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Students report financial hit during pandemic


One in 10 could drop out over lack of part-time work and cheap loans

Every tenth student in Germany is considering dropping out of their studies next year due to a shortage of money caused by the coronavirus pandemic, a survey has found.

The study, conducted by the German Centre for Higher Education and Science Research (DZHW) and financed by the research ministry, found that 40 per cent of students that had worked before the pandemic were enduring economic difficulties this summer. This means 21 per cent of the total student body in Germany are struggling to pay bills, the centre said.

The survey was conducted online in June and August this year, and drew responses from 28,600 students at 23 universities and applied science universities.  

Before the pandemic, about 57 per cent of students supported themselves through jobs—mainly in the service industry, which has been badly hit by the pandemic. The loss of such jobs has affected international students particularly badly, the DZHW found.

But home students are also struggling. About one-third of respondents to the survey said the financial situation of their parents had worsened during months of repeated German-wide lockdowns to reduce the spread of coronavirus.

The majority of students who lost income have tried to compensate with their own savings, support from their family or other employment, the survey found. Some students have moved back into their parents’ homes to save money—but one in 10 reported that these measures may not be enough to allow them to continue their courses in 2021.

Despite this, only a small proportion of students have made use of governmental funding programmes targeted at bridging the pandemic, the survey found. The DZHW, however, did not speculate on the reasons behind this.