How do private universities make money

Private universities and BAföG: is that possible?

The private universities have a reputation for being unaffordable for students without their own capital. However, there are different ways to finance studies at private universities. In a dual study program at a private university, for example, the students already receive a salary. But are students at private universities or in dual studies also entitled to BAföG?

Financing your studies through BAföG

Student life with 10 semesters costs around 45,000 EUR on average. According to a survey by the Studentenwerke, a student needs an average of EUR 864 per month for this. Prospective students have to pay these costs first. In addition to funding from parents, one or more part-time jobs and scholarships, BAföG (short for benefits under the Federal Training Assistance Act) is an essential source of maintenance. Half of the BAföG is granted as a loan, which graduates have to repay without interest a few years after completing their training. The other half is considered a government grant; it does not have to be repaid.

Requirements for BAföG entitlement

According to the Federal Training Assistance Act, entitlement to BAföG only exists "if [...] the funds required for living and training are not available elsewhere". Therefore, your own income and assets as well as the income of spouses or parents are taken into account (cf. § 11 Paragraph 2 BAföG). Depending on the family situation, various allowances can be deducted from the individual income of the parents (e.g. maintenance obligations). The parent-independent BAföG is a special form of support. This is granted if students have already been employed for at least five years at the start of their university education (or three years after their first degree). Detailed information can be found in the interview with the lawyer Peter Deutschmann.

Eligibility for a dual study program

In the case of regular full-time studies at a university or university of applied sciences, students are entitled to BAföG within the stated maximum limits. This also applies to other types of study. In the dual study model, which is also possible at private universities such as the "IUBH Dual Studies", the students already work in a company. You will receive a salary for this and can use it to cover possible tuition fees. Students are also entitled to BAföG for dual studies.

Universities as private educational institutions

Privately owned universities (private universities) have acquired the right through state recognition (accreditation) to hold examinations and award university degrees just like regular universities. These institutions are self-financing and therefore have tuition fees. BAföG funding is also possible here, and this on the same terms as when studying at a state university. However, the tuition fees are not financed by BAföG. The BAföG is intended to serve as subsistence and it is not higher just because the student has to pay tuition fees. The students have to raise these costs in some other way. However, upon request, the limit for one's own income is shifted. The students can claim the tuition fees as a hardship and earn more as a result. This is regulated by the Federal Training Assistance Act §14a, which provides relief beyond the standard benefits. In the case of the so-called hardship amount, the income earned by the student is sometimes not offset against the BAföG, even beyond the earnings limit. There can also be hardship if the BAföG is insufficient to cover your livelihood (e.g. high travel costs). Here the municipality can also grant ALG II as a loan.

However, these special regulations are always individual decisions, so that there are no generally applicable guidelines and maximum limits. The contact person is the local BAföG office. Often private universities already provide information on how to finance your studies on their website.

Overall, it can be worthwhile for students at private universities as well as for students in a dual course of study to apply for BAföG. Prospective students can inquire beforehand at the responsible BAföG office whether there is a claim in individual cases.

Author: Antje Meister
Published on August 25, 2014

Tags: BAföG, HR, private university, student finance