The German Government announced several changes occurring in relation to education funding in Germany. These revisions have been implemented to reflect higher living costs, increase benefits, and reduce the worry of debt repayment. The reforms go into effect for visa applications from September 1, 2019. However, some changes will be introduced gradually over the next three years.
One of the main revisions is the proof of finances for student visa applications. Students must prove that they are able to support themselves financially while studying in Germany. The most prominent way is the Blocked Account (Sperrkonto) where a standard amount is blocked to cover the expected costs for stay in Germany. From January 1, 2020, the monthly required Blocked Amount will increase from €720 to €853, while the annual amount will now be €10,236. According to official sources provided by the German Federal Foreign Office, the increased amount applies to all visa applications submitted from September 1st, 2019.
Check amount with your embassy
Expatrio assists students with opening a Blocked Account in accordance with the latest requirements. Customers are asked to check the required blocked amount with the respective German authority beforehand.
Expatrio guideline: what if my Blocked Account has already been opened?
First of all: no worries, we got you covered. Expatrio customers have already been informed with a detailed step-by-step explanation on how to proceed.
1. If you have already applied for a visa or residence permit
In case you have to increase your blocked amount, the German authority handling your visa or residence permit request will inform you directly, but we also kindly ask you to double-check it directly with them.
2a. If you have already transferred a partial or the Total Blocked Amount to Expatrio, but have not yet had your visa or residence permit appointment
Upon your request, we will calculate the difference and inform you of the amount you must transfer additionally. Once your additional funds arrive to your Blocked Account, you will receive your new 06 Blocked Amount Confirmation.
2b. If you have not yet transferred any funds to Expatrio
We will adjust the amount in your application if needed and will provide a new 05 Blocked Account Confirmation so that you can transfer the amount required by the authorities.
For both cases 2a and 2b, please contact the German authority handling your visa application and confirm if you are required to add funds to your Blocked Account. If so, simply email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will be able to make all the necessary changes to your Blocked Account.
Please note that we will only act upon your request!
Moreover, Expatrio understands this change in the legislation is inconvenient and unexpected so we would like to offer this adjustment service free of charge.
Changes on Health Insurance premiums for students
The Public Health Insurance premium will increase. Expatrio’s partner, award-winning Techniker Krankenkasse (TK), will increase their contribution to €103,94 (or €105,80, depending on your age and family status).
Compare providers and save
Public Health Insurance providers have similar contributions and coverages, but a comparison could help you save! If you compare Techniker Krankenkasse and DAK, you can easily save more than €70 per year with Techniker Krankenkasse.¹
Other changes are expected for BAföG candidates
For students aged 30 or over, health insurance premiums will rise as they will no longer be eligible for low-cost coverage. Expatrio can help students to obtain suitable health insurance coverage for their visa application and time in Germany through Techniker Krankenkasse (TK) or private solutions if the Public Health Insurance might not be eligible.
Due to the rising costs of accommodation, non-resident BAföG candidates will now receive a higher housing supplement. An increase of 30% from €250 means that candidates will now receive €325 to assist with living costs.
Cost of living subsidies will also increase by 17% overall from the current €735 per month. It will begin to be stepped up, first to €853 in the winter/spring 2019 semester and then again to €861 in winter/spring 2020. Income allowances will also increase year-on-year, by 16% in total: 7% in 2019, 3% in 2020 and 6% in 2021, making subsidies accessible to more students. Asset allowances are increasing from €7,500 to €8,200, to allow students to have financial reserves without it affecting their BAföG eligibility.
Childcare allowance will be increased from €130 to €150 per month. The age limit for eligible children will also increase from 10 to 14 years of age. Students who care for a parent or other relative will also be given an extension on the eligible funding period to help with time management while studying.
The BAföG rules for debt repayment are changing too. A monthly payment of €130 will be required when repayments begin, unless this is reduced due to low income. A maximum of 77 repayments is required, essentially limiting the debt repayment period to 6.5 years or less if the original loan was less than €10,000.
The changes to the law are mostly positive for international students in Germany, offering more support and an up-to-date cost assessment. They ensure that students have suitable health insurance coverage and a realistic amount of money in the Blocked Account to cover living expenses.
¹Calculation: difference in the Health Insurance premiums of DAK as compared to Techniker Krankenkasse (“TK”) on an annual basis (< 23 years or >23 with children: DAK €109.89 monthly, €1,318,68 p.a.; TK €103.94 monthly, €1,247,28 p.a.) // >23 years, no children: DAK €111.75 monthly, 1,341,-€ p.a.; TK €105,80 monthly, 1,269,60 p.a.). In both cases, the TK premiums are €71.40 cheaper as compared to DAK. Please consider this calculation as an example and be advised that not only the price can vary but also the coverage. For more information please visit our partner, TK.