Study in Germany: A Pocket-Friendly Choice for International Students
Germany has become a top choice for international students seeking higher education due to its affordable living costs and tuition-free education at public universities. Ranked among the five most popular study destinations globally, Germany is known for its excellent higher education system, comprehensive study programs, and welcoming study environment. With over 400,000 international students from diverse backgrounds, including India, Bangladesh, Nepal, Pakistan, Iran, Iraq, and countries from South America and Africa, Germany offers a vibrant and multicultural experience.
Students often finance their education through scholarships, savings, and part-time jobs, making Germany an ideal destination for pursuing higher education qualifications. With this comprehensive guide on Study in Germany: Affordable Education for International Students you’ll be able to make an informed decision about pursuing higher education in Germany.
Understanding Tuition Fees and Living Costs in Germany
One of the main reasons why Germany attracts international students is its low cost of living and tuition-free education at public universities. Since 2014, the government has abolished tuition fees for public universities, making higher education accessible to students worldwide. This policy has significantly increased international enrollment, with over 400,000 foreign students currently studying in Germany.
In 2017, some German regions reintroduced tuition fees for non-EU students, with a rate of around 1,500 EUR/semester. Despite this, the cost of studying in Germany remains much lower than in other popular study destinations. Administrative fees, known as “semester contributions,” include student union, public transport, and other administrative costs, typically not exceeding 300 EUR/semester.
Private universities charge tuition fees ranging from 25,000 to 40,000 EUR/year, depending on the degree level and study program. However, public universities continue to offer tuition-free, high-quality education, making Germany an affordable option for higher education.
Affordable Private University Tuition Fees in Germany
While public universities in Germany are tuition-free, private universities charge tuition fees that vary depending on the institution and program. MBA and Engineering degrees are typically the most expensive programs at private universities. Annual tuition fees for private universities in Germany range from €1,400 to €30,000. However, many private universities offer reduced fees to students meeting certain criteria, such as financial need. Some private universities only charge administrative fees. Compared to other study destinations, attending private universities in Germany remains relatively affordable. Below is a list of private universities in Germany and their average tuition fees.
Bard College Berlin – €28,700
CODE University of Applied Sciences – €9,800
EBC Hochschule – €10,000
Friedensau Adventist University – €3,500 (with a range from €1,200 to €4,900)
GISMA Business School – €20,000 (with a range from €3,000 to €33,000)
Hertie School of Governance – €32,500 (it offers only postgraduate courses)
Munich Business School – €24,000
SRH Hochschule Berlin – €10,000
WHU – Otto Beisheim School of Management – €15,000
University of Applied Sciences Europe – €1,400
Managing Living Expenses as an International Student in Germany
While Germany is known for its affordable education system, international students should be aware of living costs when planning to study in the country. This includes accommodation, food, transportation, utilities, and other expenses. However, Germany is generally considered an affordable country to live in, and there are many cost-saving options available to international students.
One way to reduce living costs is by sharing accommodation. Many international students opt to live in shared apartments or student housing to save on rent. Additionally, cooking meals at home instead of eating out can also help students save money on food.
International students who plan to study in Germany are required to show proof of sufficient funds to obtain a student visa. This is typically done through a German-blocked account. As of 2023, international students need to demonstrate that they have around €934 per month, or €11,208 per year, to cover living expenses in Germany.
It’s important to note that living costs may vary depending on the city, type of accommodation, and lifestyle. For example, living in larger cities like Berlin or Munich can be more expensive than living in smaller towns or suburbs. However, with proper budgeting and planning, international students can enjoy their time in Germany without financial stress.
According to a study by Study.EU, the average monthly cost of living for international students in Germany is €850 to €1,100, which includes accommodation, food, and other expenses. The study also found that the cost of living in Germany is significantly lower than in other popular study destinations such as the United States or the United Kingdom.
While living expenses are an important consideration for international students studying in Germany, the country remains an affordable choice for higher education. With proper budgeting and planning, international students can manage their expenses and enjoy their time in Germany without financial stress.
Financing Your German Education: Scholarships and Other Options
Numerous scholarships are available to international students in Germany, funded by government or non-governmental organizations and universities. Eligible students can apply for scholarships to help manage their living expenses in Germany. Some popular scholarships in Germany include:
- The Deutschlandstipendium
- DAAD Scholarships
- Heinrich Boll Foundation Scholarships
- Humboldt Scholarships
- Helmholtz Scholarships
In addition to scholarships, international students often finance their studies through savings or parental/guardian income. Part-time work during studies provides extra income and helps cover additional expenses. Non-EU international students can work 120 full days or 240 half days per year and earn up to 450 EUR/month tax-free.
While scholarships are an excellent way to finance your studies in Germany, other options are also available. By utilizing savings, parental/guardian income, or part-time work, students can cover their living expenses while pursuing higher education in Germany.
Additional Costs to Consider While Studying in Germany
As an international student, it’s crucial to be aware of the additional costs associated with studying in Germany. These costs include:
- Visa and residence permit fees
- Travel expenses to reach Germany
- Accommodation expenses, such as short-term stays or rentals
- German health insurance
- Study materials, including textbooks, laptops, and other equipment
- German language courses
- Daily living expenses, such as shopping, public transport, and leisure activities
When applying for a residence permit, students must demonstrate they have sufficient funds to cover these costs, typically amounting to €11,208 per year. However, students are eligible for discounts at many shops, restaurants, museums, and cinemas, so be sure to take advantage of these opportunities.
Germany’s excellent higher education system and affordable living make it a top destination for international students. While costs and fees associated with health insurance and semester fees are inevitable, numerous scholarship opportunities and part-time jobs can help ease the financial burden. Despite these expenses, studying in Germany remains an affordable and attractive option for students seeking a high-quality education.
To learn more about studying, working, and living in Germany, follow our content for helpful tips and advice on making the most of your time in this incredible country.