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Achtung!

Die Beantwortung dieser Fragen zur Covid-19-Studienförderungsverordnung basiert auf einer rechtlichen Ersteinschätzung der Juristinnen des Referates für Sozialpolitik. Da noch ungewiss ist, wie die Behörden und Gerichte die Verordnung im weiteren Verlauf auslegen werden, können noch keine letztgültigen Aussagen getroffen werden.

ATTENTION!

The answers given in the following FAQs about the COVID-19 directives concerning the student support act are based upon the initial assessment of the legal experts from the office for social policy of the ÖH. It is not yet clear how courts and public authorities will interpret and construe the regulations and therefore, it is not possible to give a definite legal interpretation at this point. Certain details might also be lost in translation - for any legal references please refer to the german version of the regulations. In the following text the COVID-19 directives concerning the student support act will be referred to under its German abbreviation “C-StudFV”, the student support act will be abbreviated as “StufFV”.

English FAQs Student Support Act

WHERE CAN I FIND THE LEGAL DOCUMENTS?

COVID-19-Studienförderungsverordnung – C-StudFV

Please note, that they haven‘t been translated yet and are only available in German (as per May 9, 2020).

TO RECEIVE THE STUDENT GRANT IN SS I NEED TO PROOF THAT I COMPLETED A TOTAL OF 20/ 30/ 90 ECTS-CREDITS DURING MY PREVIOUS SEMESTERS OR AT THE LATEST UNTIL 05/15 , 2020. HAS THE DEADLINE TO FILE THE REQUIRED PERFORMANCE RECORDS BEEN EXTENDED?

According to the directives: Yes! §3 Abs C-StuFV roughly states: “If a student continued his/ her studies in summer semester 2020, the period to proof an required academic success will be extended by an additional semester. This also applies to students that need to provide the required performance records of previous semesters to continue to receive funding in summer semester 2020.

According to our estimations: If a student had to complete a total of 30 ECTS-credits until the 15th of May to continue to receive funding in the summer semester 2020, he/ she has now an additional semester to complete the required amount of ECTS-credits.

IF I WANT TO RECEIVE THE STUDY GRANT DURING THE WINTER SEMESTER 2020/21 I NEED TO PROVIDE PROOF OF COMPLETING THE REQUIRED 20/ 30/ 90 ECTS-CREDITS BY DECEMBER 15, 2020. HAS THIS DEADLINE BEEN EXTENDED BY ANOTHER SEMESTER?

According to the directives: Yes. The deadline to provide the required amount of ECTS-credits has been extended by an additional semester.

I RECEIVE THE STUDY GRANT DURING THIS SEMESTER (SUMMER SEMESTER 2020). WILL I BE AUTOMATICALLY ELIGIBLE TO RECEIVE FUNDING DURING THE NEXT SEMESTER?

According to the directives: Yes. §3 Abs 2 C-StudFV roughly states: “ If a student hasn’t surpassed the legal minimum duration of his/ her studies (§18 StudFG) or the legally defined additional semesters of tolerance (§19 StudFG), the maximum time limit to receive funding will be extended by an additional semester.

I’VE READ SOMEWHERE THAT STUDENTS WHO RECEIVED THE STUDY GRANT DURING THE WINTER SEMESTER OF 2019/20 WILL AUTOMATICALLY BE ELIGIBLE TO RECEIVE FUNDING DURING THE SUMMER SEMESTER 2020 - IS THIS TRUE?

No. In this respective, measurements previously announced by the government where not implemented. If the eligibility period for the study grant ended with winter semester 2019/ 2020, the student will not be able to receive additional funding.

OUT OF SOME IMPORTANT REASON (E.G.: SICKNESS, CHILDCARE, ETC.) I STILL RECEIVED THE STUDY GRANT DURING MY 8TH SEMESTER. AM I AUTOMATICALLY ELIGIBLE TO RECEIVE FUNDING DURING THE NEXT SEMESTER?

Example: During my bachelor studies I received the regular student grant for seven semesters. Even though I’ve reached my 8th semester now, I am still eligible to receive funding because I had an important reason that obstructed me from continuing my studies (e.g.: because of sickness, volunteered for the ÖH, childcare, medical care of relatives, etc.). Am I automatically eligible to receive funding during the winter semester 2020 as well?

According to the directives: Yes. § 3 Abs 2 C-StuFV roughly states: “If a student hasn’t surpassed the legal minimum duration of his/ her studies (§18 StudFG) or the legally defined additional semesters of tolerance (§19 StudFG), the maximum time limit to receive funding will be extended by an additional semester.

