Financial aid for international students in Germany is one of the trickiest things to figure out – even in your home country. So let us help you with some information. As stated previously, normally at German institutions, there are no tuition fees.
Students are required to pay for certain fees and contributions, such as to student unions/governments, enrollment fees, and so on, and these charges can vary per semester. Please check the universities you are interested in for further information on these charges.
Which Expenses do You need to cover?
Of course, the main expense you will have as a student will be living expenses; housing, for example, as well as food and clothing. As such, it is recommended that you find a way to have at your disposal 600 – 800 Euros (or the equivalent) PER MONTH to take care of these expenses. You will need to verify that you have sufficient funds through opening a blocked bank account (Sperrkonto) in order to apply for an entry visa or a residence permit for studying at a German institution, so how do you make sure you get the funds?
The German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) has a wealth of tips and information in English, including information on how you might be able to work within Germany (if you are able to do so, such as if you are from a EU member country).
Looking for Scholarships
If you are from the United States of America, keep in mind that looking for financial aid may take up to 12 months in advance. However, it can be done. Websites such as InternationalScholarships.com help in finding financing opportunities for international study. Also, do not forget that organizations and professional associations may be able to give you grants or scholarship monies – please check any associations to which you or your family may belong in case there may be opportunities there. Checking professional associations or organizations is good advice even if you are outside the United States!
Get help from the Bank
Finally, there is the option to take out loans. This should be used as a last resort, but thankfully, since German educational institutions do not charge tuition fees, this may be a way to gain a cosmopolitan education at a lower cost than in your home country.