Students in Germany protested in more than a dozen cities earlier this week over an estimated 1 million lost part-time jobs, with a bigger rally planned in Berlin for 20 June.

“We hear it from all over Germany, from every university city,” said Amanda Steinmaus, a board member of the Free Association of Student Communities (FZS), an umbrella body for about 80 student groups. “They [students] cannot get money any way except breaking off their course of study and receiving unemployment benefits. It’s bizarre that the minister doesn’t act on that.”

Nearly nine in 10 students receive money from parents, and 61 per cent are employed, according to recent data. Now, following the pandemic, 40 per cent of students have lost their jobs, according to a survey released at the beginning of the month. More than a fifth are unable to pay their rent and bills, and have had to borrow money from family or friends.

The government has responded by making it possible to reapply for the existing BaföG support scheme, which offers a mix of grants and loans, if students’ parental income has slumped owing to the pandemic. It has also started providing emergency loans of up to 650 € a month to students to tide them over, which will remain interest-free until the end of March next year. In a country traditionally averse to debt, this has not appeased student organisations. “They have to pay back that loan during their studies,” said Ms Steinmaus.

Noticia en Times Higher Education

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