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FAQs Corona and Studies

What will hapen to my BAföG? What if I loose my part-time job? What happens to the contr factor my Room?

Version: 03. July 2020, constantly updated.

BAföG and Student financing

How do I apply for the bridging aid for students in hardship?

The Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) is helping students who are demonstrably in a financial or economic emergency situation owing to the corona pandemic with allowances totalling 100 million euros. They are paid out via the student service organisations – the Studierenden- or Studentenwerk (STW).

Online application here: www.ueberbrueckungshilfe-studierende.de

The most important questions about bridging aid

BMBF Bridging Aid Hotline:
Tel.: 0800 26 23 003
E-Mail: ueberbrueckungshilfe-studierende[at]bmbf.bund[dot]de

Note: Students of the Schwetzingen Technical Institute & Graduate Court Registrars' College, the Baden-Wuerttemberg Cooperative State University Mosbach (DHBW) including Bad Mergentheim Campus and the Baden-Wuerttemberg Cooperative State university Heilbronn are excluded from the bridging aid.

Do the corona pandemic and the postponement of the 2020 summer semester have any effect on my Federal Training Assistance Act grant or loan (BAföG)?

No, as the Federal Ministry of Education and Research has announced by decree, in no circumstances does the postponement of the start of lectures affect eligibility for BAföG. At the moment, students (irrespective of whether they are first-year students or are already receiving support) need not fear that there will be no money in or for April 2020. Self-tuition and online studying count as studying activities as well. Also, please get the latest information at your Studentenwerk or Studierendenwerk office. It is important that the application for BAföG must be submitted by April 2020 at the latest if you have not yet received a BAföG notification for the 2020 summer semester.

Send your application for time-keeping now!

BAföG-Hotline: 06221 54-5404
E-Mail: foe[at]stw.uni-heidelberg[dot]de

The corona crisis has acutely affected my parents; they have either no income at all or it is strongly reduced. Do I receive more BAföG now?

If your parents are earning less income now, for example owing to reduced working hours, your prospects for BAföG support or higher BAföG support are better.

Case constellation 1:

If you have not received any BAFöG yet because your parents’ income was too high, but your parents are now earning less, you can submit a new application for BAföG at any time and have it evaluated on current parental income.

Case constellation 2:
If you are already receiving BAföG but current parental income is lower (for example because of reduced working hours), you can submit a BAföG updating application, and your BAföG office will assess your new BAföG amount.

Generally, if you have further questions, consult your Studierendenwerk or Studierendenwerk (STW) BAFöG office as soon as possible.

Send your application for time-keeping now!

BAföG-Hotline: 06221 54-5404
E-Mail: foe[at]stw.uni-heidelberg[dot]de

Will I continue to be entitled to my parents supporting my studies?

Yes, provided that your parents continue to be economically viable; otherwise you could be eligible for BAföG.

Self-tuition (reading specialist literature, research for and writing of theses, etc.) or studying online also count as studying activities, especially in the present situation.

Furthermore, for once, parents have to accept delays and interruptions in your studies and the longer period of providing support that this entails. When studying is delayed or interrupted, the individual case has to be reviewed, especially with regard to whether there are special, acceptable reasons for delays. In the present situation, which nobody could have reckoned with, a delay in studying based on measures by authorities has certainly come about through no fault of your own. Nevertheless, you ought to make use of the extended period without lectures as time for your self-tuition.

Send your application for time-keeping now!

BAföG-Hotline: 06221 54-5404
E-Mail: foe[at]stw.uni-heidelberg[dot]de

I am considering taking a break semester because of the corona crisis. What do I have to keep in mind?

Please note that for break semesters, which are conceived as taking a break from studies, you are not entitled to BAföG, precisely because you are not studying! Please find out before taking a break semester what the consequences would be for financing your studies – this is essential! You can consult the social counselling officer of your STW for details of the requirements for obtaining benefits in accordance with Social Security Statutes II (basic security benefits, “Hartz IV”). However, what is important is to remember that a break semester does not count as studying; neither may you perform any academic achievements in a break semester.

Social counselling: Counselling after a previously made application and appointment arrangement under 06221 54-3758 or at sozb[at]stw.uni-heidelberg[dot]de.

If I lose my job or my wages are not paid, am I currently entitled to housing benefits?

Not automatically. Anyone without income owing to job loss or suspension of wage payments is not automatically entitled to apply for housing benefits. The basic precondition for turning down an application for BAföG “on the merits and to the extent” and testing of covering of monthly living costs continues to apply. In a nutshell, the eligibility requirements for housing benefits stay the same.

