BAföG - What do I need to think of?

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Checklists for your application (in German)

The first thing you need to do is to put together a couple of documents. Everything that is usually required is listed on this page.

Should you have already started your studies, you should at least fill in and submit the form Formblatt 01 immediately. Otherwise you might miss out on a certain amount of your financial support. If it has to be quick, you can use the BAföG-Schnellantrag (“fast application”). Please only hand in an incomplete application or a “Schnellantrag” if your studies have already begun or if you won’t manage to hand in your complete application within the first month of your education.

Please wait until you have been accepted by a university before applying. Your university’s location determines which office will be in charge of dealing with your application.

Your initial application

The following list is quite long but most of it will be quickly organized.
For your first application you will require (in most cases, a copy or an upload of the documents is sufficient):

  • The online application
    (on paper, the form "Formblatt 01" from the page bafö
    In most cases, also your parents will have to provide some information (form "Formblatt 03").
    Please also have a look at our page BAföG and Parental Support.
  • Information regarding your former education and employment
    You will require certain information when applying.
  • Bank details
    It must be an account within the SEPA region to which you have access.
  • Certificate of matriculation
    stating "nach § 9 BAföG". You can hand it in at a later stage, as soon as it has been issued by your university.
  • International students: documents confirming your residence status
  • Up-to-date verification of your personal assets
    In the case of life insurances, we require the surrender value. This verification must not be older than 14 days, going back from the day we receive the application. In the case of real estate or motor vehicles, the current value must be estimated by means of suitable documentation (e.g. sales contract). If you have any debts, you will also have to state them including proof.
  • Tenancy agreement or latest “Meldebescheinigung” (proof of residence) / “Wohnungsgeberbestätigung” (confirmation from your landlord) (template)
    We do not require any proof if you still live with your parents or in their property.
  • Employment contract or salary statement
    Please include this if you will be working during your studies. If you are planning to start a job, you need to estimate your overall income for the duration of receiving BAföG funding – usually 12 months – and provide the required verification once available. If your monthly average income is lower than 450 euros before tax, this income will not be deducted from the funding. This does not apply for mandatory internships!
  • Proof of income of your parents and your spouse or registered partner
    The most important document is the tax assessment from the year before last. Should it not be available yet, the income must be established using this form  (“Glaubhaftmachung des Einkommens”). Should there be any problems concerning your parents, inform yourself about the possibility of advance payments “Vorausleistung”.
  • Your parents’ address
    It is of course possible to lose contact to one’s parents, but in order to deal with your application we nevertheless require their address to be able to contact them. If you don’t know their address, please use the form "Anschrift Elternteil unbekannt" (we check the provided information!). The address of your parents has to be determined even outside of Germany. If a parent is already deceased, please provide a copy of the death certificate.
  • Documents certifying income or education of other persons entitled to maintenance
    That could be your own children, or also further children of your parents or of your spouse or registered partner. For instance, we would require a training contract or a document certifying enrolment in a school/university.
  • Proof of health insurance
    You don’t need to provide any proof if you are covered as a family member of your parents. As an alternative to providing confirmation issued by your health insurance company you can also use our form "Krankenversicherungsbescheinigung".
  • If you have already started or completed a different course of study / training:
    You need to provide the reason for having changed your subject area or having quit your education more than once. If your education lasted longer than two semesters, you already need to provide a reason the first time. It is irrelevant whether or not your former education was funded with BAföG or not.
    Please be aware that not every reason can be accepted! Make sure to inform yourself in detail before changing or quitting your course of studies if you are planning to do so after your 3rd semester has begun. Further information is provided at the bottom of this page.

Follow-up applications

For all further applications you require:

  • Everything listed above and the form “Formblatt 09” instead of the form “Formblatt 01”
    “Formblatt 09” is a shortened application form.
    You can use this form if your income and your assets have not increased and if the same office is in charge of your case (this is usually not the case if you are studying at a different university or abroad).
    In the case of “Härtefreibeträge” (additional required income due to disabilities that is not deducted from the amount of BAföG funding) assets usually need to be verified anew.

