German and, for the most part, foreign students can receive BAföG for their first degree course. It is important that you start your studies before you reach the age of 45. In case of exceeding the age limit of 45 during your bachelor's studies, funding for the master's programme is generally possible if the master's programme is started immediately after the bachelor's programme.
Only in special cases (e.g. graduates of the second educational path 'zweite Bildungsweg', personal and family reasons) you can also receive BAföG if you are older than 45 when starting to study.
You will receive BAföG at the earliest for the month in which you submit your application. You cannot submit the application retrospectively.
An effective application has only been submitted when the person submitting the application has indicated his or her full name at the end of the application and the application has been received by the BAföG Office.
When submitting an application via the electronic application assistant 'BAföG-Digital', a digital application for BAföG funding can be submitted at the same time as creating a user account (service account). It is no longer necessary to print out and sign the application when using the digital application assistant 'BAföG-Digital'.
However, you can still submit your application by mail, fax or e-mail. It is important that you state your full name in the signature field of the application form, so that it is clear that you are the person submitting the application. Of course, you can also simply sign your application.
A verbal application is not possible!
Your personal level of support is based on your needs. Where applicable, this is reduced according to your allowable income and capital as well as any (potential) income from your spouse or partner and their parents
You receive a BAföG grant until you reach the maximum period for financial support (= normal period of study). Even if you haven’t received a BAföG grant for all the semesters falling within this period, your entitlement ends upon expiry of the maximum period.
Only in exceptional circumstances can you receive BAföG for any longer (see § 15 para 3 BAföG):
Based on your written explanation, we will gladly check your entitlement to receive BAföG for a reasonable period of time that will effectively allow you to complete your studies.
If this does not apply to you, you could possibly receive the so-called ‘Hilfe zum Studienabschluss’ (assistance for completion of studies). This is an interest-free government loan. The prerequisites for receiving this are that you have registered to take your final exams and that you can complete your studies within 12 months.
If you change your specialist subjects for the first time within the first two semesters, that is normally not a problem. It is assumed that such a change will only be made if there are serious grounds for doing so.
The later you change subjects within your course of study, the more difficult it is to continue to receive BAföG. The reasons for the change of subject are decisive in this, and we must examine these carefully.
In the event that you wish to change subjects, we recommend that you discuss this with us in advance.
You can also receive a BAföG grant for your studies or placement abroad. You can apply for the international BAföG at your relevant BAföG office responsible for this. Please inform us well in advance when your studies abroad are due to begin.
The deciding factor is your income within the approval period, i.e. the period for which the payments from BAföG have been applied for and approved. Within an approval period of twelve months, you are allowed gross earnings of around 6,240 euros in total before any reductions in your BAföG become applicable. If you have a higher income, the amount of BAföG will be reduced. You should inform your BAföG office of your income in any case. Different rules apply to compensations during an internship, we will be happy to advise you on this topic.
As a general rule, half of the BAföG is made up of a grant and the other half of an interest-free government loan. You must therefore only partially repay the money at the end of your studies, namely the interest-free loan.
A maximum (interest-free) loan debt of 10,010 euros arises, even if you have received a higher loan amount in total. The repayment obligation begins five years after the end of the maximum grant period. The repayment is currently 130 euros per month. BAföG loans are collected and administered by the Federal Office of Administration in Cologne. The details of the repayment modalities can be found here.
In the exceptional circumstance that you have received your BAföG in the form of an interest-free bank loan, then you must repay the loan including any accrued interest to the Kreditanstalt für Wiederaufbau (KfW). Further information can be found here.