If I lose my part-time job or my wages are not paid, am I entitled to unemployment benefits II (ALG II)?

No, you are currently not generally eligible for ALG II benefits.

As a rule, full-time students are not eligible for benefits in accordance with Social Security Statutes II.

There are only a small number of exceptions, such as:

  • in a break semester owing to pregnancy/parenting or leave taken because of illness/impairment. It is important that no studying activities are performed during leave taken based on the reasons referred to above since the ALG II benefits could otherwise be called into question and possibly reclaimed. In addition, other requirements must be fulfilled. You can discuss whether you are eligible for ALG II with the social counsellor of your Studenten- or Studierendenwerk.
  • In part-time studies because of pregnancy or parenting and leave taken because of illness/impairment parenting. Here too, various aspects have to be considered, and further requirements must be met. Get advice from your social counselling officer!
  • In hardship cases, for example if financing collapses through no fault of your own and at an advanced stage of studying, benefits may be considered by the “Jobcenter” as loans in accordance with § 27 Section 3 SGB II.
  • Special needs among certain persons eligible for benefits in accordance with § 21 SGB II; this concerns, for instance, students with children or students with impairments.

 

I have lost my job. Where can I look for job offers?

In online job portals. Some are targeting students, or operating with a regional focus. Currently, there is an increased staffing demand in a number of areas. Try and actively apply there:

  • food and drinks delivery services
  • supermarkets, food stores
  • logistics
  • cleaning businesses
  • filling stations
  • harvest hands; here, this new portal has been launched: https://www.daslandhilft.de/

Could I also earn short-time allowance as a student part-time worker?

No. Students working part-time are not obliged to pay into health, nursing care or unemployment insurance. And anyone not paying into unemployment insurance is not eligible for short-time allowance.

Next to studying, I am self-employed or work as a free-lancer and have lost my contracts or can no longer perform them due to the government measures to contain the corona virus. Am I eligible for benefits in accordance with the Infection Protection Act?

Here we have to step back a little. The Infection Protection Act (“Infektionsschutzgesetz” or IfSG) provides for what are partly very drastic measures to contain the spread of infectious diseases and facilitate their treatment. Such measures may for example be prohibitions of activities or quarantine regimes. Specific official prohibitions of activities or quarantine measures ordered by authorities addressing an individual who poses a risk of infection may trigger eligibility for compensation in accordance with the Infection Protection Act (IfSG).

However, please note that voluntary quarantine, for example, does not make an individual eligible for compensation. In accordance with § 56 Section 2 IfSG, compensation is based on the loss of income. For the first six weeks, it is awarded corresponding to the loss of income. From the beginning of the seventh week on, it is granted at the level of sick pay in accordance with § 47 Section 1 of the Fifth Statute of the Social Security Statute, provided  that loss of pay is not in excess of the annual earning limit taken as a base for mandatory statutory health insurance.

For self-employed persons, compensation amounts to 1/12 of the net income earned in one month (average of the last year before the suspension of the prohibited activity). Self-employed persons whose livelihood is threatened through an IfSG measure can have additional costs reimbursed at an appropriate level by the responsible authority. If the company concerned has to close down, in accordance with the IfSG, a refund of the operational costs arising over the duration of the measure which are not covered will be provided to an appropriate level.

Compensation is only paid on application, and there are very short deadlines for applications! Make sure that you send your application to the responsible authority within a period of three months after the prohibited activity was suspended or quarantine was lifted.

What else can I do if I happen to be unable to pay my health insurance, rent, mobile phone bill, etc.?

Actively report to your health insurance, your landlord, your mobile phone company, your radio broadcasting company, etc. if you are unable to make your payments at the moment. Request a deferral of payment and, should this be necessary, a dunning block. If possible, you could also inquire whether it would be possible to make a reduced down payment.

Send your application for time-keeping now!

BAföG-Hotline: 06221 54-5404
E-Mail: foe[at]stw.uni-heidelberg[dot]de

Do I keep my right to receive BAföG when I am engaged with healthcare, social institutions or agriculture during the corona pandemic?

In order for an engagement in jobs that are relevat to the system, to still be worth it for people who are receiving BAföG, there are some changes to the rules after which the income in the BAföG law gets calculated for this category of persons. Since 01.03.2020, any extra income of Students/Interns that comes from a job, that is relevant to the system, is not harmful to the funding until the end of the pandemic. That is valid for a newly undertaken activity as well as for any additions to an existing activity. For anyone that was already engaged in such activities - for example in health care or nursing service - her/his income will further be calculated as before, however any extra income from extra overtaken workhours will not be counted.

