Around 2,000 more students in Germany have benefited from the Federal Training Assistance Act (BAföG) in 2021 compared to the previous year, thus marking the first increase in the number of beneficiaries for the first time since 2012.
According to Erudera.com, the increase is moderate, at only 0.4 per cent.
“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 per cent, from the previous year. Before, their number had decreased every year since 2012,” Erduera.com cites a report of the German statistical office (Destatis).
The increase in the number of students benefiting from BAföG is a priority for the German Ministry of Education and Research, which in a bid to increase this number, proposed reforms to the scheme in April this year.
The Ministry had proposed several changes to BAföG, including here increasing the maximum monthly allowance from €861 to €931 and the age limit for the start of a master’s degree from 35 to 45 years in the future. The changes will be effective at the start of the 2022/2023 winter semester.
Commenting on the increase marked in the number of students benefiting from this allowance, the German Student Union – Deutsches Studentenwerk (DSW) claims that if Destatis had included the number of vocational students, it would have turned out that the number of those receiving funding has fallen by three per cent.
“For the first time since 2012, the number of students receiving BAföG funding rose slightly by 0.4 per cent in 2021. If you add the (vocational) students, the number of those receiving funding has fallen by three per cent. The number of students receiving BAföG fell by ten per cent in 2021,” DSW notes in a statement issued following Destatis’ reports on the increase.
According to DSW, one of the reasons behind the increase is the fact that state-approved educators switched from BAföG to ascended BAföG (AFBG) due to a change in the law, and thus also affected the change in numbers.
The same further states that while the BAföG funds for students increased by €106 million in 2021, the average BAföG funding amount per-student increased by only €5 more per month.
The DSW calls on the German government to apply the approved changes to the BAföG as soon as possible, in particular, due to the inflation which has caused the increase in prices for food, electricity, and heating.