In the past few months, the state has paid a total of around 60 million euros in so-called "uberbruckungshilfen" to students who have got into financial difficulties because of corona.
This figure was announced by the federal ministry of education and the deutsche studentenwerk (DSW) on friday. 135.000 applications for emergency assistance have been approved, 80.000 rejected. The funds can still be applied for until the end of the month. The aid was limited to the months of june, july, august and september.
"This made it possible to help many students who had lost their student jobs as a result of the pandemic or whose family support could no longer be provided," announced state research secretary michael meister (CDU). Two-thirds of the students were supported with the maximum amount of 500 euros. It remains unclear how many students have actually claimed the aid, as it had to be applied for again every month and many of those affected were allowed to apply several times accordingly.
In the corona crisis, the ministry had set up two offers of help for students in need: a total of 100 million euros, which does not have to be repaid, is available for bridging assistance. It is intended for those who can prove with account statements that they are in a hardship, for example because regular payments from jobs have not been received. There are 100 to a maximum of 500 euros per month. The second problem is the k-study loan, which existed even before the crisis, but which has now been interest-free since may until march 2021. According to the ministry, since the interest exemption, it has been used much more frequently.
The economic situation has meanwhile eased again, which is also improving the employment situation for students, said meister. "This has led to a decrease in the number of applications or in the number of cases in which the pandemic emergency can be proven at the time of application." The uberbruckungshilfe, which was limited from the beginning, has thus fulfilled its purpose.
"We were able to help students in their pandemic predicament," said achim meyer auf der heyde, the secretary general of the deutsche studentenwerk (DSW). The student affairs departments are responsible for processing the applications. Unfortunately, not all of them could be supported. In more than half of the rejected applications, the applicants were in need, but this was not due to the pandemic. "These students are in a permanently precarious situation."There was a structural poverty that was already virulent before the pandemic. Meyer auf der heyde called for "urgent structural reform of student funding" for those affected.
The education policy spokesman for the SPD parliamentary group, oliver kaczmarek, criticized the decision to allow emergency aid to expire. In times of rising infection rates and general warnings of a second wave of infections, this decision by education minister anja karliczek (CDU) is surprising. "It sends a worrying signal in these times."