How to organize your studies as a caregiver
Universität Hamburg provides various family-friendly organizational schemes for students caught in difficult circumstance. The University aims to ensure that students with familial duties will complete their studies successfully.
Individual factors determine whether your hardship application for enrollment can be approved. Likewise, students applying for academic leave or part-time studies in order to take care of a relative have to fulfill specific requirements. In addition, family-friendly course scheduling options may vary according to the respective department.
We recommend that you seek comprehensive advice regarding your individual situation!
Please see advising options for diverse service contacts.
We have compiled crucial information to help you organize your studies in a family-friendly way.
Students on academic leave in order to take care of a relative can be re-enrolled without a repeated admission procedure: In succession to a deferment of up to six semesters, you must re-enroll for the second semester (at the latest!) after your caring responsibilies have ceased.
Apart from academic leave for one or more semesters and part-time studies, you can also apply for a withdrawal from the University for a maximum period of six semesters in order to take care of an immediate relative.
Applications can be submitted at any time, but not retroactively. Re-enrollment is possible without a repeated admission procedure.
Please note: A withdrawal can have a major financial impact and result in:
- Loss of the student status with ramifications as regards student assistent jobs
- Loss of the student satus in connection with payment of social security contributions and taxes
- Loss of the semester public transport pass
- Loss of the child benefits for the student
- The student's parents will lose the allowable deduction
- Loss of BAföG eligiblility
- Changes as regards the period and amount of child benefits
Furthermore, a withdrawal may necessitate major organizational adjustments. Re-enrollment stipulates the most recent degree program regulations. These may differ greatly from the regulations upon your first enrollment, including changes as regards curricula and exam regulations.
It is important that you prepare yourself for all consequences before applying for a withdrawal! The respective academic offices and Campus Center's Student Affairs Team will gladly provide assistance with this decision.
The application for withdrawal, if and where necessary to be submitted with the student ID and the semester public transport pass, is available here:
Hardship application and preferential admission for caregivers
University applicants who are taking care of immediate relatives and must therefore stay in Hamburg to study can apply for hardship admission (7.5 % of allocated admissions).
Your hardship application must document your specific hardship level. The following documents must be submitted:
- An informal written statement establishing your hardship case, specifying e.g., when you became a caregiver, what type of care situation and expenditure of time, etc.
- a medical report explaining the type of disease or disability of the person being cared for as well as the daily extent of your care and nursing activities.
Proof thereof has to be submitted together with the printed out hardship application after sending the latter off electronically. Upon your admittance you must submit either original documents or certified copies!
- Information on hardship applications: Special applications (PDF, in German only)
Preferential admission is a compensatory measure. No applicant shall be put at a disadvantage due to service periods (e.g., military service or Federal Volunteer Service), care periods for a child below the age of eighteen ( the maximum care period allowed is three years) or care for a relative. Periods of caregiving and pregnancy also factor in determining the waiting period. However, they are only relevant for admission to the first subject semester.
- Information about preferential admission: Studies and services
Preferential admission guarantees the allocation of a place to study. In case you could not be admitted despite caring for a relative, you will be enrollment in a later semester without having to apply anew.
- We recommend that you seek comprehensive advice! CampusCenter offers extensive advising on all questions concerninig hardship applications, preferential admission and the guarantee of admission.
Problems due to taking care of a relative in need may be accepted as a reason for delayed re-enrollment. Fees for late re-enrollment are included in our current service fee list.
Caregiving students can apply for part-time studies. As part-time studies deviate from the dates and due dates of the University's exam regulations, one part-time semester equals two regular semesters. Thus, part-time study applications always encompass two successive semesters.
- Details are specified in the respective University examination regulations. Please also see Universität Hamburg's handout on part-time studies.
Part-time study applications for two successive semesters must be submitted together with the admission application or rather upon re-enrollment. Repeat applications are permissible. You must notify the University immediately about any status change, e.g., if your childcare obligations discontinue due to a separation, etc.
Applications can be submitted via STiNE or in informal letter format to Campus Center upon re-enrollment. Applicants must provide proof for their need to study part-time such as medical evaluations, etc.
IMPORTANT: Part-time students are not eligible for BAföG funding!
IMPORTANT: Part-time students must pay the full semester contribution!
- We recommend that you seek advising at BeSI–Counseling Center for Social and International Affairs.
- Campus Center also provides information about part-time studies.
Students whose caregiver function prevents them from dedicating at least half of their weekly working hours to their studies can apply for an academic leave period of up to six semesters. Academic leave is not possible during the first subject semester. Academic leave semesters do not count as subject semesters as regards limits pertaining to regular periods of study or other statutory periods.
Semester contribution payments are mandatory during academic leave.
IMPORTANT: Academic leave effects a change of status and must be reported immediately to authorities such as BAföG office, registration office for foreigners, and child benefit offices. Benefits may be terminated due to loss of eligibility, as soon as your student status changes!
Please seek advice! Student status change
In accordance with § 6 (5) of Universität Hamburg's Enrollment Regulations, academic leave periods do not allow for the completion of coursework. Exceptions are: Repeat examinations of exams which you failed in previous semesters, coursework and exams begun in the semester prior to the academic leave, exams for which you registered before the reason for your academic leave existed, exams connected with study periods at other German and international universities, and degree completion exams.
The application period for the summer semester commences 1 April, in the winter semester 1 October. Retroactive application may be possible in individual cases.
An electronic application form for academic leave is available in your STiNE account in the section "Studium/Anträge (studies/applications)." Please submit your completed application together with supporting proof e.g., your child's birth certificate, to the Student Affairs Team of the Services for Students.
The Student Affairs Team of the Services for Students also provides further information on applications for academic leave.