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Because of Corona: Students are in debt with almost two billion euros

2021-09-22T17:49:57.984Z

Two billion euros in debt in the form of student loans and no more emergency aid from October: The government is satisfied with the corona balance sheet in terms of student finance, the opposition considers this to be cynical.



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Student job as waiters: hardly in demand in the corona crisis

Photo: Sebastian Gollnow / dpa

During the corona pandemic, students in Germany borrowed almost two billion euros from the state-owned KfW bank.

This is based on the latest figures from the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF), which are available to SPIEGEL.

For a so-called KfW student loan, "a total of around 59,500 applications with a total volume of around EUR 1.85 billion were received from May 2020 to August 2021," says a letter from the Parliamentary State Secretary in the BMBF, Michael Meister, to the Bundestag committee for education, research and technology assessment.

In spring 2020, KfW's student loans were initially touted as interest-free loans by Education Minister Anja Karliczek (CDU).

It later turned out that this was misinformation: The interest-free payment is only temporary, not permanent.

Final end for Corona emergency aid

From January 2022, interest will have to be paid again; the KfW effective interest rate of 3.91 percent is currently well above the otherwise low level of the financial market.

That had caused sharp criticism, among others from consumer advocates and trade unionists.

more on the subject

  • Loans for students in need: "In the beginning completely wrong" An interview by Armin Himmelrath

  • Study financing and Corona: emergency aid for more than 100,000 students

For the BMBF, however, the current number of applications shows that the loans are a real help in the pandemic for many students.

In August 2021, a total of around 1,700 applications with a total volume of around 64 million euros were submitted, writes Michael Meister.

The second funding pillar for students in corona-related financial distress, the bridging aid introduced in summer 2020, should, however, no longer be extended for good.

This emerges from an answer by the BMBF State Secretary to a question from left-wing MP Nicole Gohlke.

A good 187 million euros were distributed to students as a non-repayable grant;

the administration and processing of the applications incurred additional costs of around 16 million euros.

"Completely removed from reality"

"The student job market has recently recovered noticeably, while the number of applications for bridging aid as a grant has steadily declined over the past few months," says Michael Meister in a letter. Therefore, the grant program ends on September 30, 2021. Further aid programs are not necessary, the student loans and the Bafög offer sufficient help for students in financial difficulties.

The opposition sees it completely differently.

"The fact that Ms. Karliczek lets the already meager emergency aid run out without a hitch, although the pandemic is far from over, shows that it is completely unrealistic," complains Nicole Gohlke, spokeswoman for university and science policy for the Left in the Bundestag.

In the winter semester, the Ministry of Education once again gave students the choice between debt and insecure part-time jobs.

Many students are emaciated after three Corona semesters or have to struggle with examination backlogs, says Gohlke: "To point out an alleged normalization in the precarious mini-job sector is cynical." The notice period is usually only one month, and there is no entitlement to short-time work allowance: "That is neither normal nor does it bring financial security to your studies."

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Source: spiegel

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