Today, the presidents of the German Rectors’ Conference (HRK) and the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) called on the federal government to swiftly reach a decision to support German and international students experiencing financial difficulties due to the coronavirus crisis.
HRK President Prof Dr Peter-André Alt: “I appeal to federal government officials not to leave those affected to their own devices. They are students who work hard to fund their studies and now find themselves in a precarious situation through no fault of their own. We know that many are absolutely reliant on the income from their jobs. In cases where parents have suffered income loss due to protective measures against the virus, their financial support disappears. The previously established and planned assistance for BAföG recipients is very much appreciated. However, we also have to think of the many others who now cannot support themselves without jobs and parental support. It is a matter of ensuring that they do not get into a desperate financial situation and, in the worst case, have to give up their studies.
Unspent BAföG funds could be used quickly and unbureaucratically to avert this intolerable scenario, for example by calling in the German National Association for Student Affairs and the local student services organisations. A proper grant would be crucial in this case in view of action taken in other areas of society. Thankfully, most federal states have already launched or announced aid. But this is not sufficient, a federal solution is essential.”
DAAD President Prof Dr Joybrato Mukherjee: “Seeking a political solution on all sides is the right and proper thing to do. However, the current situation requires a prompt solution. In particular, international students in the country are facing dwindling financial resources. They need quick and unbureaucratic assistance to prevent a drop-out scenario and avert a desperate financial situation. Simply offering loans is problematic for this target group; an unbureaucratic grant scheme is needed, ideally one that is administered professionally by student services organisations.”