The German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) has decided to extend at least half a year the COVID-19 student emergency aid, which provides up to €500 per month to students in the country who have been financially affected by the pandemic.
The so-called bridging aid excludes students who have already dropped out of education in Germany, whereas those applying for the aid must prove they are in an emergency situation with a bank statement, Erudera College News reports.
The aid was expected to be delivered by the end of March 2021. Nevertheless, the Federal Minister of Education, Anja Karliczek (CDU), decided to extend it until the end of the summer semester of 2021, Karliczek’s State Secretary, Wolf-Dieter Lukas, announced through a letter sent to the German Student Union (DSW).
Lukas told the DSW General Secretary Achim Meyer Auf der Heyde that the Federal government asked Bundestag to assess whether the pandemic could continue to cause national consequences, claiming that students have been suffering most of the consequences due to pandemic.
“Not only in terms of virtual teaching and contact restrictions but also, in particular, in terms of additional income,” he said.
He further mentioned that the number of mini-jobs among 20-25-year-olds in Germany dropped by 120,000 in the fourth quarter, which correlates to a decrease of 17.7 per cent compared to a year earlier.
Wolf-Dieter Lukas also pointed out that it is very important for students who are in need amid these tough times to gain a perspective and not give up on education due to financial reasons.
A couple of days ago, minister Karliczek said that the BMBF would continue to carefully monitor the situation and come up at an appropriate time with a decision over aid’s continuation or not.
The ministry required the German Student Union (DSW), which comprises 57 student services organizations, to deliver the aid backed from the ministry without pauses between semesters.
Before the decision to extend the aid in November, the student unions voiced concerns over the adjustments and managed to gain some benefits as the Education Minister announced that the KfW student loan would be made interest-free by the end of 2021.
However, the German Student Union’s main request was establishing a permanent support mechanism for students in need, including pandemic situations or crises. Their demand was not commented on by Minister Anja Karliczek.
The bridging aid was expected to be delivered from June until August 2020. After a pause, the ministry decided to extend it until September 2020, and then again, it was extended until the end of the winter semester in Germany, March 2021.