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Rising interest rates burden students

Forum University and Church criticises interest rate increase for KfW student loan

(Bonn, 23 May 2023) The Board of the Forum Hochschule und Kirche (FHoK) sharply criticises the historic high of interest rates for student loans and thus joins the criticism of the Deutsches Studierendenwerk. The Kreditanstalt für Wiederaufbau (KfW) had increased the effective interest rate of its student loan from 6.06% to 7.82% as of 1 April 2023.

As part of the Federal Government's Education Loan Programme, the KfW Education Loan disburses loans for students regardless of income. To qualify for the loan, students must be studying at a state or state-recognised higher education institution located in Germany.

"In our university community, students are also affected by the massive increase in interest rates," says Jonas Wihl, a member of the new main committee of the Forum University and Church. Those affected from his university community in Munich report that BAföG is difficult to access for many students. It is not always possible to securely finance their studies. The KfW loan is therefore often an emergency solution, especially when the financing of studies has to be secured at short notice. "If the interest rates for repayment are now raised so sharply, this will deter many from taking out a loan, and the hardship of financing studies will worsen drastically," adds Luise Gruender, university chaplain in the diocese of Speyer and FHoK board member. 

"The real problem is that BAföG is accessible to an ever smaller proportion of students," Jonas Wihl states. This assessment is also shared by Matthias Anbuhl, Chairman of the Board of the German Student Union, in a press release dated 10 May. The Federal Government must make BAföG "accessible to more students as a central state instrument for financing studies" so that "finally more than the current eleven per cent of students benefit from Bafög again".

The Catholic dioceses with their university parishes and study support organisations are committed to ensuring broad access to higher education in our country with free counselling services, places in halls of residence and emergency support for international students.


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