Education maintenance

According to German family law, children in education are entitled to maintenance from their parents even after their 18th birthday. There is no upper age limit for the claim to educational maintenance. With today's educational biographies, there are often detours, and students can still be entitled to maintenance even if they have completed other education, for example vocational training, before going to university.

Rights and duties

This entitlement to so-called educational maintenance exists up to a first vocational qualification appropriate to the child's aptitudes and abilities. Bachelor's and Master's degrees are generally regarded as a single qualification.

It applies that the children may decide on the form and content of the education themselves, but must then complete it quickly and in a goal-oriented manner. Parents must also be informed about the progress of the education.


The amount of maintenance - which may also be paid by the parents in the form of room and board - depends on the financial situation of the parents. The so-called Düsseldorfer Table or the so-called Süddeutsche Leitlinien (South German Guidelines) provide a point of reference for the maintenance needs of students. These are maintenance guidelines that do not have the force of law, but are observed by family courts in the event of maintenance disputes.

Basically, where there's no plaintiff, there's no judge - if students entitled to maintenance and parents obliged to pay maintenance are in agreement. However, if there are differences or disputes, it is advisable to seek advice. The Studierendenwerk's legal advice service can provide an initial assessment of the situation.

It may then be possible to come to an amicable arrangement by talking to the parents. If this is not possible, professional mediation may help. If the fronts are hardened, the only option is to take the parents to court. However, the mandatory first step before taking legal action is that the parents obliged to pay maintenance have been requested by the student entitled to maintenance to pay sufficient maintenance.

TIP: Students who fulfil all the formal requirements for BAföG receipt - i.e. have a claim on the merits - can alternatively take the BAföG advance benefit procedure. In this case, the maintenance claim against the parents is assigned to the BAföG office in the amount of the BAföG (advance) benefit. This amount is then paid out to the student by the BAföG office and claimed from the parents.

You should definitely seek detailed advice from the BAföG office on the advance payment procedure.

Child benefit for students

The parents of adult children are entitled to child benefit if the child is in training, which also includes studies. It is not relevant whether it is the first, second or third training:

The entitlement lasts until the month in which the child's 25th birthday falls. Child benefit is currently 250€ for each child.

The purpose of child benefit is to support the parents in securing the child's livelihood. It is therefore clear that the child benefit is due to the child, although it is usually paid to one parent. If the parents pay too little or no maintenance, then the so-called diversion can be applied for at the competent family benefits office. The child benefit is then transferred directly to the child.

Loss of entitlement possible due to working?

There is no income limit for child benefit, but the entitlement is lost if it is a second education and you also work more than 20 hours per week. An exception to this is a Master's degree - if this is closely related to the initial education in terms of subject matter and time, then it is counted as part of the initial education.

Entitlement during a leave of absence?

Child benefit can continue to flow even in the case of a leave of absence from studies if the studying child devotes himself/herself to the content of his/her studies, for example by studying abroad, doing an internship or preparing for exams at home. Child benefit also does not cease during a temporary interruption due to illness or the birth of a child. However, the entitlement to child benefit lapses in the case of a leave of absence with the reason of wanting to become more extensively involved in student bodies.