) at BASTA Erwerbsloseninitiative.
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 at the Studierendenwerk for an emergency loan.
Please note that the switch to holiday semester has consequences to your studies. You may sit an exam you registered before switching, but you can not enroll in clases.
In part-time study you can only receive half of the credits (around 15 credits/semester).
Finally, a quick note concerning the Jobcenter:
- If you are missing some documents for your application, just submit it and hand them in later (but as soon as possible). The reason is that you receive the money from to the month you applied. If you were to submit the application until 30th of April at the Jobcenter, you will still receive money for the whole April! Usually, the money will be paid relatively quick after all documents and forms have been submitted.
- If the Jobcenters are closed (due to Corona), we advise you to either fax your aplication or submit it personally to their respective mailbox.
- GIVING YOUR PHONE NUMBER IS OPTIONAL!
- If you are living in a sublet, 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 from March 2020 till March 2022.
- Here you can apply for ALG II.
Additional info on ALG II (in german): http://basta.blogsport.eu/2020/04/10/corona-hartz-iv-ein-kleiner-ratgeber/
Studierendenwerk Berlin: https://www.stw.berlin/en/finanzierung.html
ALG 2 counselling BASTA: http://basta.blogsport.eu/en/
4) Housing Money:
Note: Housing money (Wohngeld) and BaföG are mutually exclusive! Only students, who are not eligible to Bafög may apply for housing money. That means: if you´re f.e. too old to get BAföG or your regular period of study exceeded the limit, you´re not eligible to BAföG and you can apply for housing money. But if the only reason you don´t get BAföG is your parents´or your own high income you´re not entitled to get housing money.
Housing money can be used as a financial aid. Here, you have to proof your own income. Income is i.e. wage payments, BaföG as bank loan, financial aid from friends and family which can also mean benefit in kind, i.e. if your family is realizing that they hoarded too much toilet paper, they can give some to you. This would decrease your basic need. It can be also important since you need to provide a „minimum income“ to receive housing money as supportive measures. The Minimum income is calculated as follows (approximate!):
Basic need ( 446€ all in / benefits in kind) + rent including additional cost + insurance
To calculate the amount is very complicaed and depends on 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 application process 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 you are missing documents just apply and hand in the missing files later (but as soon as possible). The reason is as follows: you receive the money from the month on you applied.
You submit your application to the Citizen Center: https://service.berlin.de/dienstleistung/120656/ (only in german)
Housing money calculator (only in german): https://new.biallo.de/wohngeld-rechner/
A bill of 23 March 2020 proposes that tenants who are unable to pay their rent from 1st 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.
Berlin Tenants’ Association (Berliner Mieterverein): https://www.berliner-mieterverein.de/sprachen/englisch.htm
Berliner Mietergemeinschaft tenants counselling: https://www.bmgev.de/
7) Expiring University Employments
In a conversation with the Secretary of State for Science and Research Steffan Krach he announced that all expiring contracts at the university (including SHKs) should be extended. Please take care of the extension of your contract on time.
information on your labour law: https://en.dgb.de/
8) Studierendenwerk grants (depleted)
Both aids have been depleted since December 2021 !
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.
Fund for technical equipment
Here you can apply for funding for technical equipment from Studierendenwerk’s Online Campus Participation Fund for students.
9) KfW Study loan (also for international students)
Students who have lost their jobs as a result of the coronavirus can apply to the KfW for a low-interest loan of up to 650 euros a month (until 30.09.22). But take care: from 2022 the interest-rate is around 4 %!
- you must be 18 – 44 years old and fall under one of the following categories:
- “German citizens with a domestic primary residence and their dependents (regardless of nationality) who are living with the German citizen, and are registered in Germany.
- EU citizens who have been lawfully residing in Germany on a permanent basis for at least three years, and are registered in Germany, and their dependents living with the EU citizen in Germany.
- So-called educational residents with a domestic primary residence who obtained a German Higher Education Entrance Qualification by graduating from a high-school in Germany or a German school abroad.”
- Repayment of the loan starts 6 to 23 months after the paying 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