What does BAföG actually mean?
This important question should of course be clarified first. The often heard abbreviation BAföG stands for BundesAusbildungsförderungsGesetz and regulates the state funding of school and vocational training. For students, BAföG consists of half an interest-free loan and half a grant. In other words, you get one half as a gift, while the other half must be repaid without interest, usually five years after graduation. The grant amount is paid in monthly installments, usually until the end of the standard period of study.
The maximum monthly grant is currently €633 for students who live with their parents and €934 for students who no longer live with their parents. The amount of the monthly grant is largely determined by the income of the parents or spouse. The calculation is always based on the income of the year before last.
BAföG funding is available to the following groups of people:
Students who are German or EU citizens and have a residence in Germany.
International students with a German parent or spouse:in or those who have been recognized as persons entitled to asylum, admitted refugees or homeless persons.
International students receive BAföG funding if they themselves have been employed in Germany for five years or one of their parents has been employed in Germany for three years prior to the start of their education.
In order to receive support, students must begin their studies before the age of 30. There are some exceptions to this rule.
In order to receive BAföG funding, you must submit an application to the responsible student union - in your case to:
The first step is to obtain the application forms, which are essential for a complete application. You can get them at the following places at the university:
S1|03-62 - AStA Office
L4|01 - Mensa Lichtwiese - Student Financing Servicepoint
In addition, it is now also possible to submit the application online. Further information can be found on the Studierendenwerk website.
BAföG funding is granted from the month in which the application is received by the Studierendenwerk, but at the earliest from the month in which the studies begin. Retroactive applications cannot be submitted. The application is already considered to have been submitted when you inform the Studierendenwerk of your application in an informal letter. It is therefore possible to submit the BAföG application in several parts.
You will not see any money until the application has been processed by the Studierendenwerk. Processing will not begin until the application has been submitted completely with all required documents and receipts. The processing itself takes between six and eight weeks due to the high number of applications. Only then is the payment made, but it is retroactive to the month of application, so submit the BAföG application as early as possible completely to significantly reduce the occurrence of financial bottlenecks.
During the funding …
The maximum period of support is the standard period of study of your degree program, but after a successful application, the support is not granted all at once for the entire period.
All successful applicants will receive a funding award letter.
This document specifies the monthly grant amount and the grant period during which you will receive the specified amount.
The grant period never exceeds the duration of one year.
This means that you have to apply for the continuation of the grant every year.
During BAföG funding, there are also some obligations to provide proof, among other things, all changes in the financial situation must be communicated to the office in writing without being asked.
This means that if the rental costs change or if more money is earned while working, this must be communicated immediately and usually proven with suitable documents.
Failure to comply with this obligation can result in unpleasant demands for repayment and, in the worst case, criminal charges. In addition to this obligation, depending on the semester, you must already have collected a certain number of credit points in order to be approved for funding under BAföG. In the bachelor’s degree, a certificate of achievement must usually be submitted after the fourth semester.
At the Department of etit, this is obtained if you have achieved at least 90 credit points after four semesters (standard period of study would be 120 CP).
Change of study program
First-year students often discover that their chosen course of study does not meet their personal expectations or simply feel overwhelmed. A change of subject during the BAföG funding is possible, but is seen by the BAföG office only reluctantly. For a clearer understanding, here are some definitions: A change of subject is only considered to be a change of subject if the period of study is extended by the change to another course of study. If you can take over CPs/achievements into the new course of studies, the BAföG office only considers this to be a so-called shift of emphasis. In such cases, the change of study program is usually possible without any problems. If there is a change of major, this is only possible if there is an important or irrefutable reason, for example a fundamental change of inclination. An irrefutable reason exists, for example, in the case of illness or injury that makes it impossible to continue studying. It should be noted that an important reason is only recognized up to the beginning of the fourth semester. Only unavoidable reasons will be recognized after this period. Since the terms “important and unavoidable reason” are very flexible, you should always exercise caution when changing your major and not act hastily. In order to obtain legal protection, an application for a preliminary decision on the recognition of the reasons for the change can be submitted to the BAföG office. This decision is legally binding for the BAföG office and cannot be subsequently revised. Further info at: https://www.xn--bafg-7qa.de/de/ausbildungsabbruch-und-fachrichtungswechsel-195.php.
For information on BAföG abroad it is best to contact the AStA, as this would go beyond the scope of this booklet.
Assets and jobbing
When you apply for the scholarship, your own assets amounting to 15000€ will not be taken into account. This amount is increased by own children by 2300€ per person. Assets include the ownership of land, real estate, securities, bank and cash assets, etc. (the complete list can be found in the application form). If the assets exceed the above-mentioned limit, the assets must first be consumed before a subsidy can be granted.
Jobbing is definitely allowed, but the earnings must not exceed a limit of currently 520€ (gross) per month. That makes 6240€ in the year. Also in this case, the tax-free amount is increased by children and spouses. If, however, too much is earned, the earnings will be offset against the current subsidy amount and this will be reduced accordingly.
Finally, it should be noted that you should stick to the truth when declaring your assets and income values, since the BAföG office also has insight into the number and movements of your accounts. The tactic of emptying your account shortly before applying for BAföG does not usually work unless you can prove a compelling need for the massive expenditure. If you are caught, all benefits must first be refunded in any case. If intent is suspected, there is the threat of criminal proceedings for social fraud. However, it is best not to let it get that far.
As mentioned at the beginning of this article, half of BAföG funding is just an interest-free loan and must be repaid five years after graduation. But fear not. The repayment is regulated in such a way that it does not become a major financial burden.
About the procedure: Approximately four years after completing your studies, you will receive a so-called assessment and repayment notice from the Federal Office of Administration. This letter specifies the monthly installments in which the loan must be repaid. There are a few things to keep in mind here:
Half of the BAföG funding received during the standard period of study must be repaid. However, the loan debt is limited to a maximum of 10,000€.
You must always inform the Federal Office of Administration of your current address so that they can ask you to repay in due course!
Repayment begins five years after the end of the maximum funding period (in the case of Bachelor’s/Master’s degrees, in relation to the Bachelor’s degree! Bachelor!). The repayment will be made in quarterly installments of at least 390€.
If you have a low income, the repayment obligation can be deferred for one year at a time upon request.
If you pay the debt in larger amounts or in one go, you will be granted a discount on the (remaining) debt upon application.
Last but not least, it should be pointed out once again that the higher education landscape is in a state of permanent upheaval. The regulations listed in this article could already be outdated after one year. Therefore, you should always stay on the ball and regularly inform yourself about the latest developments. Orient yourself in as many directions as possible when it comes to financing your studies. Relying solely on BAföG funding would be extremely unsafe.
The topic BAföG is quite complex and can only be touched upon in this booklet. The article is intended to give you a rough insight into the procedure, but makes no claim to correctness or completeness. The BAföG includes many exceptions and is constantly changing. Therefore, we strongly recommend that you take advantage of the TU’s counseling services.
at the TU:
Alarich-Weiss-Str. 3, Darmstadt, Building: L4|01 (TUDA Lichtwiese cafeteria building).
- Since the opening hours sometimes change monthly, please inform yourself on the pages of the Studierendenwerk(https://u.fs-etit.de/geld).
- (Please be sure to mention the course of study or intended course of study and the educational institution in the e-mail!)
AStA office, Hochschulstraße 1, Darmstadt, building S1|03 in room 65 (old main building).
- Current dates unfortunately not yet available.