In June, the Federal Government of Germany approved the Coronavirus emergency aid through which the country has been offering financial support to students affected by COVID-19 pandemic.
The emergency aid package includes €100 million allocated to help students overcome the financial difficulties triggered by Coronavirus pandemic. However, only €60 million have been paid up until now, the General Secretary of German Student Union (DSW), Achim Meyer auf der Heyde announced on Friday, in Berlin.
The applications of students for the emergency aid are processed by the “Studentenwerk” organization. Up to now, 135,000 applications have been accepted, while 80,000 others have been rejected, which has led to many students’ discontent.
“We were able to help students in their pandemic-related emergency. Unfortunately, they couldn’t support everyone. In more than half of the rejected applications, the people affected were in an emergency, but this was not due to the pandemic. These students are in a permanently precarious emergency,” Meyer auf der Heyde said.
Previously, Meyer auf der Heyde stated that most applications across Germany were rejected due to lack of evidence that students are in an emergency but added that the lack of proof does not mean that they were not in an emergency. According to him, students’ financial difficulties were present even before the Coronavirus pandemic. Therefore he urged for structural reforms regarding funds for the affected students as soon as possible.
The amount of €100 million provided by the Federal Ministry of Research as an emergency aid which is set to be given to students, is not required to be repaid. However, these funds have been granted only to people who were able to prove that they are in an emergency, by providing evidence which shows that the person did not receive any salaries in the recent months.
The financial support has been planned to be allocated in June, July, August and September. Under this fund, the country will pay those in need a maximum of 500 euros a month. For September, the applications can be submitted until the end of the month.
Earlier in July, the student union processed around 65,000 applications, from which 32,500 were approved, and 26,000 others rejected. Regarding the rejections, the representatives of students from certain federal states complained of formal errors in the implementation of the Coronavirus emergency aid.
Germany is not the only country providing financial support to its students. The University of Windsor in Canada has also decided to offer an amount of $700,000 to assist international students who have been affected financially by COVID-19.