In the economically challenging times of the Corona pandemic, many people experience a negative impact on their usual income. Especially students, many of whom rely on mini-jobs and part-time working opportunities.
How does the corona-virus affect the plans of international students coming to Germany?
Find out the results of the Fintiba survey.
In this article, we would like to draw your attention to the measures introduced by German authorities to support those in a financially difficult situation.
If the café or bar where you work closed indefinitely, the company reduced the working hours, or you are simply out of money because you are unemployed, here are some tips that could help you to be more financially secure.
German government helps international and national students equally
According to the Federal Education Minister, nearly 65% of students in Germany work in parallel to their studies, and around 75 % of international students have part-time jobs. Since Nebensjobs are mostly in food service or retail, students often lose their jobs and cannot receive support such as “Kurzarbeitergeld” or “Arbeitslosengeld”. Consequently, the German government has taken general measures during the crisis to help all students that are in financial need.
1) Bridging aid provided by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (Überbrückungshilfe)
Since 16 June 2020, students in need of immediate financial help can apply for the assistance provided by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research. Depending on proven need, between 100 euros and 500 euros can be paid as a non-repayable grant. Applications should be addressed to the Studentenwerk responsible for the university where you are studying. They will decide on the granting of the bridging allowance within the available funds after checking your application.
- The grant is limited to 100 million EURO, so students should submit their applications quickly.
- It is possible to apply for a subsidy in the respective month by the last day of the month.
- The use of other scholarships or loans does not exclude the application for the bridging allowance.
- The application may only be submitted separately for the months June, July, August 2020.
- You will need a smartphone or a computer with a camera to complete the application.
- There is no age limit.
- Certificate of enrolment in an officially recognized German university.
- Identity card (or a passport with a confirmation of registration).
- Bank account details in Germany.
- Proof of financial emergency such as job termination, bank statements of the last weeks, or a declaration of lack of income.
For more information about the application process, please check the following link: https://www.xn--berbrckungshilfe-studierende-06cf.de/start
2) Interest-free KfW student loans
Students facing challenges due to the pandemic can have access to interest-free loans of up to € 650.00 per month. It is required to make an online application on the website of the state bank KfW.
- Education Ministry estimates that the loans are set to reach a total amount of up to € 1 billion
- The credit could be given for up to 14 semesters in the case of a first or second degree and for up to 6 semesters in the case of postgraduate studies or a doctorate.
- Until 31 March 2021, the interest rate will be 00%, but after that date, the interest rate will be adjusted.
- Only for people between 18 and 44 years old
- Certificate of enrolment
- Valid student visa / residence permit (or international students)
- Proof of a current bank account (bank card or bank statements)
For more information about the application, please check the following link: https://www.kfw.de/inlandsfoerderung/Privatpersonen/Studieren-Qualifizieren/index-2.html
3) Other loans with Studentenwerk
Pressing financial problems could also be solved by a loan from your Studentenwerk. However, it has to be paid back, and too many loan requests could empty the funds quickly. This loan might vary from place to place. In any case, if you have evidence of being in a particularly difficult financial situation, please contact your local Studentenwerk.
You might also check if you qualify to receive other kinds of governmental support
Parents with low-income: From 1 April 2020, families with low income can apply for special support of € 185.00 per child per month. The “Notfall-KiZ” is additional to “Kindergeld” and can be applied for online. This payment is being approved depending on the families’ size, rental payment, income, and age of children.
Single self-employed and small companies: A support payout of € 10,000.00 to € 30,000.00 can be granted to smaller companies depending on the size and some other factors.
Employees and Employers: There is a possibility to apply to “Kurzarbeitergeld”- financial support measurement introduced by the state to compensate losses in the salary of employees in short-time work due to their company being in a critical economic state.
The support is provided in the amount of 60% of the salary for singles or 67% for families with at least one child. Meaning, if the working hours are reduced to the half of the usual working time, the salary is only reduced to 80% for singles and 83,5% for families with at least one child. It is important to consider that all social security contributions are paid by the “Bundesagentur für Arbeit”.
Tenants: Usually a landlord is entitled to terminate the contract if a tenant does not pay rent for two months in a row. But due to the Corona crisis, a hold-up in payment is officially allowed. However, keep in mind – this will only postpone the due date of the pending rents and not eliminate them completely.
It is recommended for tenants who have difficulties with payments to first reach out to their landlords. Usually, partial payment of the rent should be done. If this is impossible, make sure to tell your landlord and provide proof of the financial difficulties that are tied to Corona. Also, consider that everyone having trouble paying their rent can apply for “Wohngeld”. Those eligible for “Hartz IV” get their accommodation costs paid.
As you can see, various measures have been introduced in Germany to ease the consequences of the global pandemic within the country. From businesses to students and families in need – different kinds of support can be received depending on your situation. We recommend you to research the opportunities you have as an international student to receive special governmental aid and hope that this overview gives you a solid impression of what can be done to make it easier to go through those challenging times.
With 💗 from Frankfurt and all the best – your Fintiba-Team!
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