Germany is a top destination for international students that provides you with high rewards and world-renowned degrees. Top quality is one of the major characteristics of university programmes in Germany, whether they are undergraduate or postgraduate degrees. You can choose between learning in English or German. However, there are high chances you will not pay tuition fees.
Below you will find all the information you need in order to calculate your budget for a study programme in Germany. Check details about tuition fees, living costs and scholarship opportunities in Germany.
1. Tuition fees in Germany
If you want to study in Germany, you’ll be happy to know that public universities do not charge tuition fees for Bachelor’s and Master’s programmes (except if you plan to pursue a Master's degree that focuses on a different subject than the one you studied as a Bachelor’s student). The German free tuition system is available for all foreign students, regardless of their country of origin.
Most of the German universities are public, so you will only have to pay an administration fee which usually costs around 100 - 200 EUR/year. This fee covers the Student Organisation services and your enrolment. Also, you will have to re-enrol every semester and pay this tax.
There are exceptions to this rule, however. If you don’t finish your degree course on time and you study in Bremen, Lower Saxony, Saarland, Saxony, Saxony-Anhalt or Turingia, you may have to pay tuition fees.
Tuition fees at private universities
Private universities from Germany are financed from tuition fees, so some international students will have to pay between 3,000 and 20,000 EUR/year for their degree programmes. Fees are set depending on each university and field of study, as some degrees such as Engineering or Business usually have higher tuition when compared to degrees in fields like Education or Social Sciences, for instance.
Tuition-free universities for international students
Examples of free universities in Germany:
- RWTH Aachen University
- University of Mannheim
- University of Bremen
- University of Cologne
- Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT)
Tuition fees at top-ranked universities in Germany
Here is a list of average tuition fees at the top-ranked German universities:
- Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich – no tuition fees
- Heidelberg University – average tuition fees 6,000 EUR/year
- Technical University of Munich – average tuition fees 2,000 EUR/year
- Humboldt University of Berlin – no tuition fees
You can also apply directly with Studyportals to IUBH University of Applied Sciences without application fees and benefiting from free application counselling.
2. Cost of living in Germany for students
Not only can you study for free in Germany, but it is also a pretty accessible country. The average costs of living for students range between 630 - 1,000 EUR/month, including accommodation, which also is the largest expense you will have.
- Larger cities: Berlin, Frankfurt or Dusseldorf – total living costs of 900 – 1,400 EUR/month
- Smaller cities: Freiburg, Leipzig or Hannover – you will need 750 – 1,100 EUR/month
Find out more about expenses, including health insurance, for students in Germany.
Student accommodation costs in Germany
When it comes to living in Germany, housing is the highest monthly expense you will have, and it represents 34% of the total budget. Cheaper options for international students are in residence halls or in shared private rental apartments. You can also rent a single apartment. Below you will find the average accommodation costs for a student in Germany:
- Living alone: 360 EUR/month
- Living with partner/child: 400/month
- Living on-campus: 150-240 EUR/month
However, rooms in student residence halls are pretty difficult to secure, since only 11% of the international students find on-campus accommodation, according to a European study. Also, 55% of the students are satisfied with the accommodation in student halls.
Other costs associated with accommodation
If you rent an apartment in Germany, you will also have to pay for:
- Utilities: around 200 EUR/month
- Internet pass: around 27 EUR/month
Food costs for international students in Germany
As a student in Germany, you will pay about 170 EUR/month on food. If you’re looking for lower prices, try cheaper supermarkets like Aldi, Lidl, and Netto.
If you wish to have dinner in a restaurant once in a while you will pay 10 EUR for food in a cheap one. A three-course meal for two in an average restaurant costs 45 EUR and an additional light drink will be 3 EUR.
According to a DAAD study, around 10% of the total monthly student budget is spent on transport.
- A public transport pass for students is between 30 and 60 EUR/month, depending on the city.
- You can easily get around with a bicycle throughout any city in Germany. Rates for renting a bicycle are around 15-20 EUR/day.
- Use Germany’s Deutsche Bahn train system and visit any German city you want; fares are between 20 and 70 EUR.
Funding & student support
The German state strongly supports higher education and finances the universities by covering the tuition fees. In addition, the German government also includes programmes of financial support for students.
- The German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) is a programme of financial aid that focuses on German and international students and researchers.
- Deutschlandstipendium – offers awards of 300 EUR/month for talented students for at least two semesters.
Find more scholarship opportunities in Germany!
Now that you have an overview of tuition fees and living costs in Germany, you can start applying to universities. While you do that, don't forget to also check German student visa requirements if you are from outside the EU/EEA: