Extension of standard period of study renewed

The renewal of the pandemic-related extension previously announced is now official: The winter semester 2021/22 will also be declared a pandemic semester.

All students who were enrolled in the 2020 summer semester and not on a leave of absence, will have their standard period of study extended by up to two semesters.

Students who only began studying in the 2020/21 winter semester, the standard period of study is extended by up to three semesters. 

And for those who did not begin their studies until the winter semester 2021/22, the standard period of study will be extended by a flat rate of one semester. 

On Saturday, 19 February 2022, the First Ordinance of Sächsisches Staatsministerium für Wissenschaft, Kultur und Tourismus (Saxon State Ministry for Science, Culture and Tourism), amending the Sächsische Regelstudienzeitverordnung (Saxon Ordinance on Standard Periods of Study) of 27 January 2022 came into force, with effect from 01 October 2021. As a result, the summer semester 2020, the winter semester 2020/21, the summer semester 2021 and the winter semester 2021/22 will be counted as "zero semesters" and deducted from the standard period of study. 

This change has a direct impact on the duration of BAföG funding. As a result, students can receive educational support for up to a maximum of four semesters longer. Also, the performance record with the usual performance of four subject semesters, which had to be submitted at the latest at the beginning of the fifth subject semester, is now due correspondingly later, in some circumstances up to four semesters later. 

The change applies to all students whose original standard period of study ended in the winter semester 2019/20 or later. However, students whose standard period of study ended in September 2019 or earlier are not covered. 


No action required from BAföG recipients

The Department for Grants will automatically take the extension of the standard period of study into account when processing applications for further funding. No additional documents are required. Students already receiving BAföG will not need to submit any explanatory statements or certificates from their higher education institutions.

Some students had already applied to have their higher education institutions not count the 2020 summer semester toward their standard period of study before there was talk of introducing an amendment. These students must now contact their higher education institutions to find out whether they need to revoke the application themselves or whether it will be automatically voided. In any case, not counting the summer semester 2020 has no effect on BAföG.


Second chance for rejected BAföG applications to be reviewed

Students whose BAföG application was rejected for the winter semester 2021/22 (e.g. because reasons for delay could not be recognised or because the subject area was changed after four semesters) and who have not appealed against the rejection decision should now submit an informal application for a review of the rejection decision to the BAföG Office..

Students who had previously assumed that they were not or no longer entitled to BAföG and did not submit an application should submit one as soon as possible. The necessary forms can be found on the BAföG website.


Performance records can wait

Students already receiving BAföG must present a performance record (form 5) from their higher education institution by the beginning of their fifth semester at the latest if they wish to continue receiving BAföG. Soon there will be changes to this deadline. The summer semester 2020, the winter semester 2020/21, the summer semester 2021 and the winter semester 2021/22 will in future be counted as "zero semesters" by the Department for Grants, irrespective of the classification by the university, and will therefore not be taken into account when counting semesters under funding law. This means that:

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... must submit, until the beginning of their ninth semester (instead of fifth), their positive performance record, with the usual achievements of four semesters of study, to the Department for Grants. The standard period of study/maximum period of funding will be extended by four semesters for these students according to § 114a para. 1 and para. 2 SächsHSFG.

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... must submit their positive performance record, with the usual achievements of four semesters of study, by the beginning of their eigth semester (instead of fifth). For these students, the standard period of study/maximum period of funding will be extended by two semesters according to § 114a para. 2 SächsHSFG.

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... must submit their positive performance record, with the usual achievements of four semesters of study, by the beginning of their sixth semester (instead of fifth). For these students, the standard period of study/maximum period of funding will be extended by one semester according to § 114a para. 2 SächsHSFG.


Questions?

The situation may be different for every student.

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The counsellors in the Department for Grants are available to answer any questions and can be contacted by phone.

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The full text of the amendment (Sec. 114a Extension of the Standard Period of Study due to the COVID-19 Pandemic) can be viewed in German on the website of the Free State of Saxony (German): https://www.revosax.sachsen.de/vorschrift/10562-Saechsisches-Hochschulfreiheitsgesetz#p114a

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Links for the application forms and further information


Examples and case studies

When extending the standard period of study, a differentiation must be made between students who, in the summer semester 2020, were already enrolled in the study course for which they wish to receive BAföG (case study 1) and students who began their studies in the winter semester 2020/21(case study 2), and the ones that just started their studies in wintersemester 2021/22 (case study 3).

