867 Euros a Month in Living Costs
867 euros a month is, on average, what you will need to cover your living costs as a student in Germany. You can expect to pay the following:
- a semester fee
- living costs (rent, food, clothing, books, telephone etc)
- health insurance
- and – depending on the German state in which you are located – tuition fees
A Month in Germany
You can significantly reduce the monthly costs of studying depending on where you go to university and how thriftily you live – if you use a bicycle instead of public transport, for instance, eat in the university canteen to cut food bills, or move into shared accommodation. Other costs, on the other hand, are fixed and cannot be reduced. Rent will make up the biggest proportion of your monthly costs. That, however, varies according to location. Students generally pay between 290 and 560 euros for accommodation. Rents are above average in some cities like Cologne, Munich, Hamburg, Düsseldorf and Frankfurt.
Proof of Sufficient Funds
The sum of 867 euros is just intended to give you a ballpark figure – you could get by with less, or you might need more in some cities. Most students live in or a . By contrast, renting your own apartment is quite expensive. And you have to pay a deposit up front for an apartment or rented room. The amount differs considerably. Sometimes a deposit of several hundred euros is required.
Breakdown of the Semester Fee
All students at a higher education institution are required to pay the semester contribution. It includes contributions to the body providing student support services (Studentenwerk) and the students’ representative body (AStA). The amount varies depending on the higher education institution and can range from 100 to 350 euros. You have to pay the charge when you register to study and before the start of each new semester. Whether you will have to pay for study materials, like books and photocopies, will depend on your particular study programme.
At many higher education institutions, the semester contribution also includes the cost of a “Semesterticket”: This is a travel pass that allows you to use public transport in the area without paying a fare. These tickets can range in price from 25 euros to 200 euros depending on the area and their range. At some higher education institutions, however, you have to pay for the Semesterticket on top of the semester fee. In this case, you can usually decide whether you want to buy this ticket. If you live close to the higher education institution, for example, you might not need it.
As a rule, state higher education institutions do not charge tuition fees for Bachelor’s or many Master’s degree courses. In a few German states you are charged fees for a second degree course, or if you do not complete your study programme within a certain period.
Exception: The state of Baden-Württemberg introduced tuition fees of 1,500 euros per semester (Bachelor’s, Master’s, Diplom, Staatsexamen) for non-EU citizens in the winter semester 2017/18. The fees do not apply to doctoral students. Students who were already enrolled before the charges were introduced can also complete their degree programmes without incurring tuition fees.
Certain Master’s programmes and online degree programmes do charge tuition fees – and they can be high. In some exceptional cases you might have to pay more than 10,000 euros per semester. Private higher education institutions mostly charge very high tuition fees.
In Germany, the amount of tuition fees does not reflect the quality of the education provided. Degree programmes that are free of charge are also of very high quality.
If you want to enrol at a German higher education institution, you will need health insurance – that also applies to students from other EU countries. EU citizens, however, must only prove that they have public health insurance in their home countries. If the health insurance in your country is not valid in Germany, then you will have to take out insurance here. Public health insurance in Germany costs approximately 110 euros per month, if you are 30 years of age or under, or you have not yet exceeded 14 semesters of study. Insurance contributions rise to at least 166 euros per month after that.
Scholarship Programmes for Students
There are many ways of funding your studies in Germany. The DAAD offers scholarship programmes for German and foreign undergraduates, postgraduate students, as well as researchers.
International students can also apply for scholarships from political or business-linked foundations or religious organizations.
Please note that it is rarely possible to get funding from the DAAD and most other institutions for your entire programme of study — from your first to your last semester. Generally, scholarships are not awarded to students who are just starting out. The selection criteria are very exacting. You have no general entitlement to a scholarship.
The DAAD Scholarship Database
There are special exchange programmes for students from each one of the 27 EU states, as well as Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, Turkey and Macedonia. The Erasmus+ scheme is one example.
The project supports people who want to study or do an internship abroad. While internships can last from two months to a year, study placements last from three to 12 months. Under Erasmus+ you can also apply for a total of 12 months’ funding for each academic stage (Bachelor’s, Master’s, doctorate). You will receive a grant on a monthly basis. Your home university will determine how much you will receive, according to European Commission guidelines. Erasmus+ students are also exempt from paying tuition fees at the higher education institution that they are visiting abroad.
Learn more about funding
4. Start to prepare