Avoid mistakes – Here’s how to get funding: Basic knowledge of Bafög

Berlin (dpa / tmn) – Baf-ö-g: The five letters represent the somewhat bulky word “Federal Education Promotion Act”. According to this, the state financially supports not only students, but also schoolchildren month after month under certain conditions.

There is a lot to do before the money ends up in the account. Answers to important questions:

What are the current Bafög rates?

Students can benefit from aid of up to 853 euros per month. According to the Federal Ministry of Education, the maximum amount will be 861 euros from the fall of 2020. This includes the basic requirements, the need for accommodation with accommodation outside the house and the surcharge health insurance. For pupils, the maximum amount of the Bafög at the start of the school year goes from 825 to 832 euros.

In which cases is the Bafög granted?

Whether and to what extent the Bafög is granted depends, among other things, on the parents’ income. Some people don’t get funding because, for example, parents make a lot of money. There are different income allowances.

Student income and assets can also play a role. For example, the student’s income during the approval period – typically twelve months with two semesters – should not exceed EUR 5,421.

The student must also not have assets exceeding 7,500 euros (from autumn 2020: 8,200 euros). If you are married, live in a registered civil partnership or have children, the land allowance increases by 2,100 euros (from autumn 2020: 2,300 euros) per person. If the assets are larger, the excess is divided by the number of calendar months in the approval period. The Bafög office allocates the result to the monthly needs.

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How do I know if I am eligible and where can I find help?

The easiest way to do this is online, for example using the Student Union’s online student loan calculator. Help is available from the Student Services Office at the relevant university. It can be found, for example, through online search on the website of the German Students’ Union.

What are the pitfalls when filling out the Bafög app?

The filling is not entirely without it, it takes a little effort. Important before completing: students should inquire, for example, at the Bafög office, what documents they need for the application. For example, it depends on the parents’ tax notices from the previous year.

Many applications are incomplete, says Stefan Grob of the German student union. Since clerks must request documents from students, processing takes longer. Therefore: “Make sure you submit the request in a complete and legible manner,” advises Grob.

Applicants should not leave blank fields on the forms. Ideally, they fill out the application form. The advantage: the entries are checked directly for plausibility and errors. Anyone who is unsure of either information should ask.

From the winter semester 2020/21, the application is expected to become more user-friendly overall with new forms and improvements to the electronic application.

When should you apply?

Bafög is only available from the month of application. For processing and approval, however, all evidence must be available, such as the corresponding student certificate. No BAföG can be granted for previous months.

When should I update the app?

In order for the Bafög to circulate without interruption, the new Bafög application must be submitted at least two months before the expiration of the approval period. Those interested in studying abroad should apply if possible six months before their stay abroad – the registration certificate from the foreign university can be submitted later.

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What applies to Bafög during the time of Corona?

In the corona crisis, the parents of Bafög beneficiaries sometimes lose their jobs or work reduced time. As a result, they may be able to provide little or no maintenance to their child. In such cases, a so-called Bafög update request is possible. Bafög’s office then uses the parents’ current income – not that of the penultimate calendar year.

Can I withdraw a request?

“Yes, you can,” said Grob. Simply inform the BAföG office where you made the request in writing that you are withdrawing the request.

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