FAQ on student financing in times of the Corona crises

Many students have approached us with all kinds of questions about financing their studies. The Corona crisis poses great challenges for us all. We have collected and answered the most frequently asked questions on this page.

The FAQs are updated regularly. Some questions that have already been submitted require a longer examination of the current legislation. We ask for your understanding and patience.

Further questions can also be submitted continuously and sent to kommunikation[at]stw-greifswald.de. The communication office will then involve the responsible staff* in the individual departments to answer them. Of course, all those affected can also contact the responsible employees directly.

What is the BMBF bridging allowance and who can receive it?

The Federal Ministry of Education (BMBF) has created a bridging aid for students in pandemic emergency situations. Throughout Germany, 100 million euros will be distributed as a grant through the Studierendenwerke in June, July and August. Applications can only be submitted online via a central application platform. Between 100 and 500 euros will be paid out depending on the balance on the account.

Students who are studying at a German state or state-recognised university and can prove that they have got into financial difficulties due to the Corona pandemic are eligible for the bridging allowance.

We have compiled all information, the direct link to the application form and a separate FAQ on one page.

>>>Bridging allowance<<<

I have got into a financial emergency due to the Corona pandemic and need financial support. Are there funds for grants that do not have to be repaid?

The Studierendenwerk Greifswald has created its own emergency aid fund at the end of April. This consists of 10,000 € of its own resources and donations from the universities and a number of private individuals. After a monthly application and a means test, 200.00 € of subsidies are awarded each month.

All information, application forms and contact details for social counselling can be found >>here<<.

I wanted to start studying at a university in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern in the summer semester 2020 (regular start of the semester 01.03.2020 or 01.04.2020). But now the lectures start on April 20 at the earliest. From when do I have a BAföG claim?

Regardless of the semester postponement for first semesters at the universities of Neubrandenburg and Stralsund, BAföG entitlement begins in March, at the University of Greifswald in April. However, a timely application is required. BAföG is granted at the earliest from the date of application. First semester students in Stralsund and Neubrandenburg can still apply for BAföG until the end of March in order to receive BAföG retroactively for this month, first semester students in Greifswald until the end of April 2020.

Please note: If the university provides an online course offer in order to maintain the training company in this way, there is a legal obligation under BAföG law to participate in this online course offer in order to continue to receive the respective BAföG benefits. Therefore, please inform yourself regularly about the channels of the universities and make sure to check your e-mails regularly in order not to miss a possible start of online teaching in your department!

I'm already in college. My semester break is extended. Do I have a BAföG claim?

Yes, BAföG entitlement also includes the official lecture-free period, no matter how long it is fixed (§ 15 Abs. 2 BAföG).

Please note that if the university provides an online course in order to maintain the training company in this way, then BAföG law requires that you participate in this online course in order to continue to receive the respective BAföG benefits.

Will the BAföG payments arrive in time?

The staff of the BAföG Office are making every effort to process all BAföG applications on time and enter them into the calculation program, as before, despite the corona crisis. In order to ensure that this continues to be possible and that no one falls ill, we do not currently have personal consultation hours. Once the data have been entered into the calculation programme, there will be no delays in payment by the State M-V. 

Is the BAföG office still reachable?

The BAföG Office is currently available in writing, by phone and e-mail. A personal visit is currently not possible. Please use the communication channels post, telephone and e-mail. We are gladly available for you!

You can find your contact person here.

I'm in the 5th semester of the summer semester and I have to present my BAföG performance record. Due to university closures, examinations have been cancelled. What can I do?

If you are unable to present the proof of performance at the beginning of the 5th semester due to cancelled exams or other effects of the university closure, please submit an informal application for an extension and give a brief but concrete reason why there has been a delay. If possible, please enclose suitable documents with your application to substantiate the delay (e.g. rejection of the examination, confirmation of the delay by the university, printouts from the Grading Information System, etc.). If you do not have any documents, please name your contact person at the university or examination office.

I am in my last semester and will not be able to finish my studies within the standard period of study because examinations have been cancelled due to university closures. What can I do?

