The traffic light government wants to reform Bafög. However, the planned increase in the rates is not enough, the Paritätischer Gesamtverband criticizes – and points to poverty among students.

The Paritätische Gesamtverband has demanded a greater increase in student loans than planned by the traffic light coalition.

The association justifies this with its own calculations, according to which 30 percent of all students in Germany are affected by poverty. In the case of students living alone, it was even 79 percent, the parity announced on Tuesday.

In prosperous Germany, poverty is not defined by hunger in the classic sense, but by household income and the resulting opportunities for social participation. People who have to make do with less than 60 percent of the median income are considered poor or at risk of poverty.

According to the Paritätische, no structural improvement will be achieved with the planned increase in the Bafög rates by five percent. Given the current rate of inflation, the adjustment is not even enough to maintain purchasing power. “It is therefore necessary to raise the BAföG requirement rates appropriately and to update them automatically and regularly,” the association demanded.

Traffic light advises on Bafög reform

The Bundestag is currently discussing a Bafög reform of the traffic light coalition. In addition to an increase in Bafög rates by five percent, there are also plans to increase parental allowances in order to expand the group of those entitled to Bafög. Student representatives and social organizations are still pushing for changes before the Bundestag decision, such as a clear increase in rates.

Poverty among students is unfortunately a well-known phenomenon, said Matthias Anbuhl, Secretary General of the German Student Union, the German Press Agency. The Bafög rates would have to rise significantly more than the federal government had previously planned, instead of the planned 449 euros to a good 550 euros.