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Financial Support for the Final Straight

A new course completion grant can help students through the difficult final phase

Freiburg, Mar 19, 2021

Suddenly falling ill before the exams, a lack of parental support, loss of a part-time job: sometimes things go wrong just before completing your studies. To help students out in situations like this, the friends of the university, Verband der Freunde der Universität Freiburg e.V., have now set up a new funding scheme alongside their Studienstarthilfe (Study Start Fund) and Studiennothilfe (Student Emergency Fund). Now, anyone who finds themselves in difficulties shortly before completing their studies can receive 500 euros monthly support for up to half a year. The grant is funded by the Maria Ladenburger Foundation, which is managed by the Verband der Freunde. Annette Hoffmann spoke with Prof. Dr. Hans Spada, the second chair of the association’s board, about the grant.

The course completion grant provides students with funding of 500 euros monthly for up to half a year. Photo: Sandra Meyndt

Professor Spada, does the Verband der Freunde receive reports on how students are doing?

Hans Spada: On the one hand we’re currently getting fewer applications for support from students on research projects abroad, because travel is practically impossible now of course. On the other, we’re getting more applications from students who are in hardship.

Transitional phases such as starting or ending studies can be particularly precarious. Is the Maria Ladenburger Foundation’s course completion grant in addition to the Study Start Fund and Student Emergency Fund?

Yes, so the University of Freiburg is very supportive of this course completion grant for students in hardship. The rector, Prof. Dr. Kerstin Krieglstein, emphasized this in the joint vote on the project.

What do students need to show to receive a grant?

They must through no fault of their own be in social hardship, which has arisen shortly before the end of their studies. It’s also important to have prospects of graduating successfully. We would like to steer the money to where it can have a positive effect. Anyone who wants to apply must describe their financial situation, provide evidence of course work and explain what they need to complete their studies. They also need to include a brief letter of recommendation from a professor.

Since the 1920s the Verband der Freunde has been actively engaged in student support. “There’s a strong tradition,” says Hans Spada. Photo: Patrick Seeger

Why is the Verband der Freunde getting involved here?

There’s a strong tradition. The association has been around since the 1920s, and since then it has been active in student support. We’ve been able to achieve positive things many times: Attending a conference can create career opportunities for someone if they’re giving a lecture on their thesis, for example; an internship can teach crucial skills for a job.

Why do you work together with the Studierendenwerk Freiburg-Schwarzwald, the Student Social Services?

The association can assess the course work, but not the financial situation. The Studierendenwerk checks this. It’s also often the first place that students go when they are in hardship.

The Maria Ladenburger Foundation is committed to integration. Is the course completion grant also a contribution to social diversity?

The Maria Ladenburger Foundation is a foundation which takes social aspects into account and also helps foreign students. The social aspects are the main thing, not the benefit. I think it’s great that this foundation in particular attempts to make an outstanding humanitarian contribution.


Verband der Freunde der Universität Freiburg e.V.

Maria Ladenburger Foundation


Submit an application

Students who want to apply for a course completion grant can send their application in electronic form to the Verband der Freunde: If you have any questions the office can be reached by telephone: +49 761 203-4406