What is BAföG?

BAföG is the abbreviation for Bundesausbildungsförderungsgesetz, or Federal Training Assistance Act, which provides state funding for school pupils and students to pursue education and training. The stated aim of BAföG is to enable young people to take up education or training, even where their individual social and economic circumstances might not allow it.

BAföG - financial support

Students receive 50 per cent of BAföG aid as a state grant and 50 per cent as an interest-free loan that must be repaid in instalments when the maximum period of assistance expires. The maximum period of assistance is determined by the standard period of study, as set out in the study and examination regulations applicable to your programme. The first instalment of the BAföG interest-free loan is due for repayment five years after the maximum period of assistance ends. Provisions have been laid down in law for the loan repayments requiring the individual social and economic circumstances of the borrower to be taken into consideration.

BAföG financial assistance for German and foreign nationals

As a student enrolled at a state or state-accredited German higher education institution, you already satisfy an important requirement for receiving financial assistance in accordance with BAföG. You satisfy a second requirement if you have German citizenship or are a foreign national who intends to remain in Germany in the long term. The Studentenwerk (student services organisation) at your higher education institution can give you more information about obtaining BAföG financial assistance as a foreign national.

Age restrictions and income levels

To receive BAföG support, you must be under a certain age when you begin your programme. For first degree programmes, you should be under the age of 30, and for postgraduate programmes, you should be under the age of 35 (exceptions). Finally, neither you, your spouse/partner, nor your parents should have the financial means to pay for the full costs of your programme. Details of how different sources of income are taken into account can be found on the website of the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (Bundesministerium für Bildung und Forschung, BMBF).