If you are unable to complete your studies on time due to missed examinations or other effects of the university closure, please submit an informal application for an extension and give a brief but concrete explanation of why there has been a delay. If possible, please enclose suitable documents with your application to substantiate the delay (e.g. rejection of examinations, confirmation of the delay by the university, printouts from the Grading Information System, etc.). If you do not have any documents, please name your contact person at the university or examination office.

What does the federal government, which finances BAföG, say about the current crisis and the effects on BAföG?

Federal Minister of Education Anja Karliczek stated on 13.3.2020: "If schools or universities are closed due to the pandemic and therefore lessons or lectures have to be cancelled, BAföG will continue to be paid. Those receiving BAföG should not suffer any disadvantages due to the corona pandemic. This is important to me."

Here you can find the full text of the press release as well as the video with the complete statement by Federal Minister of Education Anja Karliczek.

What can I do if my parents are currently earning less money due to the Corona crisis, e.g. because they have less income as self-employed or have been dismissed as employees or put on short-time work?

In this case, an application can be made for the affected parent to update their income. The corresponding BAföG Form 7 can be downloaded from our homepage. A declaration and proof of income during the approval period are required. If the approval period covers the years 2019 and 2020, an income forecast for both years and proof of income (e.g. previous salary statement and new, lower salary statement) are required. If the BAföG office approves the update, a decision is issued, which is initially subject to recovery. When the parents' income tax assessment notices for 2019 and 2020 are available in the future, the income is finally calculated based on them. This may later lead to the reclaiming or subsequent payment of support payments. The aim of the update procedure is to secure education funding for the time being, even if no or no valid tax assessment notices have been received.

I have lost my student part-time job, which I had stated in my BAföG application. My previous BAföG assessment will take income into account. However, I no longer earn anything.

Please inform the BAföG office in writing or by e-mail that you have lost your job and from when on this was the case. Enclose the last pay slip, if you have one. The BAföG-Office will recalculate your income and, depending on the amount of your new total income during the period of the grant, will then make additional payments.

I would like to work at the Corona-Testing-Centre in the current emergency situation or support the university hospital in another way. I have concerns because the money I earn will be credited towards BAföG benefits. Does BAföG cease to apply if I earn more than 450.00 € per month?

As an employee, you can continue to earn € 450.00 per month without crediting or € 5400.00 in the 12-month approval period. BAföG is not cancelled if you earn more, but only reduced.

Depending on how the employment relationship is structured, it may also be that parts of the income remain uncredited because a lump sum for voluntary work or a training supervisor's allowance is deducted or because a special purpose is opposed to the crediting. This depends on the employment contract and the tax classification.

If you are doing work to overcome the Corona crisis, your earnings will, contrary to the previous regulations, only be credited to the months of work. Please have your employer certify that you are doing the work within the scope of the Corona crisis and attach the certificate to the salary statements to be submitted later. In addition, please have your employer check whether any part of your salary may be paid out free of income tax under Section 3 of the Income Tax Act (Einkommensteuergesetz) (e.g. as an expense allowance or similar). Tax-free income is not credited against BAföG if this is evident from the salary statements or otherwise.

The new regulation applies to an activity started during the corona pandemic in or for a health facility or other social institution to support the fight against the pandemic and its social consequences or in agriculture

The new regulation means the following: Previously, it was not possible, for example, to exclude holiday work in the months of June to August in the amount of € 2,000.00 each and not have it credited against BAföG. Instead, the previous legal regulation provides that the income of these months from June to August is distributed evenly over all months of the current grant period and reduces the subsidy even for expired months. As a rule, there was a reclaim for all months of the grant period. The new corona rule allows income to be excluded from the grant period. It is then only credited against BAföG for the months of corona activity.

You can find the new regulation of the Federal Ministry of Education here.

Please bear in mind that you are in any case financially better off than without the work (e.g. also because you take out fewer BAföG loans) and also make an important contribution to society.

My approval period ends in February or March 2020. Do I have to submit a new application despite the Corona crisis?

