Finance and Funding
Actually, higher education is (almost) free at all public universities in Baden-Württemberg. Students are not charged any tuition fees for undergraduate studies and most graduate courses, i.e. courses that directly follow and are based upon these undergraduate studies. Fees are paid by the State of Baden-Württemberg instead.
There are some exceptions, however: tuition fees are payable for non-consecutive master courses, which are not based upon a particular undergraduate degree, and for courses at private universities. These fees may amount to several thousand euros per semester.
Universities do require their students to pay a semester contribution towards the administration costs and student services. Student services provide many benefits, like discounted tickets for public transportation or a student ID for even bigger discounts at various public institutions or for newspaper subscriptions. The semester contribution amounts to around 140 euros per semester.
Upcoming tuition fees for international students
The State of Baden-Württemberg will introduce tuition fees for international students from the winter semester 2017/2018 onwards. The law stipulates that international students are required to pay 1,500 euros per semester. Additional revenue is necessary in order to further promote the internationalization of the institutions of higher education in Baden-Württemberg and to offer international students a more specific support during their studies.
The fees are for international students who enter for the purpose of study. Students from the EU, the European Economic Area (EEA) and from the Erasmus member countries are excluded from these fees. Refugees are also not affected. Students who have already begun their studies or who start in the summer semester 2017 are also unconcerned. Students who received their general qualification for university entrance in Germany without German citizenship are excluded.
Cost of living
Baden-Württemberg has the highest standard of living in all of Germany. The downside of this is that living costs are slightly above the German average. However, the cost of living can vary enormously depending on your personal life style and where you live in. It is generally more expensive to live in a bigger city like Stuttgart, Freiburg or Heidelberg than in a small town like Albstadt or Pforzheim. As a rule of thumb, 700 to 900 euros per month should be enough. The largest monthly expense is usually for rent - accounting for a third of the total cost of living for most students. These costs can be cut substantially by sharing a flat or living in a dorm.
A typical example for monthly expenses could look like this:
- Rent: 350 - 400 euros
- Health insurance: approx. 75 euros
- Monthly/semester travel card: approx. 90 - 190 euros
- Study materials: 100 euros
- Food and drink: 100 - 150 euros
- Leisure and hobbies: 50 - 100 euros
We recommend you open a bank account as soon as you arrive in Germany, since most monthly payments (rent, health insurance, phone and Internet bills) are paid direct from your current account. To obtain a visa - and with the aim of ensuring the necessary liquidity for your studies in Germany - you may be required to open a blocked account with a German bank in advance. You can find out the exact visa requirements from any of Germany's consulates or embassies around the world. The German Federal Foreign Office has more details on their website.
To open an bank account, you are normally asked to present the following documents:
- passport or personal indentification card
- student ID or certificate of enrolment or notification of admission from your university
- confirmation of registration from the resident registration office
The scholarship culture in Germany is quite different from other parts of the world. Scholarships are not as extensively available as, for example, in Anglo-Saxon countries, mainly due to the fact, that tuition fees are not generally payable for German universities. There are a number of organizations, foundations and institutions, however, which do provide scholarships to gifted students from Germany and abroad.
Besides financial support through scholarships, there are also non-monetary scholarships. These scholarships offer exclusive invitations to workshops, lectures or conferences. This allows recipients to network with other current or past scholarship holders and form enduring bonds that will extend the support period. In most cases, the monetary and non-monetary parts of scholarships are combined.
The German Academic Exchange Service DAAD is probably the best known student-support organization in Germany. It has several different funding programs for students. It also provides an extensive scholarship database in which many more scholarships from third-party providers can be found. For short-term exchange stays in Baden-Württemberg, scholarships can be obtained through the Erasmus program if you are coming from a European partner university. For students from the US, the Fulbright Commission offers various scholarships.
Baden-Württemberg universities also benefit from a special program designed to enhance their chances of attracting international students. This program, which is aptly called the Baden-Württemberg-STIPENDIUM (Baden-Württemberg Scholarship), is provided by one of the biggest public German foundations, the Baden-Württemberg Stiftung.
It enables some 1,200 students a year from all over the world to study in a foreign country for a period of three to eleven months. The objective of the Baden-Württemberg-STIPENDIUM is to promote the international exchange of highly qualified Baden-Württemberg and foreign students. The scholarships are divided equally between applicants from Baden-Württemberg and from abroad. This program is exclusive to Baden-Württemberg and unique in Germany.