Explore More About Study in Germany

Explore More About Study in Germany

In spring 2014, Lower Saxony will be the last of Germany’s 16 states (known as Länder) to abolish tuition fees for undergraduate students at public universities. Both national and international undergraduate students at public universities in Germany will get free tuition from next year, and will only need to pay a small sum towards administration and other costs per semester (there are two per year).

These low charges certainly help to make Germany attractive as a study destination, with recent figures showing it to be the fourth most popular country for international students (after the US, UK and Australia). And a recent HSBC report puts Germany at the bottom of a table of 13 countries in terms of the cost of studying abroad, with an average cost of just € 4,564 (INR 3.5 Lakhs) per year, breaking down to € 461 (INR 36,000) for fees and € 4,103 (INR 3 Lakhs) for living costs.

Of course these are just averages – the amount it costs to study in Germany depends on variables such as your level of study and how long your course lasts, whether your university is private or public, and which German state you will study in.

Cost of Living in Germany

The cost of living in Germany is more expensive in some areas than others, with average costs ranging from €350 to €1,000 (INR 28,000 to INR 80,000) per month. Rent is cheaper if you’re in a shared flat (average rent of INR 20,000per month) or a student hall of residence (€200 or INR 16,000 per month). The average costs per month, according to Deutsches Studentenwerk, the German National Association for Student Affairs, are: €165 (US$227) for food; €52 (US$72) for clothes; €82 (US$113) for transport; €33 (US$45) for telephone, internet and TV license; €30 (US$41) for work/study materials, and €68 (US$94) for leisure activities.

You won’t need a visa to study in Germany if you’re an EU national or a citizen of Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway or Switzerland. Otherwise expect to pay around €60 (US$82.62), but there are fee reductions or waivers for Schengen visas. In order to fulfill the visa requirements, you will need to show proof that you have, or have access to, around €8,000 per year (US$11,015).

You will also need health insurance as a pre-condition of registering at a German university. If you’re in the EU or the EEA, there should be a social security agreement between your country and Germany – provided you have public health insurance, you should be covered in Germany as well (full list here). If your health insurance is not valid in Germany, expect to pay between €80 (US$110) and €160 (US$221) per month.

Undergraduate Costs to Study in Germany

Although study in Germany is free for undergraduates at public institutions, there is a charge per semester for enrolment, confirmation and administration – usually around €100 (US$138). There may be an additional charge of around €100 for a “Semesterticket”, which covers public transport expenses for six months. There may also be a long-term fee charge if you exceed the period of study in Germany by more than four semesters, and this could be as much as €800 (US$1,103) per semester.

Most universities in Germany are public. The private institutions have to rely solely on tuition fees for their funding, and charge up to €20,000 (US$27,573) per year as a result.  The University of Witten-Herdecke, for example, charges around €15,000 (US$20,685) for a degree, but offers flexible finance options, giving students the choice whether to pay tuition fees from the start or pay a percentage based on income after graduation.

The Federal Student Financial Aid Program (BAföG: Bundesausbildungsförderungsgesetz) is available for German nationals and EU students, and even for foreigners under select conditions. Generally this aid is for those under 30 years old, or under 35 for those studying for a master’s degree. But exceptions can be made depending on circumstance. The grant covers basic living and training costs. In addition, the Education Loan provides more funds in the form of a low-interest loan.

Master’s And Postgraduate Costs to Study in Germany

Master’s degrees in Germany are usually free if they are classed as “consecutive” – a continuation of a corresponding bachelor’s degree (again, there is a charge per semester for enrolment, confirmation and administration, plus a Semesterticket). But a “non-consecutive” masters can cost more than €10,000 (US$13,782) per semester, and private institutions can charge up to €30,000 (US$41,345) per year for a master’s.

For example, Germany’s top-ranked institution, the Ruprecht-Karls-Universität Heidelberg, lists fees for non-consecutive master’s degrees ranging from €2,050 (US$2,825) per semester for a Master of Science in Biomedical Engineering to €6,000 (US$8,268) per semester for a Master of Science in Health Economics.

At PhD level, tuition is once again free at all German institutions – for the first six semesters. Again, you will be required to make a semester contribution of between €150 (US$207) and €200 (US$275) for administration and other costs.

Scholarships in Germany

The German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD: Deutscher Akademischer Austausch Dienst) provides support for German and international students to study abroad, in the form of scholarships for German and international students, academics and researchers.

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