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Loans and funding support on table in Germany

It was announced last month that €100 million will be made available for international students studying in Germany with less than €500 in their bank account.

GermanyGermany has announced it will be providing more support for international students. Photo: Pixabay

Loans will remain interest free until March 31 2021

But associations and stakeholders in Germany are seeking confirmation from the federal government over how provisions for emergency funds for international students will be rolled out.

It’s not clear whether this involves payments to bring bank balances up to €500 or whether students can apply on a monthly basis.

“We expressly welcome the fact that the federal government is now coming to the aid of students “

“I personally come from a long line of bureaucrats and I work in higher education – and even I don’t understand [the details],” noted one professional working in the industry that The PIE spoke with.

“This gives you an indication how messed up this is.”

The German Student Union (DSW) said it was now looking to “clarify the specific procedures with the Federal Ministry of Education and Research” with regards to the emergency funds.

“We expressly welcome the fact that the federal government is now coming to the aid of students in financial need,” said DSW president Rolf-Dieter Postlep.

“It is now important that the students who are in financial trouble due the coronavirus pandemic and through no fault of their own get this help.”

In addition, the Germany Ministry of Education and Research has said it will offer international students in the country interest-free loans through the Kreditanstalt für Wiederaufbau (KfW), beginning this month.

Support for international students in Germany has been a topic of debate for many months, particularly as countries like New Zealand and Canada have included them in some of their emergency provisions.

However, unlike in many countries, international students in Germany also don’t face the burden of high tuition fees either.

“It is the right move to now include foreign students that were previously not covered by the emergency study loans,” said Gerrit Bruno Blöss, CEO of Study.eu.

“100 million euros may sound like a lot, but we also need to put this in perspective”

“However €100 million may sound like a lot, but we also need to put this in perspective. Billions of euros were made available to fund struggling German businesses. Even freelancers and solo entrepreneurs received €5,000 and more, money they don’t need to pay back.”

According to Stephan Paulini of MyGermanUniversity, the scheme is open to and international students between the age of 18 and 44.

Students will only have to begin paying the loan back after a waiting period of between six and 23 months, which is the loan provider KfW’s usual repayment policy. He said that the country was taking “an important step in the right direction”.

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