A central point of contact is to be set up at the Studierendenwerk for students from the Ukraine who are looking for refuge in Berlin. This emerges 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 while fleeing – have turned to individual universities.

Naghipour reports that at least 3,400 such inquiries from refugees in connection with the war in Ukraine have already reached Berlin universities and technical colleges.

It remains unclear how many were admitted to a regular course of study or guest student programs. There are figures for the FU with 16 specialist students, twelve exchange students and seven visiting students, for the HU with six program students and for the HWR with 40 guest students.

The “inter-university 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 inquiries is being responded to. But here, too, the following applies: the contact point should be open to all refugees, regardless of whether they come from Ukraine or from other crisis regions.

Adrian Grasse, university policy spokesman for the CDU parliamentary group in the House of Representatives, asked about state programs and, above all, about funds specifically for Ukrainian students. Naghipour refers to ongoing programs that were generally set up for applicants with a refugee background.

For example, universities and universities of applied sciences have been implementing “numerous measures to integrate refugees into the standard system of universities for several years”. This is supported with an annual 780,000 euros from the current budget of the science administration. The advisory and support services financed from this are “also open to refugees from Ukraine”.

This also applies to the emergency fund of the Studierendenwerk, from which all students who are in acute need through no fault of their own can apply for 1000 euros as a “subsidy to start their studies”. The universities’ own support funds, for which they collect donations on an ongoing basis, are not mentioned.

“It is unfortunate that the Senate is apparently making 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 aggressive war.

“Other countries are already much further ahead with special programs,” Grasse states. A statement by the deputy shows that Hesse has increased its emergency fund for foreign students by 700,000 euros to two million euros so that Ukrainian students and scientists can continue their studies or university 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 state-owned foundation. And Lower Saxony waives the administration fees of the universities for all Ukrainians.

The latter is also possible in Berlin and is already being practiced, whereby the social contributions for the student union and the remuneration for the semester ticket have to be excluded, as Naghipour explains. The State Secretary emphasizes that it is currently being determined whether the universities will need more state funds from the Senate pot for refugees due to the admission of students from Ukraine.

The German Rectors’ Conference (HRK) announced such “additional needs” nationwide 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.

The question of the grants remains. Here Naghipour objects that the financing of the livelihood for Ukrainians is initially secured by the Asylum Seekers Benefits Act and they will probably receive basic security from June 1st. The funding of studies is also fundamentally the task of the federal government – via the Bafög. And the federal government now wants to open that up to Ukrainians.



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