No. 1: Students who were already enrolled in the 2020 summer semester

For these students the standard period of study is extended by three semesters. The following examples illustrate this: 

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aa) The following applies to students in bachelor’s degree programmes, State Examinati
on programmes and Diplom degree programmes:The deadline for submitting performance records in accordance with Sec. 48(1) BAföG has been extended by four semesters. Performance records showing that students have made the expected progress over the first four semesters of their course must now be submitted by the winter semester 2023/24 (ninth semester) at the latest. Any delay in progress does not need to be justified.

The standard period of study will be automatically extended without the need for further action. However, an application for further funding must be made in good time.

bb) The following applies to students in master’s degree programmes:
An application for further funding must be made to the Department for Grants in good time. The standard period of study will be automatically extended by four semesters without the need for further action. Performance records do not need to be provided at the beginning of the fifth semester.

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aa) The deadline for submitting performance records in accordance with Sec. 48(1) BAföG has been extended by four semesters. Performance records showing that students have made the expected progress over the first four semesters of their course must now be submitted by the winter semester 2022/23 (beginning of the ninth semester) at the latest. 

bb) The extension of the standard period of study is taken into account as part of the ex officio processing of applications for further funding. An additional application in addition to the required regular application for further funding does not have to be submitted.

cc) I have already submitted a positive performance record (§ 48 Para. 1 BAföG)

In this case, further funding will be provided until the end of the maximum funding period (do not forget to apply for further funding). The extension of the standard period of study by four semesters will be taken into account ex officio within the framework of an application for further funding if the course cannot be completed in time.

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aa) The extension of the regular period of study is taken into account ex officio within the framework of the processing of the applications for further funding. An additional application in addition to the required regular application for further funding does not have to be submitted.

bb) ) The application for funding from the winter semester 2021/22 onwards was only approved for six months (i.e. only until March 2022).

Since the regulation on not taking into account the winter semester 2021/22 only came into force on 19 February 2022, a differentiation must be made: 

If the notification of the decision on educational grants was made with the determination of the approval period of 6 months before 19 February 2022, the determination made therein is not objectionable. An extension of the fixed period is out of the question. An entitlement to benefits under the BAföG from April 2022 nevertheless exists. However, the extension of the standard period of study in the winter semester 2021/2022 can only be taken into account with the application for continued support. This application must be submitted to the Department of Grants in good time, i.e. no later than the month for which educational support is requested. 

No. 2: Students who began studying in the 2020/21 winter semester

For these students the standard period of study is extended by a maximum of three semesters. Please note the following:

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The extension of the maximum funding period by three semesters becomes relevant at the earliest at the beginning of the fifth semester or at the end of the originally existing standard period of study and is taken into account ex officio by the Department for Grants. An application for continued funding must be submitted before the end of the respective funding period.

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Performance records showing that students have made the expected progress over the first four semesters of their course must be therefore submitted four semesters later, by the beginning of the eighth semester of study (the summer semester 2024).

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If a student is admitted to the Master's degree programme although, for example, the assessment of the Bachelor's thesis is still outstanding, the standard period of study is extended ex officio by three semesters, provided that the student remains enrolled in the Master's degree programme.

No. 3: Studies commenced in the winter semester 2021/2022

In this case, the standard period of study is extended by one semester. For this purpose as follows:

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The extension of the maximum funding period by one semesters becomes relevant at the earliest at the beginning of the fifth semester or at the end of the originally existing standard period of study and is taken into account ex officio by the Department for Grants. An application for continued funding must be submitted before the end of the respective funding period.

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Performance records showing that students have made the expected progress over the first four semesters of their course must be therefore submitted one semesters later, by the beginning of the sixth semester of study (the summer semester 2024).

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If a student is admitted to the Master's degree programme although, for example, the assessment of the Bachelor's thesis is still outstanding, the standard period of study is extended ex officio by one semester, provided that the student remains enrolled in the Master's degree programme.