Do you have the feeling that you simply can’t make your money stretch to the end of the month? Sonja Vieten from the Social Counselling Office of the Bremen Student Services Organisation provides advice for when you are struggling financially. In this article, you can find out which financial aid suits your life situation and how you can get a grip on your finances.
I do not receive a BAföG loan. What other ways are there to pay for my studies?
You’ve submitted an application to the BAföG Loan Office and have received a letter of rejection? There are alternatives available, explains Sonja Vieten. “Along with BAföG loans, the big five of student financing include part-time jobs, maintenance from parents, scholarships, and student loans.” Thus, you should take a closer look at the five funding options and find out what would be an option for you. The social counsellor particularly emphasizes looking at scholarships. “Often, students think that their grades are not good enough for a scholarship. Yet there are many scholarships where the grades do not count but social involvement does, for example.” Sonja Vieten warns against prematurely applying for a student loan: “Even though student loans have a relatively low interest rate, the decision should be well thought through as repayments will have to be made at some point.” Such a loan is usually only approved from the third semester onwards anyway. One important piece of advice that the social counsellor has is: “Those who think it is not worthwhile applying for a BAföG loan should do it anyway - sometimes you do get something out of it.”
My money is running out, what should I do?
Your wallet is already empty on the 15th of the month? Keep a budget book, is Sonja Vieten’s tip. “There’s usually a certain reason for why your money is suddenly no sufficing. You’ve got all expenses in one place in a budget book.” You can also take an exact look at your income and expenses together with the counsellor during a counselling session. However, no one needs to lay their entire finances bare if they don’t want to, states Sonja Vieten.
My student financing plans are not working out as intended, what can I do?
The pay from your part-time job was meant to pay the rent but you’ve suddenly lost your job. Quick interim aid is needed in such situations. “During a counselling session, we can develop a strategy together for how you can manage in the short term,” explains the counsellor. In the long-term, you should take a look at the five funding options and go through them again. In terms of part-time jobs, the Career Center can help with their pool of job advertisements for students. Additionally, as a student, you can receive several discounts, for example for bank account management fees, public transport, or a full discount for TV licensing fees, if you receive a BAföG loan.
I need a little longer for my degree and receive neither a BAföG loan nor a student loan. What alternatives are there?
Your parents have turned off the financial tap, you are not eligible to receive a BAföG loan, and a student loan is also not an option - what else is left? “Under certain circumstances, students can receive income support, such as a housing allowance or unemployment benefit II. That depends on each individual situation,” states Sonja Vieten. Good to know: Only one type of income support may be received at any given time. That means that you are not eligible for housing allowance if you already receive unemployment benefit II, for example.
Is there also special financial aid available for students with children or students with chronic illnesses or disabilities?
Parental pay, children’s allowance, maternity allowance - there are several aid options available for students with children. Sonja Vieten can also provide advice on what is best suited in this area. You should generally sort out applications in good time, for example during the pregnancy. The Family Care Office can also help with such matters. Students suffering from chronic illnesses or disabilities can apply for financial aid to cover additional costs incurred during their studies due to their general health condition. The Office for Students with Disabilities or Chronic Diseases (KIS) can provide advice on such matters.
Social Counselling Office
Every life situation is different. You can find out exactly what financing options are available to you during a counselling session. Appointments can be made with the Social Counselling Office of the Bremen Student Services Organisation by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or by ringing +49 421 2201-11340. The sessions are currently taking place as video conferences or on the phone between 11 a.m. and 12 p.m. on Tuesdays, between 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. on Wednesdays, and between 10 a.m. and 12 p.m. on Fridays. Further information on the services offered is available on the Social Counselling Office’s website.
The Bremen Student Services Organisation’s BAföG Loan Office is happy to advise you on all matters concerning a BAföG loan. Further information is available on the Bremen Student Services Organisation’s website.
On the “Stipendienlotse” website, you can find a list (in German) of scholarships in Germany.
The Career Center bundles job advertisements for students.
The Family Care Office helps students with inquiries regarding family obligations.
The Office for Students with Disabilities or Chronic Diseases (KIS) can provide advice on matters such as academic adjustment, but also financial issues.