AStA and StuPa of JLU Giessen demand: Stop the KfW debt trap for students!

The interest rate increase by the KfW Bank represents an unbearable burden for students and increases social inequality: Studying must not be a question of social background! Due to the unplanned changes to the interest rate of the student loan, which are accompanied by a sharp increase in interest rates in general, students from different social backgrounds are starting their careers with high levels of debt. Despite the theoretical possibility of paying off interest on a monthly basis, this option is not feasible for many students. As a result, students inevitably fall into the debt trap.


The unchecked increase in interest rates by KfW Bank contradicts the social goal of giving all people, regardless of their social background, free and equal access to education and equal opportunities.

The KfW student loan was created as an instrument to support students with a weaker financial background.

The increase in interest rates is a sign that the Federal Government is treating education policy carelessly. Furthermore, students are being left alone with the responsibility of financing their studies.

According to the Centrums für Hochschulentwicklung (Centre for Higher Education Development, CHE), around 63,000 students in Germany receive money from a student loan or education fund. For many students, education is now associated with significantly higher costs due to the rise in interest rates.

The KfW student loan is based on the European reference interest rate Euribor. However, this is currently just 4.1 %. KfW Bank is currently adding a whopping 5 % to the Euribor interest rate.

The KfW Bank is arguing that it is taking a high risk due to the uncertainty of the borrower’s creditworthiness. Furthermore, it is only covering its own costs with the interest rate increase. The KfW Bank points out that the KfW loan can only be one component of student financing and mentions other components such as parents, part-time jobs and BAföG in this context.

What is forgotten, however, is that not all students can access these components. The KfW Bank’s statement emphasises the real inequality of opportunity for students who do not have the financial support of their parents. Furthermore, not all students can finance their studies through a part-time job. Student parents, for example, simply fall behind in this system.

It must not be the case that people in Germany have to drop out of their studies for financial reasons or do not even start them! The government already intervened in the KfW Bank’s interest rate hike in 2008. In addition, the interest rate was lowered to 0.0% during the COVID-19 pandemic. Now, according to the Ministry of Education, this is not possible because KfW Bank is an independent institution and the budgets do not allow it.

However, the coalition agreement between the coalition parties promised “education and opportunities for all”. This shows that there is a lack of political will.

We are therefore calling on the federal government to put its promise into practice, to invest more in education and to ensure that the higher education system is adequately and fairly funded. The Ministry of Education under the leadership of Bettina Stark-Watzinger must find a solution in cooperation with the KfW Bank. Talks alone will not help the students!


  1. Stop the debt trap now! The Federal Government must find a solution with KfW so that the effective interest rate falls below 5% again.
  2. Students need more predictability in student financing! We demand a stop to interest rate dynamisation every 6 months and a fixed interest rate for student loans!
  3. Create real equality of opportunity! BAföG funding must be further expanded. BAföG beneficiaries must not need loans to finance their daily lives.
  4. We demand a barrier-free information campaign on the KfW student loan and other funding options for student financing!

On behalf

Mark Müller, Niclas Goldbach, Gabriel Abdi

Department for Housing and Social Affairs of the AStA JLU Giessen

Note: The original German-language version is authoritative.

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