What are the opportunities for agricultural students

Immediate aid for students - what are the options?

Corona special fund

Many universities and colleges have set up their own corona special funds. These are explicitly for students in need who cannot make a living due to the current situation.
Information and applications can be found directly on the websites of the respective universities, colleges or employment agencies.

For example, the Kölner Studierendenwerk offers its students a one-time, interest-free loan of a maximum of EUR 800.00.
However, it must be proven that the financial hardship was caused by the Corona crisis (e.g. job loss). The repayment takes place after 6 months from the loan disbursement.

BAföG

Due to the current exceptional situation, the Federal Ministry of Education and Research has made a change for BAföG recipients. The imputation rules for BAföG-sponsored persons who are involved in fighting pandemics and who earn their money working against the pandemic (e.g. medical assistants) have changed. The Federal Ministry of Education and Research writes:

In any case, income averaging up to 450 euros (gross) per month is not offset against BAföG. Anyone who did not have another job before starting their commitment to fighting pandemics can now earn up to 12 x 450 euros, i.e. a total of 5400 euros (gross) and still receive BAföG - during the pandemic and afterwards - unchanged. If more is earned and this more comes from an activity to combat pandemics in the health service, in social institutions or in agriculture, then the amount that exceeds 450 euros gross per month is only credited to the BAföG during the periods of pandemic-related additional earnings.

The new regulation applies retrospectively since March 1st, 2020 for all activities in the health sector, in social institutions or in agriculture. In addition, it is advisable to update the income of the BAföG application if necessary. If your parents or life partners earn less money due to the pandemic (e.g. through short-time work), many students may have a higher BAföG entitlement.
You can find the corresponding form here.

Interest-free KfW student loan

The Federal Ministry of Education has initiated bridging aid for students. This is an interest-free loan from the Kreditanstalt für Wiederaufbau (KfW). The basis for this is the longstanding KfW student loan. The interest (up to a specified period of time) is paid by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research.

When submitting the application, a distinction is made between whether you already have an ongoing KfW student loan or are a first-time applicant.

If you have not yet applied for a KfW student loan, the following requirements apply:

  • Interest rate of 0.0% applies to all disbursements from the loan until March 31, 2021
  • Funding amount: up to EUR 650.00 per month
  • From April 1st, 2021, the regular interest rate must be paid. This is fixed for 6 months.
  • All other conditions remain unchanged

Special regulation for foreign students from June 1st, 2020:

  • Students from abroad can also apply for the KfW student loan from June 1st, 2020
  • Prerequisite for this: you have to be registered at a German address
  • The first loan payment will be made from the following month (e.g. 07/01/2020)
  • The extension to all foreign students is limited to March 31, 2021

If a KfW student loan has already been applied for, the following requirements apply:

  • The current loan is automatically converted, a change or application is not necessary
  • From May 1st, 2020, the interest-free payments will apply. The first full payment without interest deduction will be made on June 1st, 2020
  • Have you set a deferred interest rate? Then the full payment amount will be transferred. No interest will be charged for the period from May 1st, 2020 to March 31st, 2021
  • Funding amount: up to EUR 650.00 per month
  • From April 1st, 2021, the regular interest rate must be paid. This is fixed for 6 months

The loan is certainly a useful way to compensate for short-term financial bottlenecks. Especially if other financial resources cannot currently be used. Parents cannot contribute anything, as they may find themselves in bottlenecks or nothing can be earned through their own part-time job. Nevertheless, this is a loan that has to be paid back sooner or later.

Conclusion

All in all, the current federal aid for students is still very disappointing. There is currently no general emergency aid for all students in need. It remains to be seen whether and when there will be such a rescue package here!