As an international student in Germany, financing your studies and covering living expenses can be a challenge. Despite low or no tuition fees at German universities and cost-effective living costs, two-thirds of international students opt to work part-time to manage their finances. It’s essential to start preparing your finances ahead of time. Here are some ways to finance your studies in Germany:
- Parental income
- Personal savings
- Part-time work
- Student loans
As an international student, financing your studies in Germany can be a significant challenge. However, personal savings can play a crucial role in helping you reach your goal. By saving a minimum amount of money, you can demonstrate financial stability and secure a German student visa and residence permit.
It is advisable to start saving as early as possible, especially if you have long-term plans to study in Germany. Establishing a savings plan and sticking to it is key to successfully financing your education in Germany.
Remember, the cost of living in Germany is relatively low compared to other countries, but you still need to be mindful of your expenses. Building up your personal savings will also help you handle unexpected costs and adjust to the cost of living in Germany.
Before applying for a student visa, it is necessary to transfer your savings to a German-blocked account. So, whether you’re just considering studying in Germany or already in the process of applying, it’s never too early to start saving.
Using your parents’ income as a source of financing for your studies in Germany is a feasible option. To apply for a student visa, the German embassy requires a bank statement that proves your parents have the financial means to cover both your studying and living expenses in Germany.
Having parents with higher earnings can provide the added benefit of being able to fully support you throughout your studies, freeing you up to concentrate solely on your classes.
Many families create a personal savings fund for their children’s education and this can be a useful source of financing when studying abroad in Germany.
In case your savings fall short of the minimum required amount for a student visa application, having support from your parents can alleviate some of the financial burdens that come with studying in Germany.
Earning through Part-Time Work
The majority of international students in Germany finance their living expenses by working part-time. With numerous student job opportunities available, over 60% of international students in Germany take advantage of this option.
According to current regulations, international students are allowed to work up to 120 days annually. If you wish to work more, you will need to obtain special permission from the local employment agency or the foreigners’ registration office.
While part-time work can help alleviate the financial burdens, it may not fully cover expenses, so it is important to have other funds available. To find a suitable part-time job, you can reach out to the student services within your university or the Federal Employment Agency in your local area.
Exceptions: You are permitted to work full-time during university breaks and if your job is considered mandatory under specific regulations, you can work for additional hours.
What jobs can I seek as an international student?
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, but 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 you 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 of what you can work while studying in Germany:
- Academic Assistant
- Administrative Staff at Student Services
- A staff member at the university’s history museum
- Newspaper distributor
You’re earning potential while working part-time in Germany can vary based on the nature of your job and your level of expertise. It’s important to keep in mind that if you earn more than a specific amount, in this case, 450 € per month, you are required to pay taxes.
This means that relying solely on part-time work to finance your studies in Germany may not be feasible within the current legal framework.
Financing Studies in Germany with Student Loans
International students have access to various student loan resources in Germany that can help finance their studies. These include both governmental and non-governmental funded options, with some having zero or low-interest rates. It is recommended to check if your university provides student loans to foreign scholars before exploring other options.
Some of the resources to consider include:
- BAföG – The Federal Education and Training Assistance Act provides opportunities for talented students to pursue education despite financial constraints. This funding is either in the form of grants or free-interest loans. Over four million people have benefited from their services since its establishment in 1971.
- education loan – A loan offered by the German government in partnership with a private banking group. It is awarded to students who are at a more advanced stage of their education and require a loan to continue. This type of loan has a low-interest rate and is not need-based, making it accessible to everyone.
- Bank loan systems – In addition to the governmental-funded student loans, many banks in Germany offer their own student loan schemes with attractive interest rates for international students. Some of these banks include Deutsche Bank, Raiffeisenbanken, Sparkasse, and HypoVereinsbank.
It is important to note that student loans can only serve as a complementary source of funding for your studies in Germany, as the amount provided is limited and may not cover all expenses.
Scholarships as a Funding Option
Scholarships are a great option for financing your studies in Germany, as the country is known for welcoming a large number of international students, and as such, provides numerous scholarships to talented and skilled students.
While relying solely on scholarships may be difficult, they can certainly make a significant contribution to your budget, helping to cover your living expenses while studying in Germany. To take advantage of this funding opportunity, it’s highly recommended that you explore the various scholarships available.
Scholarships in Germany
- The Germany Scholarship: A public-private partnership that provides financial support, as well as other benefits, to outstanding students. Private companies and organizations contribute 150€ per month per student, and the government contributes an additional 150€ per month per student, resulting in a total of 300€ per month for the recipient. This scholarship is usually granted for two semesters but can be extended for the entire duration of your studies.
- DAAD Scholarships: DAAD is a large organization that promotes the internationalization of German universities by offering funding and counseling opportunities for talented inbound and outbound students. Since its establishment in 1925, millions of foreign students have benefited from DAAD services, including more than 131,000 German and foreign scholars who funded their education in 2016 with DAAD grants. Today, they have a comprehensive list of scholarships available to international students.
- Erasmus+: The largest student exchange program in Europe provides some appealing opportunities to study in Germany, either for a limited number of semesters or throughout your entire course. German universities are involved in numerous Erasmus exchange projects and this can be a way for you to finance your studies in Germany. Please note that some funds may not be given directly to you, but your expenses while living in Germany will be taken care of.
- Private Scholarships: There are several private foundations that offer scholarships to talented and skilled international students studying in German universities. These scholarships are often named after distinguished German figures and aim to not only provide financial assistance for your studies in Germany but also to promote intercultural relationships.
Some of the private organizations that provide scholarships for international students include:
- Max Planck Society Research
- Heinrich Böll Foundation Scholarship
- DKFZ International PhD Program
Additionally, many universities also offer a variety of scholarships to international students to support them and enhance their appeal.