First it was the employees' turn: they had already collected 300 euros in state "energy price lump sum" in September. In December, after great indignation of the affected associations, pensioners were also given 300 euros. And now, for the time being, it is young people's turn to be the last group: From this Wednesday, a total of 3.4 million students and vocational school students can apply for money via a state online portal – in their case only 200 euros per capita. However, one thing should particularly please those who finance their studies with part-time jobs: Even those who have received the 300 euros employee premium may also collect the premium for students.

Corinna Budras

Business correspondent in Berlin.

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Dietrich Creutzburg

Business correspondent in Berlin.

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All students who were enrolled at a university in Germany on 1 December 2022 and have their place of residence in Germany are eligible; the same applies to vocational school students. This also applies to students who are only here in Germany for a few semesters, because they also have to pay increased energy costs. The special benefit to cushion the upheavals caused by the Ukraine war is regulated in the "Student Energy Price Lump Sum Act", which costs the federal government almost 700 million euros.

The law is special not only because it has so far been unusual to distribute lump-sum income subsidies from the state treasury to certain population groups – and this without a means test, but with a demanding application procedure. With this law, however, it also combines pioneering work: The payment procedure for students should help to advance the digitization of public administration. Already now you can apply for the citizen or the parental allowance via this procedure. So far, however, very few do; the one-off payment for students is thus the first nationwide use of the digital process.

The safest procedure in the world

The basis for the payout is a digital BundID account. This has been around since 2019, but so far it has led a shadowy existence. Germany's "Chief Information Officer" Markus Richter praises BundID as the "most secure procedure in the world". Anyone who wants to apply for the one-time payment must set up such an account. This is possible on the Internet at the address This requires an identity card with a digital function, which every citizen in Germany now has – even if he does not know it. An associated PIN has also been handed out to everyone.

If the PIN has been lost, you can now easily order a new one during the registration process. This is then delivered by post – for safety's sake. Foreign students can also use their electronic residence title, EU identity or EU citizen card to register with the BundID account. In addition, the certificate for the digital tax return Elster is also a way to identify oneself digitally to the state. These can be scanned via an identification app on the smartphone, for example the AusweisApp2.

Many are not logged in

Interest in a BundID account has increased noticeably in recent weeks, with over 700,000 users now registered. Compared to the 3.4 million beneficiaries of the student one-time payment, however, this is only a fraction so far. There is no way around the BundID account.

From Wednesday onwards, students can start submitting their digital applications – but only if the university or educational institution has previously contacted us with the individual access data. But this should happen automatically, without having to worry about it. With this information, the actual application can then be made on the website To do this, you have to enter the access code, prove your identity via the BundID and fill out the online form. So that the money can be transferred quickly, you should also have the IBAN number of your bank account ready.

The procedure is so complicated because in the case of students, many different bodies are involved, including federal, state and higher education. In addition, there has been no established digital way to make payments from the state directly to individual citizens. In the case of payments to employees and pensioners, there had been easier ways for the state: In September, when it came to the 300 euros for employees, they simply used the administrative competence of the employers: They paid the money to the employees and could offset it in return with their wage tax payments to the tax offices. The payment of the premium for pensioners was then taken over by the pension insurance – in principle, she simply transferred 300 euros to each of her pensioners and got the money back from the state.

For students and pupils, there was no comparable administrative organization available that does the payout virtually at the push of a button. Therefore, it had to be an application procedure. Once the new procedure has proved successful, citizens will also use it for other services, so the hope. However, new lump-sum payments from the state treasury are not yet in sight.