What are the funding alternatives to a scholarship?
In addition to scholarships, there are independent contractor agreements, fee agreements, and subsidies for visiting scholars.
As a rule, contracts should be offered for longer-term research work; the same is true if there is a preference for earmarking funding for this purpose.
How are scholarship and qualification level linked?
The qualification level that needs to be demonstrated is determined by the provider. For tax-exempt scholarships, the qualification level usually determines the scholarship amount.
Qualification levels: when are doctoral studies considered to be completed?
The doctoral procedure is divided into three phases: the coursework, the examination, and the conferral of the degree (diploma is awarded). Graduation constitutes the completion of education and professional development as part of doctoral studies, and the candidates are deemed to have proven their ability for scholarship and academic work. A research or post-doctoral grant may be awarded on the basis of these abilities, but does not constitute part of the conferral of the degree.
How is the funding amount determined?
For tax purposes, scholarship amounts may cover only material needs or living expenses if they are to remain tax-exempt. The legal framework is the directive that governs the awarding of the given scholarship.
As long as there are no other regulations in the provider’s directive, the sentences used in the appendix to the guidelines apply for Universität Hamburg. They are based on the current requirements in the German federal training assistance act (Bundesgesetz über individuelle Förderung der Ausbildung, BAföG), the German Research Foundation (DFG), and the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation.
Does the increase in funding rates under the German Federal Education and Training Assistance Act (BAföG) affect qualification scholarhips?
Yes, the monthly funding rate for qualification scholarhips is calaculated according to the maximum rate under the German Federal Education and Training Assistance Act (BAföG). The 27th BAföG amendment act announced in the Federal Law Gazette on 21 July 2022, increased the maximum funding rate from €861 to €934, from Winter Semester 2022/23. As a result, the monthly funding amount for qualification scholarships will increase to €934 from 1 October 2022.
What do I need to observe with regard to part-time jobs and earning money on the side?
If you earn money above and beyond the scholarship, see the requirements set forth in the respective directive. If you exceed limitations, or due to your individual income, there may be tax- or benefits-related consequences.
Part-time jobs may also be permissible within limits. You can find the regulations in the directive in question; some regulations may concern the duration and the hours of the part-time job.
How are vacation and working times handled for scholarships?
Recipients are not subject to employment obligations (further affecting vacation entitlements and the obligation to be present); rather, they are subject to the provider’s directives or Universität Hamburg’s directive (e.g., regarding absences due to illness or temporary interruptions for family reasons).
What labor laws apply to recipients?
A scholarship does not constitute an employment relationship or membership in an organization.
The rights and duties of employees do not apply to scholarship recipients. Recipients may not be required to do any work during their scholarship that is not directly related to the purpose of the scholarship.
How does a scholarship affect enrollment?
Recipients are not automatically enrolled by virtue of receiving a scholarship; however, they may be independently enrolled (e.g., as a student or doctoral researcher at Universität Hamburg). Some scholarship programs require enrollment.
What are the regulations governing the use of IT services for scholarship recipients at Universität Hamburg?
Recipients can use the IT infrastructure only by logging in with a username assigned by the University or Regional Computing Center.
Staff and students are automatically provided with a personal University username. Visiting scholars and former members of the University must apply for their personal username separately.
What are the regulations governing the use of libraries for scholarship recipients at Universität Hamburg?
Borrowing or ordering books for use in the reference rooms is possible only with a library card. This also applies to the use of computers with internet access in the libraries and the remote use of electronic media.
Is there a distinction made between scholarship recipients and visiting scholars?
A scholarship is a formal funding agreement that lends either immaterial or financial support. It is awarded by the provider responsible for the project.
Stays by visiting scholars are based on visiting-scholar status agreements, which are awarded by the given organizational body (generally the offices of the dean in the hosting faculty). The funding for stays by visiting scholars is awarded through an agreement between offices responsible for the project.
Who is responsible for the use of resources?
