Federal Education Minister Bettina Stark-Watzinger (FDP) recently described the Bafög reform, which is to come into force in the coming winter semester, as a “giant step forward” in the Bundestag. SPD politician Lina Seitzel also spoke of the beginning of a trend reversal in the Bafög debate: the downward spiral should be reversed. But the jump is apparently not quite as big as hoped.

Nicole Gohlke, deputy chairwoman and education policy spokeswoman for the Left Group, now wanted to know from the Federal Ministry of Education and Research what really changes as a result of the increase in the parental allowance by 20 percent and the increase in the requirement rates by five percent. State Secretary Jens Brandenburg (FDP) replied that the federal government is expecting the funding rate to increase by 1.8 percentage points.

This increases the Bafög funding rate “from ‘totally little’ to ‘very little’,” criticizes Nicole Gohlke in a statement for the Tagesspiegel. “The Federal Government exposes its Bafög package itself as a little box.” Gohlke also accuses Brandenburg of “nebulous arithmetic tricks”. The federal government must make significant improvements to the Bafög rates and allowances – also because of inflation.

In response to Gohlke’s request, State Secretary Brandenburg calculates that the increase of 1.8 percentage points calculated using a micro-simulation model from the Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Information Technology will lead to a “relative increase of around 11.5 percent” in 2023. This is based on a comparison with the funding quota that would have existed without the Bafög amendment.

No value is given for this, but it is known that the funding rate was just under eleven percent of the students. If the proportion of Bafög recipients increases by 1.8 percentage points to less than 13 percent, the “giant step” is not too big. In 1991 the rate was 38.6 percent, in 2000 it was still 21.4 percent.

However, the amendment now being planned is only intended to be the first step in a “structural reform”. The traffic light coalition wants student loans to become “more independent of parents”. Among other things, the desired basic child security should be paid directly to students.