Receiving BAföG as a refugee?
In a meeting of our event format “tünews vor Ort” in Tübingen the topic of BAföG (federal educational support grant) was brought up. There were many questions regarding this topic in the context of refugees. At this moment, a lot of refugees have already applied for a university place. But they are not sure how to finance their education. Therefore, we met with Annette Unterseher, who works in the responsible BAföG-bureau in Reutlingen and asked our questions.
What are the necessary requirements in order to receive BAFöG?
Refugees wanting to apply for BAföG have to be officially entitled to asylum, have official refugee status according to the Geneva Convention or be eligible for subsidiary protection. It is important, to submit a residence permit. Everyone with a tolerment permit (Duldung) is only eligible for BAföG, if they have resided in Germany for at least 15 months. Applicants for asylum, whose application process has not yet been completed, are not eligible, because it is not yet clear, whether they will be allowed to stay in Germany.
Where can one receive further information?
At the Info-Point, Mensa, Tübingen, Wilhelmstraße 13, room 140c, opening hours during the semester Monday to Friday 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., Fridays 11 to 1. There, it is possible to ask general questions about BAföG, receive application forms or submit documents. Individual consultation is available at the BAföG-bureau (BAföG-Amt) in Reutlingen, Listplatz 1, opening hours: Tuesdays 1-2:30 p.m., Thursdays 9-11:30 a.m., E-Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org, tel.: 07121/680880.
What ought one to keep in mind?
In general one can receive a grant for alle Bachelor and Master courses, but not for two Bachelors. Is is important to submit the necessary documents. Only submitting the application form is not sufficient. There is also an age limit. Applicants must not be older than 35 years at the beginning of their Masters degree.
It is also important to submit documents regarding one’s parents’ income, if possible. They can be submitted via mail or E-Mail. This document can be translated by the applicant, an official translation is not necessary. They need not be the originals, copies are sufficient. If these documents cannot be provided, an explanation has to be submitted to the BAföG-bureau.
How long is the waiting period until one received BAföG?
After the full application is submitted, the waiting period for the summer term is usually 6 to 8 weeks and during the winter term 2 to 3 months, due to the large amount of applications.
How much is a monthly BAföG-grant?
This depends on whether one lives with their parents or by themselves. For everyone living with their parents, the maximum amount is 451€ per month. Otherwise, the maximum amount is 649€ per month. Additionally, another grant of 86€ per month can be received, if one is self-insured as a student. If the applicant has a child under the age of 10 living with them, an additional grant of 130€ per month is also possible. Income and capital of the applicant and the income of their spouse are deducted from this grant, after the exemption amount has been reached.
For how long can one receive BAföG?
The maximum period for receiving BAföG is dependant on the standard period of study mentioned in the examination regulations. Usually for a Bachelor degree this amounts to 6 terms and for a Masters 4 terms. But for medical degree for example, this would amount to 12,5 semesters.
Does one have to pay up a BAföG-grant?
This grant is to be payed up – by refugees and non-refugees as well – by one half being a credit of the German state free of interest and the other half being a grant repay. The credit has to be payed up later on, but its maximum amount is 10,000€.
Is it possible to change the institution while receiving BAföG?
Yes, this is possible. One can continue to receive BAföG for the standard study period. But one must keep one thing in mind when changing institutions: The order of courses oftentimes varies between institutions and one has to provide a record of the courses attended in the fifth term. Thus, it is possible that a record is not accepted, due to the order of courses being different. One has to consult the bureau beforehand in order to prevent his. If such a record can not be attained, a sufficient reason has to be provided – a severe sickness for example. A change of institutions is in and of itself not a sufficient reason. Therefore, changing institutions during the first or second semester is recommended, if necessary. Thus one is more likely to receive a record in time.
Is it possible to change one’s subject?
In general this is possible, especially during the first two terms. Beginning with the third term, a sufficient reason is to be provided. A student’s inability to . Beginning with the fourth term, this ceases to be possible.
Can one work and earn money while receiving BAföG?
If one wants to work, generally speaking this is permitted up to an amount of 450€ per month. Working less during the semester and working more beforehand or afterwards is possible. But the studies have to form the main focus of the applicant. If the bureau decides, that the applicant does not have sufficient time for studying, this can compromise their claim for BAföG. When married, this amount changes to 570€ per month. Owning capital, there is an exemption amount for the money earned (during one year) of 7500€ when single and 9600€ when married.
What is the standard period of payment?
Usually the grant is payed for one year. When receiving the BAföG-notification, is it recommended to keep the mentioned date of expiration in mind, in order to submit a new application, preferably two months beforehand. If the process takes more time, the past-due payments will be done after completion. Having a child under the age of 10, one can apply for longer periods as well.