The German Federal Training Assistance Act (BAföG) provides educational opportunities

BAföG enables young men and women to choose the training that suits their personal interests, irrespective of their families' financial means. Millions of young people have already benefited from this kind of training assistance.

German universities are open to students from various backgrounds. © dpa/picture-alliance

BAföG has been providing educational opportunities for young people for over forty years. Basically, federal training assistance under BAföG means that training is funded by the public sector. The state provides individual trainees with the financial means necessary to cover living expenses and training fees.

Half as a grant

School students and students in higher education may receive funding under the Federal Training Assistance Act (BAföG). Half of the support for students in higher education is provided in the form of a grant, the other half is an interest-free state loan totalling not more than 10,000 euros, which must be repaid in instalments after completion of the standard period of study. School students receive support in the form of a grant which does not have to be repaid.

This way, millions of adolescents and young adults have benefited from BAföG to date. Over the years, BAföG has been developed further and continuously adapted to meet changes in young peoples' everyday lives. Adjusting the legal provisions to meet latest developments will always be at the very top of our political agenda.

Today, a good education is more important than ever before. This holds true for every single one of us as well as for society as a whole. Knowledge and the application of knowledge are Germany's greatest assets. The German Federal Training Assistance Act (BAföG) ensures that young people can undergo the kind of training that best suits their talent and inclination.

In former times, parents and, failing that, the trainees themselves were considered responsible for covering their individual subsistence and training needs. As a result, a large number of capable young people who were interested in enrolling in training were deprived of the opportunity to gain sound qualifications because their parents were unable to cover the high costs of training, usually lasting several years. For this reason and from a social point of view, it was essential for the German social state to work to ensure equal career opportunities for all young men and women. This task was assumed by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF).

Modernized BAföG to safeguard decent training

We have substantially reformed the German Federal Training Assistance Act (BAföG). Since the beginning of the new school year 2016 and the university Winter Semester 2016/2017 school and university students receive seven percent more funding.

Non-Germans are also entitled to support

Non-Germans are also entitled to BAföG payments. As a rule, foreigners who have prospects of remaining in Germany and are already integrated in society are entitled to support. As the legal regulations are very complex, it is advisable to contact the appropriate educational assistance office at an early stage.

With its 25th amendment to the BAföG Act, the Federal Government has assumed full responsibility for the provision of funding under the Federal Training Assistance Act as from 1 January 2015. This reduces the annual burden on the Länder (the federal states) by approximately 1.17 billion euros so that they can focus their funding responsibilities on universities and schools.

BAföG payments depend on income

The level of BAföG support depends on various factors. The maximum award per month for students in higher education is currently 735 euros. Generally speaking, the level of payments depends on the student’s income and assets and the income of his or her parents. BAföG payments help German students to support themselves without having to work at all, or only as little as possible, in addition to their studies.