Digital target vision. Click dummy. Minimum Viable Product for the pilot phase. The BAföG application offers enormous digitalisation potential. We raise it.

It is one of the most important administrative services for young people: In 2018, 726,732 students received support under BAföG. When applying for assistance, the young target group often makes contact with government agencies for the first time and is confronted with complex forms and requirements: they have to find the right forms, fill in up to eight forms with several pages and provide the required evidence. And they have to do this every year.

OZG Digitalization Laboratory BAföG

What does the paperless, digital future of BAföG applications look like? This is the question we have been investigating in a digitalization laboratory together with BAföG experts from the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) and the federal states, student unions and BAföG recipients. The new uniform, user-friendly online service is to be piloted in selected federal states as a cross-state solution as early as 2020.


The first phase in this process has already been completed: In several agile and creative design sprints, our strategy consultants and UX designers moderated and structured the exchange between the stakeholders. In the user-centered conception process, a common target vision was developed, concrete solution ideas were discussed and an implementation perspective was agreed upon.

Students and parents tested the application's Klick-Dummy developed in the laboratory and provided valuable feedback for a particularly user-friendly and demand-oriented interaction interface. Young people with disabilities people with disabilities were also part of the extensive usability tests in order to identify barriers in the design approach.

"Everything in the area of BAföG works digitalized, without media disruption and independent of location in both directions. Applications must be simplified in such a way that all potential BAföG claimants become actual recipients."

– Target Vision Digitalization Laboratory BAföG


Simple questions in understandable language guide users through the maze of applications. Contextual help is provided to help them fill out the forms. Plausibility checks indicate incorrect entries.

The intelligent assistant guides you efficiently through the application. Parents and partners complete the application in a separate area. Application data is conveniently transferred to subsequent applications. Documents can be uploaded directly or downloaded via register

BAföG Digital informs about the current processing status of applications. Notifications if documents or application data are missing and must be subsequently submitted.

Clear and fresh. BAföG Digital comes with a contemporary information architecture and responsive layouts for use on all types of devices.


MVP implementation in the pilot phase

With the completion of the laboratory phase, the go-ahead was given for backend and frontend development. To enable BAföG Digital to go online nationwide by 2022 as a fully functional application platform with a uniform web front-end, the application will be developed as a Minimum Viable Product (MVP) and initially tested in pilot states. The basic version is currently being implemented in agile sprints and in close cooperation with the federal states. This will already contain all core functionalities for electronic applications: Application configurator, application assistant, document upload, data transfer to subsequent applications, user accounts for applicants and parents, connection to the federal user account.


The MVP creates the technical prerequisites for the safe and high-performance exchange of application data with BAföG Digital. This means that the application data can be transferred directly and without media disruption to the clerks' systems, which results in additional relief for the responsible administrative offices.

The cooperation of all federal levels in the BAföG Digital project is a good example of how a joint, cross-state and above all user-friendly digitalization of administrative services according to the Online Access Act (OZG) can succeed.

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Anne Pohl, ]init[ AG
Anne Pohl
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