FILE PHOTO: Figurines are seen in front of displayed stock graph and word "Inflation" in this illustration taken June 13, 2022. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration/File Photo

The Bafög remains a roller coaster of emotions for students and their parents: it was celebrated on the occasion of its 50th anniversary – although it no longer reached mainstream society and deterred many because of the loan component. Then the promise of reform in the coalition agreement, a kind of basic student loans for everyone.

But the first steps bring little progress: Although the income limit for parents has been raised by 20 percent, the number of Bafög recipients threatens to fall significantly again by 2026.

This shows a forecast from the house of Federal Education Minister Bettina Stark-Watzinger (FDP), who has just promised to implement the structural reform in this legislative period. It can be argued that the numbers will also fall because parents’ salaries continue to rise. That should eat up the increased allowances.

That’s good, one might think, because the parents can then afford the children’s university? But that’s not true, because inflation is eating up – and now also the energy price screw.

It must therefore be part of the relief packages to adjust parental allowances and student loans to inflation and rising living costs. So far, every government has refused this automatism. Bettina Stark-Watzinger has to activate it.