This special regulation is valid only for BAföG-eligible Students/Interns and not for their relatives.

Important: With the official end of the pandemic, the extra income from such activities will be included in the calculation. The end of the pandemic will be decided and made official by the german Bundestag. 

BAföG-Hotline: 06221 54-5404
E-Mail: foe[at]stw.uni-heidelberg[dot]de

 

 

Where can I get financial support? Do I have to take out a loan?

The best thing to do is to consult the social counselling officer of your Studenten- or Studierendenwerk (STW). Many STWs also maintain hardship funds or loan funds.

Social counselling: Counselling after a previous application or appointment arrangement under 06221 54-3758 or at sozb[at]stw.uni-heidelberg[dot]de.

Send your application for time-keeping now!

BAföG-Hotline: 06221 54-5404
E-Mail: foe[at]stw.uni-heidelberg[dot]de

What should I bear in mind if I am considering taking out a student loan?

Look at various offers and compare them carefully. Examine the requirements those offering them make for a student loan, the processing charges, the interest rate and the repayment arrangements. It is important for you to have a look at the total repayable amount for the loan in various repayment constellations before you actually sign the contract. Make sure that you get detailed information about possible additional costs that could arise for you. The best thing to do is to obtain advice from the social counselling officer or the studies financing officer of Studierendenwerk Heidelberg.

Student loan: Counselling after previous application or appointment arrangement under 06221 54-2643 or at studienkredit[at]stw.uni-heidelberg[dot]de.

Social counselling: Counselling after previous application or appointment arrangement under 06221 54-3758 or at sozb[at]stw.uni-heidelberg[dot]de.

Information about the KfW Student Loan (in English)

Corona-Hilfe des BMBF: Finanzielle Unterstützung für Studierende durch die KfW (in German)

BAföG-Hotline: 06221 54-5404
E-Mail: foe[at]stw.uni-heidelberg[dot]de

I have lost my part-time job and my parents, wo receive short-time allowance, can only partially support me. As of next month, I won't be able to pay my rent anymore. Should I expect a notice from Studierendenwerk?

In this situation, you need not fear a termination of your rental contract for this reason alone. Because of the current COVID-19 pandemic, it is decided by law, that in the next three months, limited to 30.6.2020, no notices can be given, when the dificulties to pay rent have occured as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. This causal connection has to be credibly proven. Nevertheless your contractual obligations to pay your rent stay. Please get in contact with your consultant at the student living administration as soon as possible!

By the way, this is also valid when you have rented a room or an appartment in the free housing market and have difficulties paying your rent due to these circumstances.

As a first step you can inform yourself over at the Webseite of Studierendenwerk Heidelberg through the there uploaded FAQs. If you can't find an answer to your question there, please contact the student living administration as soon as possible.

 

Contact for students who already live in a dorm:
Tenant-Portal: www.stwhd.de/MieterInnenPortal
Tel.: 06221 54-2706
E-Mail: wohnen[at]stw.uni-heidelberg[dot]de

Social counselling: Counselling after a previous application or appointment arrangement under 06221 54-3758 or at sozb[at]stw.uni-heidelberg[dot]de.

Send your application for time-keeping now!

BAföG-Hotline: 06221 54-5404
E-Mail: foe[at]stw.uni-heidelberg[dot]de

How do I apply for a loan from the BW-Emergency fund?

Tips on loans from the BW-Emergency fund

The BW-Emergency fund addresses students, who have lost their job (for example in the catering or food services industry) due to the pandemic, and because of that find themselves in a financial emergency. The payout takes place in the form of an interest-free loan in the amount of 450 EUR, for two months to begin with (a total of maximum 900 EUR). International students can apply for up to three Months, 450 EUR per Month (a total of 1.350 EUR). The loan will only be granted for the personal subsistence as well as for educational expenditures (including educational material, excursions and/or internship costs). The loan can also be used for the repayment of existing liabilities, as long as those have occurred due to the loss of work in connection to the pandemic; however it is not to be used for the support of third parties or for the payment of other expenses, which are not connected to the studies.

To apply, fill out the application and send it over e-Mail to studienkredit[at]stw.uni-heidelberg[dot]de. The following documents are required for the application:

  • a current enrollment certificate according to § 9 BAföG
  • a copy of your personal id or travelling passport (front and back) or alternatively a copy of your residence permit if you are an international Student
  • a copy of your bank card (EC-Card, front and back) or another proof of a bank account
  • a current bank account statement (Kontoauszug)
  • a report of the monthly earnings and expenses
  • the termination of the employment contract

Please note, that if you are receiving other benefits, such as BAföG, scholarships or grants, you are not eligible for a loan from the BW-Emergency fund.