I‘VE HEARD ABOUT THE NEUTRAL SEMESTER. DOES THIS MEAN THAT I CAN STILL RECEIVE THE STUDY GRANT DURING THE SUMMER SEMESTER 2020, EVEN IF MY UNIVERSITY IS CLOSED AND THERE IS NO WAY OF COMPLETING EXAMS OR LECTURES?

According to the directives: Yes. § 2 C-StuFV roughly states: “If a student was eligible to receive funding in summer semester 2020, the eligibility of the student will be maintained, even if the applicant is obstructed from continuing his/ her studies due to the measurements taken by the higher academic institution as a consequence of the COVID-19 pandemic.” The received study grant will not be refunded in the future.

I’VE HEARED ABOUT THE NEUTRAL SEMESTER. DOES THIS MEAN, THAT I WILL AUTOMATICALLY RECEIVE THE STUDY GRANT IN SUMMER SEMESTER 2020, EVEN IF I DO NOT PARTAKE IN LECTURES/ EXAMS/ ETC. THAT MY DEGREE PROGRAM IS OFFERING RIGHT NOW?

A. Because I want to use the neutral semester to pursue other things than studying
B. I need to take care and provide for a child. Because my children are at home all day I am unable to partake in online courses or exams.

In case of A.: No. We highly recommend to take advantage of all available lectures and courses as the COVID-19 regulations state that the student must still be in pursuit of his/ her studies for the extended deadlines to apply. That means that the extended period of providing the required performance records will only be extended if the student was obstructed from continuing his/ her studies by causes related to the higher academic institution itself (cancelled lectures and exams, etc.).
If the student still has the possibility to complete lectures and/ or exams at his/ her higher academic institution (e.g.: through alternative examination methods like essays instead of exams, online examinations, etc.) and chooses not to partake in those out of any reasons, repayment claims might arise.

In case of B.: Unfortunately, the answer is also No as the same issues as in case A apply. The § 2 C-StudFV roughly states: “The entitlement to receive the student grant in summer semester 2020 remains, even if the students was unable to continue his/ her studies as planned due to measurements taken by the academic institutions as a consequence of the COVID-19 pandemic.”
If the student was unable to continue his/ her studies because he/ she had to take care of a relative or children, the university itself is not at fault of the obstruction to the academic success of the student and therefore, repayment claims might occur.
Knowing fully well that it is a lot to ask for, we recommend that every student takes advantage of the lectures/ exams that their study program offers right now.
Excluded from this condition is the graduation scholarship (§ 3 Abs 4 C-StudFV) where the funding period can be extended by another semester if the student was obligated to take care of a relative/ child.

DOES THE NEUTRAL SEMESTER MEAN THAT I’M ALLOWED TO CHANGE MY STUDY PROGRAM IN WS 2020/21, AS I AM NOT YET SURE WHICH PROGRAM TO CHOOSE?

Full Question: AS I AM IN MY THIRD SEMESTER RIGHT NOW AND WANT TO CHANGE MY DEGREE PROGRAM, I’D NEED TO DO SO THIS SS 2020 TO CONTINUE TO RECEIVE FUNDING. DOES THE NEUTRAL SEMESTER MEAN THAT I’M ALLOWED TO CHANGE MY STUDY PROGRAM IN WS 2020/21, AS I AM NOT YET SURE WHICH PROGRAM TO CHOOSE?

According to the directives: Yes. §3 Abs 6 C-StudFV roughly states: “The summer semester 2020 will be left out of consideration if a student wants to change his/ her study program (§ 17 Abs 1 Z 2 and Abs 3 StudFG)”.
To continue to receive several subsidies (family allowance, student grant, etc.), a change of study program has to be done before the third semester of enrollment to the current degree program has passed. Otherwise a delayed change of a degree program applies, meaning that it if a student changes his/ her degree program after more than three semesters, the student has to provide an minimum amount of ECTS-credits in the new program before being eligible to receive further funding.

I RECEIVE THE FAMILY ALLOWANCE/ EDUCATION BENEFITS/ ORPHANS PENSION/ HAVE A MAINTENANCE CLAIM/ RECEIVE STUDENT INSURANCE/ AM CO-INSURED WITH MY PARENTS. DOES THE NEUTRAL SEMESTER HAVE ANY INFLUENCE OVER THIS?

No. The C-StudFV only applies to the subsidies referred to under the student support act (e.g.: scholarship of individuals who earn their own livelihood, mobility grand, graduation scholarship, etc.). There are still some missing legal regulations concerning the problems that student have to face due to the pandemic and its consequences for higher academic institutions. If you have issues or need legal counseling, please feel free to contact the office for social policy of the ÖH: sozial@oeh.ac.at