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Support Services for Students in Financial Need

Studentenwerk Chemnitz-Zwickau provides information about support services for students who, e.g. are particularly hard hit by increased prices in the energy crisis

In the Studentenwerk Chemnitz-Zwickau, students who find themselves in financial difficulties through no fault of their own can apply for hardship loans or grants. As students are currently particularly hard hit by the rise in prices, the Saxon Minister of Science, Sebastian Gemkow, announced at the end of February 2023 that the emergency funds of the Saxon student unions would be increased if necessary.

Hardship funds are a long-standing, integral part of the support services offered by student unions to students in financial need. Funds from the loan and hardship funds are usually issued as non-interest bearing repayable loans so that they are recouped and available for issuance over and over again. In cases of hardship, these financial aid funds may also be awarded as grants. The granting of these funds is linked to a personal application in which the students prove that they have fallen into the emergency situation through no fault of their own, that they have no other financing options and that the continuation of their studies or graduation is at risk. The Saxon Ministry of Science intends to increase the emergency funds as needed so that no one has to give up their studies because of rising living costs.

Social loans are interest-free and limited to a maximum of 500 euros per month. For short-term loans (up to 3 months), a maximum total of 1,500 euros applies. Medium-term loans (up to 6 months) are granted up to a total amount of 3,000 euros. In addition, there is also the semester fee loan, which can be used specifically to finance the semester fee in connection with enrollment. As a rule, the loans must be covered by collateral from the applicant, i.e. either he or she must have a claim to educational funding (BAföG) or provide a guarantor for the repayment of the loan. The amount and the repayment modalities are agreed upon when the loan agreement is concluded according to the student's individual situation.

Students receive particularly low-threshold support through the Studentenwerk's free meal vouchers: the free warm meal per day helps to bridge situations in which money is too tight even for food. The free meal vouchers are issued at the Studentenwerk's social counseling centers upon an informal application. They can be redeemed in all refectories and cafeterias of the Studentenwerk Chemnitz-Zwickau.

Further information and details can be found in the Sozialleistungsordnung (PDF 499 kB) of the Studentenwerk Chemnitz-Zwickau. Interested parties can find these as well as the contact persons for a personal consultation here. 

Since the aforementioned support offers apply to special hardship cases and do not relieve the broad mass of students, the Studentenwerk Chemnitz-Zwickau, together with the other student unions and the Conference of Saxon Student Bodies, continues to lobby the responsible ministries at the federal and state level for additional relief and low-threshold financial aid for students, such as a 29-euro educational ticket valid throughout Germany and further measures to compensate for inflation.

(Source: Studentenwerk Chemnitz-Zwickau / Translation: Brent Benofsky)

Matthias Fejes

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