Most foreign students study in Germany without a scholarship or grant. Hence, you are strongly advised to assess your own financial means early and realistically. The German foreign missions or aliens’ registration authorities must be convinced that you have sufficient financial means at your disposal to cover your cost of living for your whole study duration in Germany. The section on Costs, Fees, Scholarships and Funding will give you a breakdown of the cost of living of around DM 1,300 / € 665,- in the old regional states (west) and DM 1,050 / € 537,- in the new regional states (east).
You must not plan on financing your studies by working in Germany. The German authorities adhere strictly to the employment legislation applicable to foreign students in Germany. Any violation may lead to immediate expulsion from Germany. Although students from EU countries may work in Germany, jobs are hard to find.
Scholarship holders and foreign students who are not citizens of an EU country may only earn a kind of pocket-money; such work is carefully monitored.
Please ensure that you give serious consideration to the proof of financial means (for more information visit the “Jobs” page in this section). Living and Studying Costs The standard of living in the Federal Republic of Germany is high and, consequently, so too are the costs and expenses needed to be able to share in that standard. Based on the 1999 index, you should reckon with monthly expenses totaling at least DM 1,300 / € 665 in the old regional states (west) and DM 1,050/ € 537 in the new regional states (east). Your will find that this will allow you only a very modest lifestyle.
State-maintained institutions of higher education in Germany do not charge tuition fees.
However, there are several costs, listed below, which arise through studying. Each university has a Studentenewrk, a student services organization, which provides social facilities, such as the student refectory, cafes, student halls of residence and sports facilities. All students pay social contributions for the use of these facilities. At present this amounts to between DM 35 / € 18 and DM 90 / € 46 per semester.
Some higher education institutions also collect a payment of up to around DM 180 / € 92, depending on the respective town, for the so-called Semester Ticket, which entitles students to free-of-charge use of local public transport in and around their university town for six months.
Over and above these costs, the regional states of Berlin and Baden-Württemberg have additionally introduced a so-called administration fee or respectively registration fee. This amounts to DM 100 / € 51 per semester (as per 2000).
All students are entitled to compulsory statutory health insurance cover until completion of their 14th full semester, but only up to a maximum age of 30.
If you meet these timing conditions, this has the positive consequence that the statutory health insurance funds must insure you at student rates. Apart from a minor personal contribution (excess) which you must pay, this health insurance covers medical fees for visiting a doctor, hospital expenses, and any prescribed medication. The student rates for statutory health insurance currently amount to about DM 550/ € 281 per semester (six months). This sum already includes the premium for nursing care insurance which has been introduced in Germany. You must pay your premiums to the health insurance fund before registering at your higher education institution.
If you are older than 30 years of age on the date of arrival in Germany, you are strongly advised to insure yourself with a private health insurance company, since medical fees and hospital expenses are very high in Germany.
If you require an entry visa, the local German embassy or consulate will advise you of whether or not you must take a medical test in your home country, i.e. present a health certificate.
Germany’s legislation on foreigners does not prescribe a medical test by a German physician. If you wish to extend your residence permit in Germany, then you will find that the individual federal regional states differ in their regulations regarding health tests. The state aliens’ registration authority at your place of study will be able to provide information on this aspect. Accident Insurance All students are insured against accidents at, on their way to or from their university by the statutory accident insurance scheme.
You can turn to the foreign student office for information on additional accident insurance coverage.
Study Materials Further costs arise, for example, for the purchase of books and study materials. Depending on the discipline studied, these can easily amount to between DM 450 / € 230 and DM 600 / € 307 and more per semester. Furthermore, most degree courses today are inconceivable without the use of a personal computer (PC). However, if you do not have your own PC at your disposal, most faculties, schools and departments, or the computer centre, will have a pool of university computers which you could use.
German institutions of higher education generally do not themselves award any scholarships. There are, however, several scholarship awarding organizations. The most extensive scholarship program is that offered by the DAAD (German Academic Exchange Service).
However, only advanced students may apply for DAAD-scholarships, or depending on country of origin and subject, in some cases only graduates.
Other scholarship awarding institutions have varying conditions, for example, regarding country of origin, subject, previous study achievements, duration of support, etc. Support for a full study program, that is from the first semester to completion of studies, is not possible through the DAAD and is also extremely rare among other scholarship organizations. Scholarships are primarily awarded on the basis of achievement criteria. The applicant’s financial circumstances only play a subordinate role. The German foreign diplomatic missions and other German representatives abroad such DAAD-foreign language assistants (Lektors), lecturers and professors placed on assignment abroad by the DAAD and the DAAD’s offices abroad will provide information on the possibilities of gaining a scholarship