This is one question I find myself searching too, and I also need the answer. Thanks to an in-depth research on this issue, We have the answer now. In 2014, it made international news when Germany’s 16 states totally abolished tuition fees for undergraduate students at all public German universities. This is to say that both domestic and international undergraduates at public universities in Germany can study for free, with just a small fee to cover administration and other costs per semester, and tuition fee, totally free!.
This news was received with joy, as others pressure their countries to follow same route, but this good fortune did not last though. In December 2016, it was announced that the south-west state of Baden-Württemberg will commence the reintroduction of tuition fees for non-European Union students, starting from autumn 2017, and it’s possible other states will follow suit in the coming years, thereby abolishing the free tuition for students, both students from Germany and international students.
For now, the low fees certainly is helping massively in make Germany, an attractive option for prospective students, and the country has previously been ranked as the fourth most popular destination for international students in the world (after the United States, United Kingdom and Australia).
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Cost of living in Germany
Although it’s quite easy for many students to study in Germany for free, living expenses are unavoidable and you certainly must pay. The cost of living in Germany is more expensive in some areas than others, for example, Munich, is considered the most expensive German city to live in, with living costs averaging about €10,800 (~US$11,645) per year. By comparison, the average annual living costs in Germany are around €9,600 (give or take, about US$10,350).
While the fee for Rentwill honestly be your biggest monthly expense, though this is cheaper if you live in a shared flat (average rent of €298/~US$320 per month) or a student hall of residence (€240/~US$260 per month).
Based on data from DAAD, other average monthly costs are as follows below:
- €165 (~US$180) for food
- €52 (~US$56) for clothes
- €82 (~US$90) for transport
- €33 (~US$36) for telephone, internet and TV license
- €30 (~US$33) for work/study materials
- €68 (~US$73) for leisure activities
To ensure you have a more detailed information, and how to find living expenses for specific cities in Germany (and compare them to the average costs in your home city) Numbeo is a useful tool to use and check the specific cities and their costs.
Are you a citizen from an EU country, then you certainly don’t need a visa to study in Germany. If you are a citizen of Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway or Switzerland, you also do not need . Otherwise, expect to pay about €60 (~US$65) for your student visa, but there are also fee reductions or waivers for Schengen visas.
To commence the filling of the visa form and it’s requirements, you will need to show proof you have, or have access to, around €8,700 (~US$9,390) per year or €725 (~US$780) per month to cover your living costs.
For more information on getting a German student visa, see this article.
Likewise, before your visa will be approved, you will also need to show that you’ve got health insurance as a pre-condition of registering at a German university. If you’re a resident of a country within the EU or EEA, there should be a social security agreement between your country and Germany. The social security number means that if you have public health insurance, you should be covered in Germany as well (full list here).
However, if you have health insurance and it’s not covered or valid in Germany, expect to pay around €80 (~US$86) per month to cover the Health Insurance bill.
Undergraduate costs to study in Germany
Are you an undergraduate, the costs to study in Germany is quite different from that of a Postgraduate student, etc. Although you can study for free at any public German universities as an undergraduate, there is a charge per semester for enrollment, confirmation and administration. This is typically no more than €300 (~US$320) per semester, however, the prices varies depending on the university you’re enrolled in.
There may be an additional charge to purchase a “Semesterticket”, which covers public transport expenses for six months – the price varies depending upon which Semesterticket option you choose. Now, if you decided to exceed the standard period of study by more than four semesters, you may also face a long-term fee charge, which could be as much as €500 (~US$540) per semester in the institution you selected and you’re enrolled in.
However, the good news is that almost all universities in Germany are public. Private institutions are usually dependent on tuition fees for their funding (though some also receive support from foundations), and set their own fees, which can be anything up to €20,000 a year (~US$21,560).
According to the Federal Student Financial Aid Program (BAföG: Bundesausbildungsförderungsgesetz), the Federal Student Financial Aid Program can be used by both German nationals and EU students, as well as some foreigners under select conditions.
Generally, this aid is available to students who are under 30 years old (under 35 if you’re studying for a master’s degree), but exceptions can be made depending on circumstance. The BAföG is usually split in two, with 50% taking the form of a state grant and the other half being an interest-free loan that must be paid back in instalments when the maximum period of assistance expires.
Master’s and postgraduate costs to study in Germany
Taking the next step is answering this question. How much does it cost to study a Masters and Postgraduate Degree program in Germany?
Please take note that master’s degrees at German universities are usually free if they are classed as “consecutive” – i.e. following directly on from a related bachelor’s degree which is previously gained in Germany. Again, there is a small charge per semester for enrollment, confirmation and administration, plus a Semesterticket.
Please take note that tuition fees for “non-consecutive” master’s degrees, for those who have gained their bachelor’s degree elsewhere in the world, vary between universities and may be around €5,000 (~US$5,400) per year at public institutions and up to €30,000 (~US$32,410) at private German universities.
For example, One of the country’s (Germany) top-ranked institution, the Ruprecht-Karls-Universität Heidelberg, lists fees for non-consecutive master’s degrees ranging from €2,500 (US$2,700) per semester for a Master of Arts in American Studies up to €7,000 (US$7,560) per semester for a Master of Science in Health Economics.
At PhD level, you should take note that the tuition is once again free at all universities in Germany. or it usually is free for the first six semesters at least. As at all levels of study, PhD students are fully required to make a semester contribution of no more than €300 for administration and other costs.
For more details on studying a PhD in Germany, please Click here to read.
Scholarships to study in Germany
Here comes the best part about studying in Germany, and it’s their scholarship program, which has basically helped millions of international students study in the country almost for free. The German Academic Exchange Service, which is also known as the DAAD (Deutscher Akademischer Austausch Dienst), provides support for German and international students to gain funding to live and study in Germany for free or at a more affordable cost than the usual costs.
DAAD scholarships to study in Germany are offered to German and international students of all levels, as well as academics and researchers.
If you want more information on scholarships to study in Germany, PLEASE CLICK HERE