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Why students in Germany are still waiting for €200 energy payout

The Local Germany
The Local Germany - [email protected]
Why students in Germany are still waiting for €200 energy payout
Students enter a faculty building at the University of Wittenberg. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Sebastian Willnow

Students at Germany universities are struggling with the high cost of living - but it appears that the government's €200 relief payment will take longer than expected to arrive.

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When the latest inflation relief package was passed in December, the Education Ministry (BMBF) promised to work "hastily" on a new platform where students could apply for the payout.

"The payments can begin at the start of next year, so still in winter," said Education Minister Bettina Stark-Watzinger (FDP). 

But two weeks into 2023, there is still no sign that the platform is nearing completing or that a date for paying out the €200 is in sight.

READ ALSO: German students to get higher grants from winter 2022

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The German Student Union has been calling for the relief to be paid out as swiftly as possible, arguing that students are one of the groups that have been hit hardest by inflation and high energy costs. 

The €200 payment is a "crucial help", chairman Matthias Anbuhl told the Evangelical Press Service. It must now reach the next generation of academics "as soon as possible".

Anbuhl warned that students were facing "dramatic social hardship" in the current winter semester and said that many were also struggling to cover their living costs in the aftermath of the Covid pandemic. 

Relief measure

The so-called energy lump-sum for students was included in the government's latest inflation relief package back in September.

It follows similar payments for employees and pensioners to help with the soaring cost of living. 

Students claiming Bafög loans and grants are also due to receive a €345 bonus payment to cover their heating costs, following a €230 heating allowance that was paid out last year. 

However, with everyone in higher education at universities or vocational colleges due to receive the €200 lump-sum, the government is scrambling to put the necessary infrastructure in place.

READ ALSO: What students in Germany should know about the €200 energy payout

Unlike with pensioners or benefits recipients, there is no central record of the bank details and other important information about students in Germany. 

To tackle this issue, the Education Ministry wants to set up a centralised online platform where students can apply for the money by providing their details to the government. 

This has been one of the major causes of delays, along with arguments over who would be responsible for the payments out of the federal government and states.

"Currently, the BMBF is working intensively with the federal states to create a central application platform and digital structures from application to payment," a spokesperson for the Education Ministry told The Local, adding that the legislation for the payout only became law on December 21st. 

"Our goal is for the approximately 3.5 million young people to receive the €200 as quickly as possible.

"We will provide timely and comprehensive information on how and when applications can be submitted."

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