A central point of contact is to be set up at the Studierendenwerk for Ukrainian students seeking refuge in Berlin. This is apparent from the response of State Secretary for Science Armaghan Naghipour to a request from CDU MP Adrian Grasse. So far, students – often still from Ukraine or on the run – have turned to individual universities.
Naghipour reports that at least 3,400 such requests from refugees in connection with the war in Ukraine have already reached universities and technical schools in Berlin.
It remains unclear how many have been admitted to regular study or visiting student programs. There are figures for FU with 16 specialist students, twelve exchange students and seven visiting students, for HU with six program students and for HWR with 40 visiting students.
The “interuniversity information and coordination office” planned by the Studierendenwerk, in which refugees should receive “quick orientation and preliminary advice”, is the most concrete state project to date, with which the new wave of requests information is processed. But here too, the following applies: the point of contact must be open to all refugees, whether they come from Ukraine or other crisis regions.
Current programs are continued and new ones are verified
Adrian Grasse, spokesman for university policy of the CDU parliamentary group in the House of Representatives, asked about state programs and, above all, about funds specifically intended for Ukrainian students. Naghipour refers to ongoing programs that are generally designed for applicants from refugee backgrounds.
[Eine Reportage über vier ukrainische Erasmus-Studierende bei Tagesspiegel Plus finden Sie hier]
For example, universities and universities of applied sciences have been implementing “numerous measures to integrate refugees into the standard university system for several years”. This is supported by an annual amount of 780,000 euros from the current scientific administration budget. Counseling and support services financed by this fund are “also open to refugees from Ukraine”.
This also applies to the emergency fund of the Studierendenwerk, from which all students who are in need through no fault of their own can apply for 1000 euros as a “grant to start their studies”. The universities’ own support funds, for which they constantly collect donations, are not mentioned.
“It is regrettable that the Senate apparently makes little effort to support the universities on the state side,” Grasse criticized for the Tagesspiegel. Red-Green-Red is “still in test mode” more than two months after the start of the aggression war.
grants ? There is basic security and soon Bafög
“Other countries are already much more advanced with special programs,” says Grasse. A statement by the MP shows that Hesse has increased its emergency fund for foreign students from 700,000 euros to two million euros so that Ukrainian students and scientists can continue their studies or academic careers with a scholarship.
Thuringia wants to pre-finance a similar fund in anticipation of a federal program. Baden-Württemberg is providing one million euros for emergency aid grants from a public foundation. And Lower Saxony waives university administration fees for all Ukrainians.
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The latter is also possible in Berlin and is already practiced, where social security contributions for the student union and the remuneration of the semester ticket must be excluded, as Naghipour explains. The secretary of state points out that it is also being determined whether universities need more public funds from the Senate pot for refugees because of the admission of Ukrainian students.
The German Rectors’ Conference (HRK) announced these “additional needs” across the country on Wednesday. The demand for language courses, technical preparatory courses and academic qualifications is increasing enormously, explained HRK boss Peter-André Alt after the general meeting.
There remains the question of scholarships. Here, Naghipour objects that funding for Ukrainians’ livelihoods is initially guaranteed by the Asylum Seekers’ Benefits Law and that they should receive basic security from June 1. The financing of studies is also basically the task of the federal government – via the Bafög. And now the federal government wants to open that up for Ukrainians.