BAföG, Educational Loans & Support in Emergencies

BAföG - Federal Training Assistance Act

BAföG is the term for government-funded educational grants in Germany. It targets students who depend on financial support for their studies.

BAföG is available to international students only in exceptional cases. The Studentenwerk (student services) Frankfurt can offer advice and help with the application. 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.

Whether and how much BAföG is paid depends on the student's needs; the student's (and their 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.

Please note that 50% of BAföG have to be repaid after the end of the maximum period of support (5 years) and an idle period of 5 years. If your income is very low at the time you are obliged to repay the loan, you may request a later start of repayment.

Information, advice on BAföG and application is available at the Studentenwerk Frankfurt

Support in Financial Emergencies

Emergency Fund of the Student Communities

The student communities have emergency funds for international students who, through no fault of their own, find themselves in a financial emergency. If you really are unable to pay the rent for the next month, or the fees for the next semester, you may be eligible for short-term financial support from the catholic student community (Katholische Hochschulgemeinde, KHG) or the protestant student community (Evangelische Studentengemeinde, ESG). Long-term support is not available. If you need support, contact the student community in question

Support is granted regardless of your religion. The ESG mainly supports students from developing and emerging countries. If you are in need of financial support please turn to either of the student communities in personally.

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: Bianca Mondello
Tel: 069 – 78 80 87-12

Studentenwerk (Student Services)

Under certain circumstances, students may receive financial emergency support in form of a loan by the Studentenwerk. This requires detailed clarification in a personal interview.

Low-income students may also apply for reimbursement of the semester ticket if they do not necessarily use it. 

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, with examination scholarships, help with their rent and other loans in personal emergencies.

Contact and further information:
Internationales Studienzentrum – Studienkolleg der Goethe-Universität Frankfurt
Bockenheimer Landstraße 76
60323 Frankfurt am Main
Tel.: 069 / 798 25 240/250

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. You will have to repay the loan after some time with additional interest.

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.

Further Educational Loans

Every year the Centre for Higher Education tests various student loan schemes in Germany and offers a good overview.

Unfortunately, not all of those loans are available to international students without reservation. Common access criteria are:

  • Very good knowledge of German
  • Bildungsinländer*in nach §8 BAföG
  • Loan only available to master's students
  • With guarantee only (someone else must agree to repay your loan in case you should be unable to do so)

Tip: Look for loans that fit your profile and check with them whether you are eligible for a loan. Some of them (e.g. “Deutsche Bildung") will check every application individually and might consider lower criteria in individual cases, so EU- and non-EU-students might be considered as well.

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