BAföG: change of study course course and achievements

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BAföG is granted for only one training. If you change your field of study, you start a new apprenticeship - and as a rule forfeit the right to a BAföG grant. However, there are some exceptions here as well. social-media-training

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Change of field - what to do?

If you wish to make a change of direction, you must either provide important or irrefutable reasons for this. In addition, you have to apply for the change of form without any formalities, and you should make a few thoughts for the reasoning.

In addition, as soon as you realize that you want to change, you should immediately stop the old course of studies. The following applies: the later the change, the more important is a good reasoning.

First degree, second degree, fee?

There are also, for example, the jurisdiction to observe. For example, in the case of a diploma program that is taken after the acquisition of a bachelor's degree, it is indeed a second course subject to a fee and not a free continuation study. This has the chamber of the administrative court Trier with judgment of the 19. March 2009 decided.

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The decision was based on the complaint of a student who had been called by the defendant University of Trier for her studies in the degree program Psychology to a tuition fee in the amount of 565 € per semester. In support of the decision, the defendant argued that the diploma course was a paid secondary course because the applicant had acquired her first professional qualification in Luxembourg in the form of a bachelor's degree in psychology.

Continue your studies or study again?

The plaintiff, on the other hand, took the view that the diploma program was merely a continuation of her bachelor's degree, which was already proven by the fact that the university had classified her as a semester student and classified her bachelor's degree as a preliminary diploma. It could not be detrimental to her that, at the time of her enrollment, no (study-fee-free) Master's degree program had been set up by the defendant.

On the other hand, the judges of the Chamber did not agree with this view. Rather, referring to the legal material, they stated that the Rhineland-Palatinate legislature had decided to design only a degree program leading to a first professional qualification free of charge. The only exception is a study in a consecutive, ie on the basis of the respective examination regulations successive Bachelor-Master program.

Tackling professional qualifications - also at BAföG

The lawmakers wanted to create an incentive for students to enroll for the new Bachelor's and Master's degree programs. Constitutional concerns about the legislator's decision to limit the exemption from studies at its universities to the extent necessary to achieve a professional qualification that enables them to participate in the labor market do not exist.

With her Bachelor's degree, however, the plaintiff had acquired a first professional qualification. The diploma program also does not represent a continuation of the Bachelor's degree course, because the Bachelor's / Master's degree programs and the diploma or Magister study programs are two fundamentally different systems whose structural mixing is not permitted. The bachelor's degree has an independent professional qualification profile compared to the diploma and master's degree, so that the diploma study is a second study for which tuition fees are payable.

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Important reasons for the change of subject

If you want to justify your application for important reasons, this change must be the first and take place within the first three semesters. The number of semesters is fully calculated for the promotion period. Important reasons are:

  • If you find that the previous studies do not correspond to your interests and expectations
  • Lack of fitness: If you are not suitable for this course of studies, for example, because you do not pass several examinations. However, the reason for this should not lie in your lack of intellectual abilities, that is, you should give the BAföG office credible credibility that you will perform better in your new course.
  • Park study: You really wanted to study a numerus-Clausus subject from the beginning and have only studied something else because you wanted to bridge waiting times, but you still have a certain willingness to bring along. For this, however, you must also continually strive for your wish study program.

Undeniable reasons

A change for irrefutable reasons can be made at any time and also a second time. With every change of subject for irrefutable reasons, the maximum funding period begins again. As irrefutable reasons, however, are recognized those who leave you no choice to continue this study or not - for example, because of a mental or physical handicap.

No recognized reasons

The justification for a change in the direction of a trade is, for example, not recognized:

  • Worsening of career prospects
  • the general study situation
  • a change of residence
  • a double study

Tips for justifying your application

If you submit an informal application to the BAföG office for a change of subject, this should include the following points in order to convince the BAföG office:

  • why you have begun in detail with original studies
  • Why you must / want to stop this study - here you should give comprehensible reasons and attach supporting documents
  • Why you think you should make the right choice with the new degree course - you should also think and formulate this justification

Shift in focus

There is, however, another way to change the direction of education without changing the focus of your BAföG office: a shift in focus.

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What is a shift in focus?

Some changes are also acknowledged as a shift in focus - the regulations allow some room for interpretation. This offers the advantage that you can theoretically make this shift of focus at any time and as often as you like. In practice, however, you have to calculate that you should have completed the basic studies with the fourth semester - and that, of course, the maximum funding period continues. Therefore, a change of subject in a particular case may be more appropriate.


If your change is to be recognized as a shift in focus, you must consider the following:

  • You can submit a certificate from the student secretariat or your dean's office, according to which the achievements so far are fully recognized in the old course of study. The number of semesters does not change.
  • If you are studying with a Master's degree, you can change your secondary courses and declare to the BAföG Office in writing that this exchange will not lead to any loss of time. Although there is actually a change in the direction of the subject, this is acknowledged here as an emphasis shift.
  • A further possibility is to change to a similar course of study, whose contents, examination regulations, etc., are identical with the old course of studies up to the change. The study achievements are also fully taken into account, the number of semesters does not change.

Study break or interruption

Logically, BAföG funding ends when students drop out of university. But even if you only want to interrupt your studies in order to continue your studies later, you will forfeit your entitlement to funding, since the drop in the study period also counts as a discontinuation of training. The situation is different if you have canceled your studies for important or unavoidable reasons - then you can continue to receive BAföG. However, if you do not have these reasons, you have the option of continuing your studies under certain conditions for further education.

Proof of achievement during the studies

Even if you do not change your study course, you have to fulfill certain requirements: You must prove with the fifth semester that your studies are successful and that you have passed the intermediate diploma or intermediate examination.

The form in which performance must be provided

As a rule, proof of performance is provided with the intermediate or intermediate examination certificate. However, it is not possible to make a general rule on the type of proof of achievement as this varies according to the subject. In addition, the 5 form (see reapplication application form) must be filled out by the university or by the lecturers of the relevant departments.

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Caution: You must have completed the services before the beginning of the fifth semester, otherwise you will not receive BAföG anymore. And even if you apply for BAföG for the first time in the fifth semester, you have to prove your previous studies.

When proof of performance is possible later

There are, however, a number of reasons which are accepted as reasons why you have not yet been able to provide the required proof of achievement in the semester.

These include:

  • They had to learn a language that is necessary for their studies. However, the language is not allowed Sense of studying! One semester is recognized for each language.
  • Disability or illness, if this does not affect the study for more than three months (otherwise you would have to be on leave!). A medical certificate is necessary. There is a semester delay per semester delay.
  • Pregnancy or child rearing as the cause of study retardation
  • Military or civilian service during their studies
  • stay abroad
  • Political or social engagement in the form of cooperation in legally prescribed student bodies (Asta, Senate, etc.)
  • Illness of the examiner
  • Subsequent approval by Numerus Clausus
  • For the first time there is no intermediate examination / Vordiplom

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