Is College Free in Germany? Here’s The Truth!

Studying in Germany is a lifetime opportunity for many students, but is college free in Germany like many people claim? You’ll find all the details in this article.

German colleges are consistently ranked among the world’s best and their quality is above global education standards.

But many international students think that popularity and high costs always go hand in hand. While this rule applies most of the time, Germany makes an exemption. Despite being among global leaders in higher education, the cost of studying college in Germany is quite affordable.

Is College For Free in Germany?

College education in Germany is free. But the topic has been over-discussed causing people to get confused whether this is true or not.

In 2014, the Government approved a decision to abolish international fees in all public colleges. Although in some constituent German states, international tuition fees are re-introduced the cost of studying in Germany remains much lower than elsewhere.

That being said, in the majority of colleges all you need to pay is a small amount dedicated to covering administrative and public transportation cost. The payment is commonly known as “semester contribution” and is paid each passing semester. Its cost varies from university to university, but it ranges somewhere between €150 and €250 per semester.

On the other hand, private colleges apply international fees. There’s a wide spectrum of international fees applied at these institutions which change according to your nationality and the type of the chosen course.

To conclude: It all comes down to what you mean by a “free college”; if you mean a college where you won’t pay a single cent then you’re wrong. However, since the amount you pay goes for administrative costs and not for your classes, then it’s true to say that college is free in Germany.

Free Colleges in Germany

There are many German colleges which offer free education to international students. Given below are some of them:

  • Technical University of Munich
  • Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich
  • Humboldt University of Berlin
  • University of Hamburg
  • Free University of Berlin
  • RWTH Aachen University
  • University of Mannheim
  • University of Cologne

Apart from the cost of studying, what else makes this wonderful country a perfect location to study?

World-class universities – It is a well-known fact that German universities are regularly found among the world’s top universities regarding their research activity, students employability and academic results overall.

Leading professorship – In German colleges, you’ll be taught from the best because only leading teachers and researchers are employed.

Modern facilities – Lab facilities in German colleges satisfy all quality standards to provide students with a fulfilling study experience both in theory and practice.

Future prospects – German degrees are valued all over the world so your education in Germany will help you to land a good job and earn a lot along the way.

Side note: If you’re an American student familiarized with your native higher education system you might get a bit confused about terminology in Europe. What is commonly known as a college in the US, in Germany is called university, so throughout the article, terms are used interchangeably.

How to apply to study college in Germany?

Applying to study college in Germany is easy as long as you follow instructions explained here.

First, find a suitable degree. Is this supposed to be an issue? Yes, for international students it can be. There are over a hundred accredited public and private universities in Germany. You’re probably less aware of their study programs in the first place so you will need to do diligent online research on your own.

Try to narrow down your options until you’re left with two to three colleges at a maximum which you think would correspond to your academic goals. Also, college websites provide useful guidelines about what your course is going to contain so you make sure you read that section cautiously.

Once you make up your mind for a particular degree it’s time you check entry requirements. German colleges are independent to set their own entry criteria so it is always recommended you rely on their information. They change according to several elements, including your nationality and the type of your course.

Just so you have a general idea as what to expect in this aspect below are given some documents, mostly required to apply for college in Germany:

  • Recognized Degree Qualifications
  • Grade certificates
  • Proof of German Language Proficiency
  • Proof of Financial Resources

Other additional documents like CV, Motivation Letter or relevant References can also be required at some German colleges.

An important note: Undergraduate degrees in public German colleges are taught in the German language. Thus, if you want to study at this academic level, you must get a German language certificate beforehand.

TestDaf, Dash Certificate or GDS Certificate scores are typically required, but there several other language proficiency tests accepted by German colleges.

Language entry requirements change depending on the college of your choice. In general, to gain admission you must learn B-2 German at the very least.

Read more about Proof of Language Proficiency.

Study College in Germany in English?

Another good thing about studying college in Germany is that there are various study programs taught in English. As such, you can spare yourself from having to learn academic German, although we recommend you learn some basics of it.

But, always keep in mind that undergraduate degrees in Germany are offered in the German language. Except you have enrolled a private university, then there are chances you have found a degree taught in English otherwise you have to learn German.

At the postgraduate level, there are a variety of degree programs where English is the medium of instruction.

Below are shown some German colleges that offer international postgraduate courses taught in English

  • Hochschule Mannheim –University of Applied Sciences
  • Karlsruhe Institute of Technology
  • Berlin International University of Applied Sciences
  • Bremen University of Applied Sciences
  • Jacobs University
  • Technische Universitat Munchen
  • University of Gottingen
  • Max Planck Institute
  • Freie Universitat Berlin
  • Technische Universitat Dresden

A full list can be found here.

Plus, for many of English-taught international postgraduate degrees in Germany, you won’t have to pay tuition fees.

Here are some German colleges where you can study in English and pay no tuition fees

  • Technical University of Munchen
  • University of Bonn
  • University of Hamburg
  • TU Darmstadt
  • FAU Erlangen Nurnberg
  • University of Munster
  • Hamburg University of Technology
  • SRH University of Heidelberg
  • University of Applied Sciences Wurzburg Schweinfurt
  • Leibniz Universitat Hannover

Scholarships To Study College In Germany

The icing cake of studying college in Germany is that even though it has an affordable cost there are still many scholarships available.

These scholarships can be either provided by governmental or non-governmental organizations, including here individual colleges and foundation programmes. The criteria upon which these grants are offered differentiate and depend on your personal circumstances. Regarding their number, it is likely you’ll be eligible for one of them.

Here are some scholarships for international college students in Germany:

  • DeutschlandStipendium National Scholarship Programme
  • DAAD Scholarship Programme
  • Erasmus Scholarships
  • Goethe Goes Global Scholarships
  • Heinrich Boll Scholarships
  • Friedrich Ebert Scholarships

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