    >>> Please note that the forms for your parents must be handed in again! <<< (not in cases of parent-independent funding)

    >>> Also important: should your income or assets have increased (above the maximum amount not taken into account), a certain amount of the funding can be reclaimed! <<< In this case, please always use “Formblatt 01” or the online application!
  • In the fourth semester: one-time “BAföG-Leistungsnachweis” (proof of academic achievement)
    You can provide proof of your academic achievements so far by means of a “Zwischenprüfung” you have passed, the form “Formblatt 05” or a sufficient amount of ECTS credits (provided your university has assessed them, which is not always the case). It is best to already provide this verification at the beginning of your fourth semester, stating your third-semester status. By doing so, your payments won’t be interrupted.

    Should you not have managed to obtain the necessary academic achievements in the summer 2020, winter 2020/21 or summer 2021, you can hand in proof at a later stage due to the pandemic. Simply notify us that you haven’t yet accomplished the required achievements.

How do I hand in my application?

The best option is to use the online application.

Try and submit all necessary documents roughly at the same time, if possible, simultaneously (not via email!). That saves us time-consuming enquiries. Before submitting your application, please quickly check the following:

  • Have you included documentary proof at all places marked with that specific symbol?
    Also for your parents?

  • Have you answered all the required “yes-no questions”?
  • Have you signed the forms?
    That’s also necessary if you are using the upload function, having scanned or taken photos of the forms. Electronic signatures made with eID are also valid.

    >>> Please note!
    >>> You are not permitted to sign your parents’ forms!
    >>> Both parents need to fill in the form “Formblatt 03”!

What changes do I need to inform you of?

After having submitted your application and while receiving BAföG funding, you urgently need to inform us about any changes that are relevant for the assessment of your BAföG. To do so, you can use the form “Änderungsmitteilung” (in the online application the form is called “Änderungsanzeige”). Everything that is asked in the forms is definitely relevant. If you don’t provide the required information, you might not only be faced with funding being reclaimed but also with a fine.

The following list provides examples of changes we urgently need to be informed about immediately. Some of them also concern your parents or spouse/registered partner.

  • completing, stopping or interrupting your studies
    (taking a semester off, long period of illness, having been taken off the university register)
  • changing your subject area (this also applies for your minor)
  • new address (notification requires signature!)
  • moving in with your parents or into a flat which belongs to them
  • new bank account (notification requires signature!)
  • higher income than stated in your application
  • when updating information (Aktualisierung des Einkommens / Formblatt 07): higher income of your parents / your spouse or registered partner
    This applies from when the income increased!
  • changes in income of other children (of spouse / registered partner / parents)
  • start or completion of further children's education (of spouse / registered partner / parents)
  • receiving funding from one of the “Begabtenförderungswerke”
  • continuing your studies outside of Germany (includes practical semesters)
  • changes regarding your health insurance and nursing insurance
  • after your studies: inform the BVA (Federal Office of Administration) about any changes concerning your address or name. Otherwise it will cost you 25 euros!

What are the consequences of changing my subject area / university?

If you are merely changing to a different university, the BAföG office continues counting your semesters. That means that after a total of four semesters you are required to provide the “Leistungsnachweis” (proof of your academic achievements), even if your studies have been delayed by changing to a different university. The duration of your BAföG funding will not be extended at the end of your studies even if you don’t manage to complete your studies within the prescribed “Regelstudienzeit”. That also applies if the course of study is structured differently at your new university. In this case, you might be eligible for “Hilfe zum Studienabschluss” (interest-free loan for completing your studies). To apply for this loan, you also require the form “Formblatt 01”.

If you change your subject area, your funding will end unless you can provide a “serious reason”. Up until the end of your second semester, this is taken for granted and you don’t need to provide a reason. However, this only applies the first time you change your subject area!

The same applies if you dropped out of university / training in the past. In this case, you also need to provide a serious reason, even if at the time you did not receive any BAföG funding.

Serious reasons for changing your subject area or quitting your education/training are:

  • a serious and profound change of mind
  • personal lack of suitability – revealed in the course of your studies
  • you weren’t accepted to your preferred course of studies at the time due to lack of capacity (interim course of study)

Please note: strict rules apply in the last case. Before changing to the other subject area, you should urgently get in touch with the BAföG office!

As a general rule, you are not permitted to continue your current course of study for another one or two semesters before changing to the new study programme merely because this seems more handy to you. Usually, you need to take a break from your studies or be taken off the university register if it is not possible to change to the new course of study immediately after the “serious reason” has occurred.

Once you have reached your fourth semester, only an irrefutable reason can be accepted. That means that it has to be simply impossible for you to continue your present course of study. Your name being taken off the university’s register due to bad results or because you missed exams does not constitute a sufficient reason!