Comprehensive Bundesstudienförderung (federal funding of studies) instead of small-scale BAFöG reform
A grand coalition is becoming increasingly likely. All parties involved are aiming to reform the BAföG (German Federal Law on Training and Education Promotion) system. For the CHE Centre for Higher Education Development, small, gradual changes are insufficient. According to the CHE, the answer is a Bundesstudienförderung (federal funding of studies) model, which would bring the individual instruments of the funding of studies together under one roof.
The existing system of funding of studies in Germany is complicated and splintered. State-funded instruments are BAföG (German Federal Law on Training and Education Promotion), the KFW student loan, the Bildungskredit (educational loan) offered by the Federal Office of Administration, the Deutschlandstipendium (Germany Scholarship), Stipendien der Begabtenförderwerke (scholarships provided by various foundations - which are supported by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research) and Beitragsdarlehen der Länder (loans for tuition fees by individual states). There is also indirect support in the form of child benefit or child relief.
CHE project manager Ulrich Müller said: "This complex, non-transparent funding system in particular discriminates against prospective students with an educationally disadvantaged background. More public funding instruments have emerged but they have not been synchronised and they sometimes rule each other out. The future government should aim to create a harmonious system."
The CHE Centre for Higher Education wants to end the chaos of the existing funding offers, which are either aimed at certain target groups or valid for certain study periods, and has developed a Bundesstudienförderung model to create a consistent system of public funding similar to the one that was introduced in the Netherlands in the 1980s.
The core idea is for the so far indirect public support such as child benefit or relief to flow into an overall basic amount that is paid directly to students for a certain period of time, regardless of the parents’ income. Benefits can be granted in individual cases. As with the benefits element of the existing BAföG system, these would be forms of public funding that certain target groups, such as needy persons and students with children, do not need to repay. The third and last part of the Bundesstudienförderung model is a flexible loan system that can be used in the event of special circumstances (e.g. study period abroad, prolongation of studies or taking a second degree).
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