" What Berlin is doing for Ukrainian students: “Other countries are much more developed with special programs” – Knowledge – smartapliences

What Berlin is doing for Ukrainian students: “Other countries are much more developed with special programs” – Knowledge

For those seeking asylum in Berlin from Ukraine, a central point of contact will be established at Studierendenwerk. This comes from the response of Secretary of State for Science Armagan Nagipur to a request by CDU MP Adrian Grass. Until now, students – often from Ukraine or on the run – have become independent universities.

Naghipur reports that at least 3,400 such searches from refugees related to the war in Ukraine have already reached Berlin’s universities and technical colleges.

It is not yet clear how many were enrolled in regular study courses or guest student programs. There are 16 specialist students for FU, 12 exchange students and seven visiting students, six program students for HU and 40 guest students for HWR.

The “interdisciplinary information and coordination office” designed by Studierendenwerk, where refugees should receive “rapid adaptation and initial counseling”, is by far the most specific state project with which new waves of research are being responded to. Here, too, the following applies: The point of contact should be open to all refugees, whether they come from Ukraine or other crisis areas.

Existing programs continue and new ones are tested

In the House of Representatives, Adrian Grass, university policy spokesman for the CDU parliamentary group, asked about state programs and, above all, funding specifically for Ukrainian students. Naghipur refers to ongoing programs that are typically designed for applicants with a refugee background.

[Eine Reportage über vier ukrainische Erasmus-Studierende bei Tagesspiegel Plus finden Sie hier]

For example, the University and the University of Applied Sciences have been implementing “numerous measures to integrate refugees into the university’s standard system” for several years. This is supported by an annual amount of 780,000 euros from the current budget of the science administration. Counseling and support services funded by it are “open to refugees from Ukraine”.

This also applies to the Studierendenwerk’s emergency fund, from which all students who are in dire need without any fault of their own can apply for 1000 euros as a “subsidy to start their studies”. The university’s own support fund, for which they collect grants on an ongoing basis, was not mentioned.

Welcome: Humboldt University hoisted the Ukrainian flag in March 2022 as a sign of solidarity.Photo: IMAGO / Christian Spicker

“It is unfortunate that the Senate is apparently making little effort to support universities on behalf of the state,” Grass criticized Taggespiegel. “Still in test mode” more than two months after the start of the red-green-red offensive war.

Grants? There is basic security and soon Bafög

“Other countries are already far ahead with special programs,” Grass said. A statement by the deputy showed that Hesse had increased its emergency fund for foreign students from 700,000 euros to 2 million euros so that Ukrainian students and scientists could continue their studies or university careers through scholarships.

Thuringia wants to pre-fund similar funds in anticipation of a federal program. Baden-Württemberg is providing one million euros in emergency aid grants from a state-owned foundation. And Lower Saxony waives the administrative fees of universities for all Ukrainians.

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The latter is also possible and is already being practiced in Berlin, where social contributions for student unions and semester ticket fees must be waived, as Naghipur explained. The Secretary of State stressed that the admission of students from Ukraine would determine whether more state funding would be needed from the Senate for university refugees.

The German Rectors Conference (HRK) on Wednesday announced such “additional needs” nationwide. Demand for this specialty has grown significantly as a result of recent corporate scandals.

The question of grants remains. Here Naghipur objects that the livelihood of Ukrainians is primarily protected by the Asylum Seekers Benefit Act and that they are expected to receive basic security from 1 June. Funding for the study is also basically the work of the federal government – through Bafög. And the federal government now wants to open it up for Ukrainians.

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