Germany/August 17, 2022/by Erudera News/Source: https://erudera.com/
For the first time in years, the number of people receiving financial assistance to attend training or education under the Federal Training Assistance Act (BAföG) has increased by a slight 0.4 percent, with 2,000 more people benefiting from it last year, compared to the previous year.
The increase has been reported by the Federal Statistical Office of Germany (Destatis), with the same pointing out that up until last year, the number of BAföG beneficiaries had been dropping every year, Erudera.com reports.
“In 2021, a total of 623,000 people received training assistance under the Federal Training Assistance Act (BAföG) in Germany, 155,000 of whom were pupils and 468,000 students. The number of students receiving assistance rose slightly by 2,000, or 0.4 percent, from the previous year,” notes a statement of Destatis issued on August 12.
According to the same, the average amount of assistance each student received last year each month was €579, while pupils received €504 each.
The increase in the number of BAföG beneficiaries has been commented on by the German Student Union – Deutsches Studentenwerk (DSW), which in a statement pointed out that in spite of the increase by €106 million in 2021, the average BAföG funding amount for students increased by only €5 per month.
According to the General Secretary of the Deutsches Studentenwerk, Matthias Anbuhl, though the free fall in the number of BAföG beneficiaries has slowed down, there’s still a lot to be done in order to reverse that trend.
“It is gratifying that, for the first time since 2012, there has been a slight increase in students receiving BAföG. This ends a long dry spell, at least for the time being. The trend reversal that was once targeted, with around 100,000 additional people being funded, is still a long way off,” Anbuhl says.
According to him, it is important that the federal government quickly applies its announced structural reform of BAföG.
In mid-April this year, Erudera.com reported that the German Federal Cabinet approved proposed reforms to the BAföG, by amongst others, increasing payments for beneficiaries by 20 percent. The government also intends to increase the age of those eligible for applying so that more people can benefit from the assistance.
Other foreseen changes are:
- increasing childcare payments and housing payments so that the maximum allowance amount would increase from €861 to €931
- increasing the age limit for the start of a master’s degree from 35 years to a uniform 45 years
- extending the possibility to waive residual debt after twenty years to all borrowers
Citing a BAföG report of the Federal Government, General Secretary Anbuhl claims that around 40 percent of all students have no chance of receiving BAföG no matter how poor they are, for reasons like having changed their study subject, having studied too long, or holding the wrong passport for BAföG.
He insists that the BAföG assistance has not been adapted to the development of life and study realities in Germany in the past decade, adding that a rapid increase in the amount allocated under this program is essential due to the immense price increases for food, electricity, and heating.