BAföG, educational loans & support in emergencies

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BAföG - Federal Training Assistance Act

BAföG is the term for government-funded educational grants in Germany. Its target group are students who depend on financial support for their studies. Whether and how much BAföG is paid depends on the student’s needs; the student’s (and his or her family’s) income is the main factor. Also, applicants may not be older than 30 when they begin their studies. As a rule, BAföG is paid for the duration of the standard period of study. However, from time to time applicants must submit evidence that they are progressing in their studies.

BAföG is available to international students only in exceptional cases. The Studentenwerk (student services) Frankfurt (see below) can offer advice and help with the application. However, you should check first if you are eligible for BAFöG support according to the list below. The important section is § 8 BAföG; it determines who is eligible for BAföG support.

As a rule, international students who have a long-term right of residence in Germany or who have lived in Germany for a long time before taking up their studies may be able to receive BAföG support. Students from EU member states may also find it possible to receive funding this way.

Be advised that 50% of the BAföG is an interest-free loan given by the government and that 50% is a grant that does not have to be repaid. After the end of the maximum period of support and an idle period of 5 years, the loan must be repaid.

Further information on repayment
Information and advice regarding BAföG and application with the Studentenwerk Frankfurt (student services):

BAföG consultation hours Campus Bockenheim                 
Sozialzentrum, ground floor
Bockenheimer Landstraße 133
60325 Frankfurt

Monday-Thursday: 10:00-15:00


BAföG initial consultation Campus Westend
Theodor-W.-Adorno-Platz 5
60323 Frankfurt

Thursdays and Fridays: 9:00-15:00

Further helpful links for the topic “BAföG“:
>> Studis Online
>> BAföG Aktuell

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Support in financial emergencies

Emergency fund of the student communities

The protestant and catholic student communities have emergency funds for international students who, through no fault of their own, find themselves in a financial emergency. However, this does not allow long-term support.

If you need help, contact the university community directly:

ESG  Campus Westend          
Siolistraße 7
60323 Frankfurt/Main
Tel: 069 478 62 10 00
Fax: 069 478 62 10 17

KHG  Campus Westend
Siolistraße 7
60323 Frankfurt/Main
Contact: Iván Barbaric
Tel: 069 – 78 80 87-12

Support from the Studentenwerk (student services)

Under certain circumstances, students may receive support in the form of loan societies, aid or hardship fund. This requires detailed clarification in a personal interview. Low-income students may also apply for reimbursement of the RMV semester ticket if they do not necessarily use it.

>> Information about RMV reimbursement

Further information and advice:
Beratungszentrum, Campus Westend, Hörsaalzentrum EG,
Theodor-W. Adorno-Platz 5, 60629 Frankfurt am Main

Frankfurter Verein zur Förderung ausländischer Studierender in Not e.V.

This association supports international students during their time at the Studienkolleg (preparatory college) and in the initial phase of their studies. In exceptional cases this may continue for longer.

Contact and further information:
Internationales Studienzentrum/Studienkolleg,
Bockenheimer Landstr. 76
60323 Frankfurt/Main
Tel.: 069 798-25240, 798-25250, 798-34607

Educational and study loans

Under certain circumstances, educational loans may offer a quick solution for financially tricky situations. However, before taking out a loan you should consider carefully whether you might find alternative financial sources. Check the loan conditions carefully and use it to a small degree only, if possible.

Staatlicher Bildungskredit (government-funded educational loan)

The Bildungskredit, or educational loan, is a low-interest government-funded loan to support students as well as pupils in advanced stages of their education. This Bildungskredit is available to international students only within limits. The same conditions apply as for BAföG. In contrast to BAföG, however, the loan is granted irrespective of a student’s or his or her parents’ or spouse’s income.

The educational grant is paid monthly in advance in fixed instalments by the Kreditanstalt für Wiederaufbau (KfW, a government-owned development bank). Students can apply for monthly payments of €100, €200 or €300. Other options are possible. Within one educational phase, up to 24 monthly rates – i.e. a maximum of €7,200 – can be granted. Repayment of the educational loan begins 4 years after payment of the first instalment, in monthly instalments of €120. It is possible, however, to repay the loan earlier, in whole or in part. Comprehensive general information regarding the educational grant can be found here.

Further educational loans

In 2016, the Centre for Higher Education tested various student loan schemes in Germany. Go here to download the results. Unfortunately, of the tested loans only the loan “Deutsche Bildung“ is available to international students without reservation. Some of the other loans are available to a limited degree or conditional upon a guarantee. This means that someone must agree to repay your loan should you be unable to do so.