Yes, because funding is only available from the time the application is submitted. You should therefore submit a BAföG application in March (Stralsund and Neubrandenburg University of Applied Sciences) or April (Greifswald University) at the latest. You can apply online or in writing. To meet the deadline, an informal application with signature is sufficient. You can find the complete application here

How long your period of approval will run can be seen from your last BAföG decision. If your period of eligibility does not end until August or September, you can take some more time to submit your application. In this case, we recommend that you submit a follow-up application in June.

 

I heard that the KfW loan is now interest-free. Is that true?

As one of the measures to support students during the Corona pandemic, the Federal Ministry of Education has slightly changed the guidelines of the already existing KfW loan. This also includes a so-called interest rate reduction. However, this is limited in time and only applies to loans in the disbursement phase from 01.05.2019 to 31.03.2021. During this period the debit interest rate is set at 0.0%. Please note: After that, however, the contractually agreed loan interest rate will apply again and interest will be due again.

Who can draw on the KfW loan during the Corona pandemic?

The group of those eligible for funding will be temporarily extended to include foreign students until 31.03.2021, provided that you are studying at a state or state-recognised higher education institution in Germany and have a registered address in Germany. In addition, all applicants must have a SEPA account connection. If the above-mentioned requirements are met, foreign students can apply from 01.06.2020, with financing beginning on 01.07.2020. Non-German applicants (e.g., Bildungsinländer) will no longer need to submit the form for non-German applicants as early as May 15, 2020. The latest application deadline for all newly arrived foreign students (e.g. foreign students with a German education) is 15.02.2021, with the start of funding on 01.03.2021.

How can I submit my certificates to the Studierendenwerk as a distribution partner of the KfW Bank?

Normally, students present their evidence during the personal KfW consultation hours of the Studierendenwerk, so that the confirmation of the submitted evidence can be made directly in the system. The deadline for the submission of evidence is 15.04.2020.
In the current situation the KfW-Bank allows the collection of the evidence by electronic means.
Please submit the following documents by e-mail to schmittendorf[at]stw-greifswald.de by 15.04.2020:
- Proof protocol page 2
- Study certificate summer semester 2020
- Valid identification document (identity card or passport)

What happens if I have to submit proof of performance for the KfW loan and important examinations for this have not taken place due to the semester shift?

For the KfW Loan, the proof of performance must be submitted after the end of the 6th semester. This means that most students do not have to submit this proof until the winter semester. If, in individual cases, there are still difficulties with regard to proof of performance due to the corona crisis, it is best to contact the KfW Bank directly.

 

Due to the current Corona crisis I lost my part-time job for a short time and now I don't have enough income to make a living. What can I do?

Students who are in a temporary financial emergency can apply for a short-term loan from the Studierendenwerk. The loan is interest-free and can only be applied for according to the available funds. In case of insolvency in a financial emergency, a maximum of 800 € per semester can be made available. The application procedure has been kept as short and uncomplicated as possible so that the money can be on the account within 14 days. More information on short-term loans can be found here.Please contact the social counselling service of the Studierendenwerk for advice and application (beratung[at]stw-greifswald.de).

If the short-term loan is not an option for you, it could be that you could have a part-time job at the moment, especially in the food industry. The current situation means that supermarkets are very busy and could certainly use additional help. Please do not hesitate to ask. This will improve your financial situation and at the same time you can help society. The prerequisite for this is, of course, that you yourself are physically healthy and have no previous illnesses that make you a risk person.

I have a mini-job in a company that was closed down by the public health department due to the infection control act. Am I entitled to my salary?

In this case, compensation will be paid by the relevant state health authority. This means that affected employees (including mini-jobbers) continue to receive their earnings for six weeks from their employer, who is then reimbursed for these costs. This also applies if the employer's business continues, but the mini-jobber (employee) has been quarantined by the health authority (e.g. due to contact with an infected person) or has fallen ill with the coronavirus himself.
(Source: Minijob Zentrale)

You can also find an overview of jobbing during studies and possible effects of the Corona crisis online at the DGB.