Application for a loan from the BW-Emergency fund

Richtlinien zur Vergabe von Darlehen an Studierende aus dem BW-Nothilfefonds

Regulations for Awarding Loans to Students from the Baden-Württemberg Emergency Assistance Fund

Press release: BW legt Nothilfefonds für Studierende auf

 

Can I simply be fired from my student- or mini-job?

According to labour law, dismissals must be in line with certain preconditions: the notice of dismissal must be in written for; en E-Mail or oral dismissal is not sufficient. And a certain dismissal notice period must be respected. This period depends on the length of employment as well as on other (labour related) legal obligations: normally four weeks, within a trial period only two weeks. If you have been employed for more than six months in a company with more than ten full-time employees, you are in principle protected against unfair dismissal, but an operational lay-off is possible under certain conditions. For example, fixed-term employment can only be canceled when this is mentioned in the contract of employment. For any dismissal, the works council must be heard, if there is one in the company. This is not dependent on the question whether you have a mini-job or are in “normal” employment. If in doubt, please make sure you get legal counsel in order to defend your employment rights.

I am an international student from a non-EU-country and intend to work in a key domain (such as hospitals, ambulances, etc.) and beyond the 120 full or 240 half-days that are allowed. Is this possible in the current situation?

Please contact the foreigners' office. The Federal Ministry of the Interior (BMI) has recommended to the federal states and the foreigners' offices to issue work permits that principally require agreement by the Federal Employment Agency in order to use newly created job opportunities. Explicitly mentioned is the importance to win workers in agriculture (helping hands for the harvest). But please always consider: the current corona crisis is serious. In any case, measures for hygiene must be respected at work.

Student living

I share a flat with three other people in a dorm of the Studierendenwerk. Can a problem arise for my flatmates if I decide to cancel my tenancy contract?

No, with the Studierendenwerk fundamentally not, as every tenat in a shared flat has his/her own tenancy contract with the Studierendenwerk.

However the situation could be different if you live in a shared flat, that is rented by a private landlord. Here it is important to pay attention to who the main tenant is and who the subtenant is. If you are the main tenant and you cancel your contract, all flatmates that are your subtenants will loose their rooms, effective of the date when you cancel your contract. In case you are a subtenant in the shared flat, you can cancel your contract within the agreed upon cancellation periods, without your flatmates losing their rooms as well.

I have a new contract with the Studierendenwerk, but I can't move because of the current situation. The deposit and rent however are booked from my bank account. Is there a solution - I would like to continue my studies, when this is again possible?

Officially the teaching at the universities is currently suspended and your contract is generally valid until 30.9.2020. An anullment of your contract is not easily possible. Please contact the Studierendenwerk as soon as possible, in order to find a solution.

Contact:
Tel.: 06221 54-2706
E-Mail: wohnen[at]stw.uni-heidelberg[dot]de

I have canceled my contract with the Studierendenwerk for a one room apartment as of 31.3.2020 and have to move out. I have gotten sick with COVID-19 or am in quarantine. Do I have to move out.

No. In this situation, no Studenten- or Studierendenwerk will demand that you move out of your apartment! Now, too, what applies is what the law of enforcement stipulates, namely that the tenant’s right to physical integrity takes precedence over the owner’s/landlord’s interest to have the apartment vacated. Since all people are called upon to act in solidarity and drastically reduce contacts, the tenant cannot be obliged to move out. This is also in the interest of others.

This also applies if you are living in a flat or a room in a flat shared with others, or if you are a subtenant in private housing market accommodation.

My flatmate has contracted Covid-19. May I lower the rent?

No. A flatmate or neighbour falling ill does not represent any shortcoming regarding the object of rent and thus cannot be a reason to lower the rent.   

Must I let the caretaker or my landlord into my home, for example to examine the flat or to carry out repairs?

Whether the caretaker or the landlord is allowed to inspect your flat depends on balancing the landlord’s right to property with the student’s right to privacy. Furthermore, in the event of a pandemic, the protection of the tenant’s physical integrity needs to be considered as a crucial aspect. Inspections not being carried out in pursuit of any urgent purpose therefore have to be postponed until after the pandemic. However, if repairs are necessary, for example in the case of a pipe burst, you have to allow access to the flat.

I am an international student and would like travel home. Where can I get information?