The project organizer or supervisor is responsible for defining the use of resources. They are responsible for evaluating whether a workstation, equipment, and materials must be provided to allow the grant-holders’ proposal be conducted.
Rights and duties
When does the University’s directive on awarding scholarships apply?
The University’s directive applies to scholarships awarded by the University or in cases where there are no clear regulations in place. In other cases, the directives set forth by the given scholarship provider or in the given scholarship program apply.
What requirements and obligations do the recipient have?
A recipient’s duties are set forth in the given scholarship program or agreement.
Are there general rules about the rights to the findings that emerge during a scholarship?
Generally, the rights to the findings appertain to the recipient. Depending on the scholarship program or scholarship agreement, there may be requirements regarding rights of use for the results.
What organizational ties does a recipient have?
Recipients are not members of Universität Hamburg unless they are enrolled at or are doctoral researchers at the University. An association with the organization is based on the relationship to the supervisor or mentor in question.
Insurance and tax
What do recipients need to observe with regard to health insurance?
According to the University’s directive, scholarship recipients must have health insurance.
What about social security obligations?
A scholarship does not constitute a wage or salary pursuant to Section 14 of the German Social Security Code, Book IV; therefore, recipients are not required to contribute to social security.
No insurance coverage is associated with the status of scholarship recipient.
Do grant holders have accident coverage insurance?
This depends on whether the grant holder is enrolled. Enrolled students and doctoral researchers at Universität Hamburg have accident insurance coverage under Section 2 subsection 1 number 8 German Social Security Code (Sozialgesetzbuch VII, SGB VII). The accident insurance coverage is with Unfallkasse Nord. This insurance covers activities that Scholarship Holders engage in as part of their studies/research within the content and organizational areas of responsibility administered by the University (e.g., participation in laboratory internships, compulsory lectures, colloquia, examinations, tutorials, presentations, library visits). Students and doctoral researchers are not covered however when engaged writing their thesis as this constitutes a self-employed activity.
What about taxes, particularly income tax?
Scholarships or study subsidies may be seen as taxable and recurring payments; a scholarship is tax-exempt, for example, if the requirements pursuant to Section 3 number 44 of the German Income Tax Act (EStG) have been met. As a rule, it is not subject to the exemption-without-progression method pursuant to Section 32b EstG.
If the scholarship is awarded to further research goals, it is often tax-exempt.
And if scholarships are awarded pursuant to the University’s directive and the recipient’s other income does not exceed standard rates, it can be assumed that the scholarship is tax-exempt.
However, the decision is made by the tax office and not by the University. The tax office responsible for the recipient provides a binding decision in cases of doubt and at the request of the recipient.
Awarding of scholarships
What, officially, is a “scholarship”?
Scholarships involve individual, voluntary support by third parties; they are awarded for selfless motives and do not require any kind of return.
What is the purpose of a scholarship?
Scholarships should provide material and moral support in the service of research or academic or artistic education and training.
What kind of scholarships are there?
Scholarships pursuant to the University’s directive include scholarships that enable students to complete bachelor’s or master’s theses for their degree programs, doctoral or Habilitation scholarships, postdoctoral or research scholarships, and scholarships for academic career development or international (research) cooperation.
Depending on the directive, scholarships can also be awarded for material costs (such as travel and conferences) or for continuing education and further training expenses.
When is a scholarship agreement necessary and what should it include?
The basis of scholarship funding is a civil-law-based agreement between the recipient and the funding provider; it should detail the material and moral obligations.
The funding agreement generally includes the recipient’s personal information (such as name, address, date of birth, banking information, tax office, tax ID number), information about the type and purpose of the funding, and the length and amount of funding. Furthermore, it governs the recipient’s duties, explains the tax, social security, and employment legalities, and defines revocation/termination clauses with information on reimbursement obligations.
How are scholarships awarded?
Providers make the decision on awarding scholarships. Scholarships can be awarded via a one-page grant letter or a 2-page contract. In both cases, the administrative body responsible issues the letter and, in the case of contracts, must obtain the legally binding signatures.