Financing your studies

Financing your Studies in Germany

Germans are famously systematic when it comes to finance, and this definitely extends to funding student life. When you come to study in Germany, you can't turn up without proof that you can sustain yourself during your course. Without it, there's no chance of obtaining a student visa.

Thankfully, financing your studies in Germany isn't complex, and our guides will provide all the information you need.

How to finance your studies in Germany

Learn more about financing your studies in Germany

Is education for international students free in Germany?

Not completely. Education is subsidized in a number of ways, and support is available to help international students, but attending colleges and universities in Germany isn't completely free.

Bachelor's courses tend to have no tuition fees, but do come with administrative fees, costs for accommodation, and living costs. Postgraduate courses always come with some kind of fees. But help is at hand.

Students may qualify for the BAföG, a government-funded payment of up to €861 per month. Students also benefit from preferential health insurance rates.

Can international students get loans or scholarships?

Student loans are not usually provided to international students but may be available via Bildungskredit. Like the BAföG, credit tends to be restricted to students who are in need, or those with exceptional ability.

Finally, there's always the option of taking paid employment during your studies. Our student work page explain how to do so without incurring tax penalties.

In our Cost of Living pages, you'll find everything you need to know about how to finance a study period in Germany.

Advanced courses & scholarships

If you are seeking advanced courses, look to non-governmental bodies for assistance. Scholarships from bodies like the DAAD could help advanced students, while private foundations like the Heinrich Boll Stiftung support large numbers of students in specific fields.

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Personal Savings

Every arrival is supposed to show evidence that they can finance 1 year of study without relying on the German state, so some savings will be essential for almost all international students who are not from the European Union.

In exceptional cases, German authorities may provide financial support for those who cannot fund their living costs, but most of the time, a blocked account will be required. Without it, you won't be able to obtain a visa to study or work in Germany, so it's an essential part of starting a course.

These accounts are "blocked", and cannot be used like conventional current bank accounts, although they are held with standard banks. Instead of being free to withdraw money when you need it, payments are made in monthly chunks into a second bank account. This usually translates into monthly payments of €934.

Students will be free to choose the provider of their secondary bank account (or Girokonto), and it makes sense to choose a provider that offers flexible, cheap accounts, with minimal or no fees.

Parental income

In some cases, international students are able to rely on the resources of their parents or wider family

If this applies to you, there are a few things to think about when relocating to Germany to start your course.

Firstly, even though you have financial resources to spend, it may be useful to start a blocked account. You can still retain some funds in a Girokonto, but the monthly payments from a blocked account can be a handy way to keep your spending low. That way, you can avoid running out of financial resources before your course is finished.

A blocked account has other advantages. If you choose to rely on your parental income totally, it will be necessary to provide evidence of your parents' financial situation to the German Embassy. Not everyone will be keen to hand over this information, and it won't be required if you apply for a student visa with a blocked account.

Mobile bank

It may well make sense to create an account with a mobile bank like N26 to transfer money from your parents as and when you need it. That way, you can keep transfer fees low, and use your funds anywhere in the world.

Blocked Account

What is a blocked bank account and what do I need it for?

These accounts tend to be required to obtain a study visa, and come with certain restrictions that make them different to standard accounts. For instance, withdrawals are "programmed" in advance, and you can't use blocked accounts as simple checking accounts.

This might sound like a bad thing, but it's actually very practical. When coupled with low-cost checking accounts, blocked accounts offer stable sources of finance for students and make accessing German higher education simpler.

If there are any doubts about how to start your account, our step-by-step guide will make everything crystal clear.

How much money do I need to study in Germany?

Blocked accounts provide evidence that you have enough money to study in Germany, and represent a minimum amount required. The amount needed is usually represented as €934 per month. For a one year blocked account, this works out at €11,208. So that's the amount to aim for.

Our pages on blocked accounts will provide all you need to know about this crucial financial tool.

When you have the right amount, or if you need to find out more, head to our website and open your blocked account with Expatrio.

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