Before an eventual travel to your home country, please contact your german University. If you live in a student dorm, please contact the student living administration of the Studierendenwerk. The Foreign Office of the German Federal Government will keep you up to date with the latest travel and security notices:
https://www.auswaertiges-amt.de/de/ReiseUndSicherheit/reise-und-sicherheitshinweise

Your home country’s embassy or consulate in Germany will also provide you with information: https://www.auswaertiges-amt.de/de/ReiseUndSicherheit/vertretungen-anderer-staaten

 

I'm an international Student and live in a dorm of the Studierendenwerk Heidelberg. Is there an eventual contact person, that lives in my dorm?

Yes, this is quite possible. Please inspect the notice-board of your dorm. It's possible that there is a notice with contact information of the tutors, who are responsible for the international students (TutorenInnen für die Betreuung internationaler Studierender). When this is not the case, you can alternatively directly contact international department of the Studierendenwerk: per e-mail at internationales[at]stw.uni-heidelberg[dot]de or per telephone under +49 6221 54-2600.

I'm an international student and I can't pay my rent anymore, as I have lost my part-time job due to the pandemic. I want to go back to my home country as soon as possible. Is an early or a cancelation without notice of my tenancy contract possible?

Fundamentally no, the contractially agreed upon cancelation periods are valid. But also in this situation, you should contact the student living administration, so that together you can find a solution.

Contact:
Tel.: 06221 54-2706
E-Mail: wohnen[at]stw.uni-heidelberg[dot]de

I'm an international exchange student and I live in a dorm. I have to fly to my home country, but my tenancy contract goes until September 2020 or March 2021. Do I have to interrupt or cancel my contract?

You are free to travel back to your home country. Please coordinate that with your program's responsible person from the international relations dision. The contractually agreed upon cancellation periods are valid. But also in this situation, please contact your consultant at the student living administration as soon as possible, in order to find a solution together.

Psychosocial counselling for Students (PCS)

My student financing has broken off, the university is closed, my room is very small, and I can't meet my friends anymore. The corona-pandemic is scaring me. Who can I contact about my worries and fears?

Please contact the Psychosocial Counselling for Students: You can speak with the consultants anonymously and free of charge about your problems.

Psychosocial Counselling for Students (PCS):
Consultation after a previously made application and appointment arrangement under 06221 54-3750 or at pbs[at]stw.uni-heidelberg[dot]de.

Anonymous Online-Consultation of the PCS:
https://www.pbsonline-heidelberg.de

 

 

Visa / residence permit

I am an international student, and my visa will expire soon. How can I get an extension of my residence permit?

Please contact the local foreigner’s registration office („Ausländerbehörde“).
The Federal Ministry of the Interior (BMI) has ordered the foreigner’s registration offices to issue fictional permits (“Fiktionsbescheinigung”) without any further proof and for an extended period as long as the application for an extension has been filed in time (§ 81 Absatz 4 AufenthG).
The current title of residence remains valid from it‘s expiry date until a decision of the foreigner’s registration office has been taken (§81 Absatz 4, Satz 1 AufenthG). The fictional permits that must be issued according to §81 part 5 AufenthG are only necessary for providing adequate proof. This is even the case when the application for an extension has been filed with an informal request (e.g. by telephone, online, per E-Mail or postal services).

I am an internat. student from a non-EU-country and can no longer finance my studies. I have to apply for a continued residence permit soon. What happens if I cannot provide proof of sufficient means of subsistence (“Lebensunterhaltssicherung”)?

Please contact the foreigners' office (“Ausländerbehörde”).  The Federal Ministry of the Interior (BMI) has published a recommendation to the foreigners‘ offices to waive the proof of sufficient means of subsistence  in the case of student residence permits, if the financial difficulties are caused by the corona pandemic.

I am an internatonal student from a non-EU-country. My studies might be delayed due to the corona-pandemic. Can I expect that my study-related residence permit will be extended accordingly?

Please contact the foreingers' office at due time. The Federal Ministry for the Interior (BMI) has made the following recommendations to the Federal states (Länder) and the foreigners' offices: if limitations to the teaching and learning at institutions of higher education are caused by the corona-pandemic have led to an extended time of study, such limitations must be considered as circumstances that have not been caused by the student.

Contact
Studierendenwerk Heidelberg
Tel.: 06221 54-5400
E-Mail: info[at]stw.uni-heidelberg[dot]de
www.stwhd.de/corona

These FAQs are based on preliminary work by the Studentenwerk Leipzig – for which we are very grateful!

 

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