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Studying with a child – What financial rules and rules for accommodations in the event of delays in your studies are there in BAföG for students with child(ren)?

What about childcare supplements in BAföG for students with child(ren)?

Students who share a household with at least one own child below the age of 11 will receive a monthly increase in BAföG of 130 EUR for each child. This allowance can only be awarded to one parent per grant period. If both parents are legally eligible for aid on this ground and share a household, they will determine which parent should receive the supplemental aid (§ 14 b para. 1 BAföG).

You can apply for the childcare allowance by including the form called “Anlage 2 zum Formblatt 1” with your application.

The childcare allowance is taken into account as part of your needs-based BAföG calculation. According to the provisions of BAföG, the applicant’s income and assets as well as the income and assets of the spouse or partner and parents will be counted against your needs in that order.

You are eligible for the childcare allowance if you the applicant and the child share a household. If the child does not live at the place of study, you are still eligible for the allowance if you share a household with the child at its permanent place of residence at least on the weekends (e.g. shared apartment with the child’s father or the applicant’s parents).

You are also eligible for the childcare allowance if you are receiving financial aid in the form of a bank loan as per § 17 para. 3 BAföG. In cases such as these, the childcare allowance will be awarded in full as long as the applicant’s needs are not fully covered by their income and assets.

Do any special rules apply to students with children who receive BAföG if they experience delays in their studies due to pregnancy or parenting?

Pregnancy and parenting duties may result in prolonging an education and can delay a student’s ability to furnish proof of credit requirements. BAföG seeks to accommodate this with several special rules.

As a rule, financial aid is only awarded as long as the student is actually pursuing their education. But it can still be awarded in cases where a student is prevented from pursuing their education due to pregnancy; however, the cutoff here is the end of the third month of a period of interrupted studies due to pregnancy (§ 15 para. 2 a BAföG). The month when the interruption begins does not count.

In the longer term, the question is whether to interrupt your studies or study and parent at the same time. If you interrupt your studies for longer than the specified period, your financial aid will be cut. However, your financial aid may be reinstated once you begin studying again. Before interrupting your studies, we strongly recommend that you get in touch with the Financial Aid Office. As long as your studies have been interrupted, you may be entitled to receive social assistance benefits. The social welfare office can advise you in that matter.

As per § 15 para. 3 no. 5 BAföG, you may be eligible to receive financial aid past the maximum grant period for an “appropriate duration” if the maximum grant period was exceeded due to pregnancy or parenting children below the age of 11.

The following lengths of time for pregnancy and parenting are considered of “appropriate duration” as per § 15 para. 3 no. 5 BAföG:

  • For pregnancy, one semester;
  • For children under the age of 5, one semester per year of the child’s life;
  • For children under the age of 6 and 7, one semester in total;
  • For children under the age of 8 and 10, one semester in total.

It is generally inconsequential whether the applicant is caring for more than one child as it pertains to determining delays of appropriate duration. The pregnancy and/or parenting must be the direct cause of the prolonged duration of study. The Financial Aid Office will determine on a case-by-case basis whether applicants meet the eligibility requirements. Prolongation periods for parenting purposes can be divided among both parents with student status. In this case, the parents must declare in writing how they divide up this time among themselves.

It is also important that the prolongation periods do not result in an increase in BAföG debt; as per § 17 para. 2 s. 2 no. 2 BAföG, financial aid will be awarded in full in the form of a grant for periods beyond the maximum grant period in which the applicant receives BAföG as per § 15 para. 3 no. 5 BAföG.

Financial aid as per § 48 para. 1 BAföG will only be awarded to students in their 5th semester and higher from the moment a certification is provided demonstrating aptitude for the chosen educational program (proof of credit requirements). Such certification usually comprises a certificate of a passed intermediate exam that may only be taken after the end of the 3rd semester as per the study regulations and that was taken before the end of the 4th semester. It might also comprise a statement issued by the institution after the beginning of the 4th semester stating that the student has met all the usual credit requirements demanded by an orderly course of the program by the end of the current semester.

The Financial Aid Office may accept this proof of credit requirements at a later point in time as per § 48 para. 2 BAföG where circumstances are likely to justify a later exceeding of the maximum grant period as per § 15 para. 3 BAföG, i.e. including instances where the course of the program is slowed due to pregnancy or parenting children below the age of 11.

If you receive an income while studying and parenting, each child will increase your exempt amounts – that is, the amount you can earn without your BAföG being cut. As per § 23 para. 1 no. 3 BAföG, an exempt amount of 520 EUR is awarded for each child of the student unless the child itself is in a course of education eligible for BAföG as per BAföG or § 59 SGB III.

If you think this might apply to you, we strongly recommend that you let us advise you.