how to fund your studies in Germany

Financing your studies in Germany is one of the most important issues you need to figure out. Fortunately, universities in Germany don’t charge tuition fees for international students.

Even though the cost of living as an international student in Germany is not that expensive as compared to other countries in Europe, you still need a proper budget and to plan ahead if you really want to come to Germany.

Things you need to know about financing your studies in Germany

Although there are no tuition fees there are still some university administrative costs that you’ll be carrying during your studies. When attending a German university you will have to pay the so-called “student contribution”, an amount of money that is set by the university and goes up to 80€.

Also, you have to pay a modest fee (around 10€) for the university’s student union and for the Student services (which includes a ticket for free public transport) and whose amount goes beyond 100€. When you add living costs (which can mount up at around 800€ per month), financing your studies in Germany becomes a real issue.

For non-EU students, having a budgetary plan ahead is not your choice, is a requirement. Attending a university in Germany requires you to have a fixed amount of money in your bank account so they know you’re able to live and cover all expenses when studying there.

But it’s not that clear-cut. They will also require you to show more details relating to your studying finances. For example, they may require you to submit a recording of your bank account in the past 6 months from the day you got admitted to the university or your resource of funding.

If there’s a commercial business, financing your studies in Germany you need to show a document that states the relationship between you and them.

How much do you need to have in your bank account?

The amount of money you need to have while residing in Germany is set by the Bundesausbildungsförderungsgesetz  (abbreviated as BAföG). The BAföG is a regulator of grants and loans for students in Germany.

At the moment, the amount of money they have set as required to study in Germany is 720€ per month or 8,640€ per year. So, when planning to study at a German university make sure you have this amount of money otherwise you won’t be able to go to Germany.

When to submit a proof of financing your studies in Germany?

A common misunderstanding international students often have about this financing, is at what stage they need to show proof of their finances. Many of them are afraid they cannot submit a university application without presenting their financial status.

That’s wrong. Your financial status is not an admission requirement. You can freely apply at the University of your choice and after receiving their admission letter you can move on to the other stages.

After that, the procedure of getting a student visa and residing in Germany will require you to show a track of your financial resources. What they’re interested to know is if you have sufficient funds to cover all living expenses for the duration of your studies.

How can I prove my financial well-standing?

There are several ways you can prove you have the required financial resources to fund your living costs in Germany. Here are some of the most common ways you can show your financial eligibility to study in Germany:

  • Submitting a document of your parents’ income and financial assets
  • A permanent resident person in Germany can guarantee to cover all your expenses
  • You can show a scholarship award document by a recognized body in Germany
  • Depositing money in a blocked account

Note: The blocked account (known as Sperrkonto) is an uncommon type of bank account every non-EU citizen willing to reside in Germany must open. It’s called blocked because its holder has no access to it until it arrives in Germany.

Where can I seek further information?

If you have more specific questions throughout the process, your first relevant addresses should be the following offices:

  • The German consulate located in your home country
  • And the Foreigners’ Office in the German city where you settle in

Please note that if you’re a citizen of EU country you don’t need to show proof of your financial resources.

Important notes

The whole process of proving how you’re going to finance your studies in Germany may sometimes be different based on your personal case and the country you come from. Depending on your situation, German institutions may request further proof relating to your financial resources. Here are some of the most common situations, where you may be required to show additional proof of your finances.

A contract with a commercial business – If there’s a commercial business in your home country that guarantees to take care of your finances, the officials in Germany may require specific information about that company.

For example, they may require a document that proves that the company is not fake. Or if you and that company have signed a contract to cover your finances, the relevant institution in Germany has the right to know the conditions and terms of that deal.

Scholarship won in your country – If you won a scholarship in your home country the German institution normally wants to know about the credibility of the scholarship provider.

A bank deposit – If you deposit a large amount of money in your bank account the German institution may want to know the source. For example, you may have been working for years at a full-time job and saved the money for your studies.

To prove this you can present a long-term contract of your job contract and also a report of your bank deposits. This is how you can guarantee that those are your money and therefore you can afford to live in Germany.

Working Part-time in Germany

Another way of financing your studies in Germany is by finding a part-time job. Under current legal regulations, international students in Germany are allowed to work up to 120 days of the year.

If you aim to work longer than that, you need to take a specific permission. Two organizations that issue these permissions are the local employment agency (Agentur fur Arbeit) and the foreigners’ registration office (Ausländerbehörde).

However, don’t expect to rely only on your part-time job earnings. Usually, they are not sufficient for covering all expenses as you will need to have other funds. But it still alleviates a huge financial burden from your budget. After all, that’s what most students in Germany do.

If you don’t know how to look for a job we suggest you contact the student service within the university you’re attending or contact the Federal Employment Agency in the local area. They will probably find something that matches what you’re looking for.

Exemptions

You can work full-time during the regular university breaks. You can also work for more hours if you’re job is considered as a mandatory work under certain regulations.

What jobs can I seek as international students?

There are many part-time jobs you can seek in Germany. However, we recommend you find a job related to your study field. Not only will it help you cover your living expenses, it will also add credits to your studies.

For example, if you’re a chemistry student, you can work as a staff member at the university lab.

Universities in Germany offer a wide spectrum of part-time jobs for their students. But, if can’t manage to find one within the campus, there are probably many other part-time jobs outside of your campus that you can apply for.

If there’s not a single job that comes to your mind, here are some ideas what you can work as while studying in Germany:

  • Tutor
  • Academic assistant
  • Administrative Staff at Student Services
  • A staff member at university’s history museum
  • Newspaper distributor
  • Waiter
  • Bartender
  • Babysitter

Important notes

The amount of money you will earn while working part-time in Germany depends on the type of job and your professional skills. Note that if your earnings exceed a fixed limit you’ll be entitled as a regular taxpayer.

Therefore, if you earn above 450 € per month you have to pay taxes. In other words,  financing your studies in Germany entirely from your part-time job is impossible. At least with the current legal regulations.

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