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Planning to Study in Germany
5th Dec 2022
Afia Azmi

Is Studying in Germany Really Free? Myths Busted!

According to German statistics, 25,149 students from India flocked to the country for the Winter Semester of 2019-20. Even after the pandemic, the percentage of students going for an abroad education has been on the rise. The popular fields of studying in Germany include Engineering, Management, Social Sciences, Mathematics, and Natural Sciences.

For the most part, students herd in Germany because there are “free” universities in Germany. But to which extent this is a myth or truth is the point of concern. The average tuition fees in Germany is between €25,000 - €30,000 per year. However, the programs in Engineering and Management, in-demand courses, might be a tad bit expensive..

Is studying in Germany free?

There is a misconception that all public German universities are absolutely free for international students. While it is true that as of 2014, 16 public German universities abolished their tuition fees, in 2017, the state of Baden-Württemberg declared that non-EU students have to pay €1500 per semester. At the same time, these free German universities will also require you to pay a small enrollment fee every semester which is between €250 - €350.

What are some of the free universities in Germany?

Some of the popular public universities in Germany for international students free [or a small average fee per year] are:

  • Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich [€300]
  • Technical University of Munich [€258]
  • Humboldt University Berlin [€685 - €1000]
  • Technical University of Berlin [€308]
  • Free University of Berlin [€311.99]
  • RWTH Aachen University [€1095]

Some of the private German universities with an average fee starting with €1000 and above are:

University of Applied Sciences Europe [€1,400] GISMA Business School [€20,000] SRH Hochschule Berlin [€10,000] CODE University of Applied Sciences [€9,800] Munich Business School [€24,000] EBC Hochschule [€10,000] Bard College Berlin [€29,700]

But this misconception isn’t demystified here. You have to also think of all the other expenses which the university won’t be providing for you.

The living expenses in Germany are an average of €800 - €1,000 per month. According to the statistics of DAAD, a student averagely spends on the following:

  • €168 on food and groceries
  • €42 on clothes and essentials
  • €94 on transportation
  • €31 on the phone bill, internet bill, TV bill
  • €20 on work/study materials
  • €61 on for leisure activities

Meanwhile, students will also spend on other miscellaneous activities such as application fees, international traveling expenses, visas, etc.

An application for studying in Germany costs €75 for the first application. Further applications, through UniAssist, will cost €30. Healthcare expenses in Germany will cost you €80 - €150 per month. International students must hold a German bank account in Germany. For this, students have to show an average sum of about $10,000 in a year. And students are allowed to withdraw €895 per month in a year. Again, to acquire a visa for Germany, you will be charged an amount of €60 - €75.

How to study in Germany free?

Apart from applying to the popular public universities in Germany, you can also look for scholarships to study in Germany. The top scholarships to study in Germany for Indians are:

DAAD WISE Scholarship Program

Students will receive €750 per month for living expenses, €1,075 for travel allowance, and health insurance.

Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung Scholarship

Students applying from developing countries will receive either the tuition fee reimbursement of up to €500 or a monthly stipend of €1,100 for 3 years.

Heinrich Boell Scholarships

Students pursuing a Master’s program or a Ph.D. in Germany will be eligible to receive €850 per month (for Master’s) along with additional individual allowances. Ph.D. students will receive €1000 per month and a €100 travel allowance per month.

Other prestigious scholarships such as Kofi Annan MBA Scholarships, EMS Undergraduate Scholarship, Master Scholarships at the University of Stuttgart, ESMT Women’s Academic Scholarship, etc are also popular among Indian students willing to study in Germany for free.

We must understand no German university is actually “fully” free. Because you still have to bear some of the most basic expenses. And it would be wrong to think that a foreign country will fund you for everything. It also must be noted that German universities take a big chunk of the responsibility off their shoulders by cutting their tuition fees by a small amount of €300-€500 (enrollment fee for each semester). Germany remains a great place to live and study with lots of opportunities when you see beyond the myths of free education.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is education free in Germany for foreigners?

Germany is one of the most popular countries in the world known for providing an excellent education for free. Most of the public universities in Germany do not require any fees from international students or foreigners. However, some of them do require the international students to pay a small enrollment fee at the start of each semester that is between €300-€500.

Is Germany University free for international students?

While most of the public universities in Germany provide quality education for free to international students, one still has to count on the monthly expenses of living abroad. And these public universities only charge a small enrollment fee each semester. However, there are many prestigious scholarships for international students who are aiming to study in Germany.

In what countries is education free?

Germany, Norway, Sweden, Spain, France, Belgium are some of the top countries around the world that provide free education, or at least free for the most significant parts that one pays usually otherwise.

How can I study in Germany free?

The public universities in Germany for international students free are Technical University of Berlin, RWTH Aachen University, Free University of Berlin, Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich, and the Technical University of Munich. Beyond applying to these universities, you can also look for scholarships for international students such as DAAD WISE Scholarship Program, Heinrich Boell Scholarships, etc. which financially aid the students enormously.

What is the average cost of studying in Germany?

The average cost of studying in Germany is €25,000 - €30,000 per year. However, if you enroll in any of the public universities of Germany, education is fully free, except for a small enrollment fee of €300-€500, which they require at the start of each semester. Otherwise, you must also count on the living and accommodation expenses, healthcare expenses, food, and shopping, etc.

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