Advice for financing your studies (BAföG, special arrangements)

For students with disability or chronic illness, studies are generally more time-consuming and thus often accompanied by financial difficulties. In light of this, there are some special regulations concerning financing your studies with BAföG, regarding:

  1. income
  2. savings and assets
  3. duration of studies
  4. exceeding of age limits and
  5. a possible change of subject area

Please do not hesitate to contact a specialist councillor for further advice. 

Information and contact

Studentenwerk München (Munich Student Union)
Advice Centre in the Student Quarters of the Olympic Village (Studentenviertel Olympisches Dorf)
Helene-Mayer-Ring 9
80809 München
Tel: +49 89 357135-30

Requirements: No increase in BAföG itself

BAföG does not take diabilities into consideration. Additional allowances to meet the special requirements of disabled students, more expensive study materials, for example are thus not provided BAföG. Finacial assisstance may however be available in accordance with other regulations, for things such as:

  • Brail literature or readers (§ 54 SGB XII)
  • General living costs or expensive nutrition (§ 30 Abs. 4, 5 SGB XII)

Any addictional grants obtained from sources such as these will then not be taken into consideration whan calculating the size of the BAföG award.

For more information, please contact the government authorities responsible for SGB XII.

1.Income

Upon application (a 'Härtefreibetrag' (§ 25 Abs. 6 BAföG)), the disability of a parent or husband/wife can be taken into account and lead to a proportion of their income not being considered in the calculation of BAföG, as is also the case in income tax regulations ('außergewöhnliche Belastungen' (§§ 33 - 33b EStG)).

Such an application can also be made if parents or husband/wife are responsible for supporting a disabled person.

A disability of the student can be taken into consideration in terms of the repayments that have to be made on the loan part of BAföG (§ 18a Abs. 1 S. 6 BAföG). Applications should be made to the Federal Administration Office.

2. Savings and assets

In individual instances, a application ('Härtefreibetrag') for a reduction in the amount of savings and assets that are considered may be granted (§ 29 Abs. 3 BAföG):

This requires one of the following criteria be met (...)

b) that the savings are intented to ease life with a physical or mental disability or to cover future costs that will presumably ensue as a result of physical injury 

c) as long as the savings can be proven to be intented for the imminent purchase of property (§ 88 Abs. 2 Nr. 7), which specifically meets the needs of the disabled person, and that this purchase would be endangered by a reduction in savings.

3. Duration of study

In terms of the duration of study and educational maintenance support, a disability can be considered at two junctures: 

  • The presentation of a certificate of performance (Leistungsnachweis) can be delayed. A student must normally demonstrate at the beginning of the 5th semester, that he/she has achieved at least average standards up to this point. (This is confirmed by the university, which considers the average student, and cannot take a disability into account). If factors exist, which will presumably entitle the student to a longer period of financial support, the Educational Maintenance Office may grant the request that the presentation of a certificate of performance be postponed (§ 48 Abs. 2 i. V. m. § 15 Abs. 3 Nr. 5 BAföG).
  • Support can be continued beyond the normal duration of study (§ 15 Abs. 3. Nr. 5 BAföG), if this delay is a result of disability. In this case, support is even completely in the form of a grant (not 50% grant, 50% loan, as in the usual case):

Additionally, under certain conditions, all students are entitled to 'help to finish the course' beyond the duration of the normal period of study, providing they have been admitted to write the final exam(s) (in the form of 100% loan).

4. Exceeding the age limit

A disability can lead to educational maintenance being granted, even if the normal age limit of 30 years at the beginning of the course has been exceeded (§ 10 Abs. 3 S. 2 Nr. 3 BAföG). The disability must constitute the cause for the delay, however. 

5. Change of course

A disability incurred during time at university, as a result of an accident for example, can be an 'irrefutable reason' (§ 7 Abs. 3 S. 1 Nr. 2 BAföG) to change courses. In contrast to an 'important reason' an 'irrefutable reason' can be invoked in any semester. Support for the new course is continued in the form of 50% grant and 50% loan (in the case of an 'important reason', the 'lost semesters are supported only by loans).

Before switching courses, it is highly advisable that the the Educational Maintenance Office be consulted: Support will cease in its entirety, if certain legal requirements are not met.