Education is virtually free in Germany, and even international students can enjoy tuition-free higher education! But how much does it cost to study in Germany?
The idea of free university in Germany is highly appealing, but nothing in life is ever really free. There are admission fees, enrollment fees, and a general cost of living to consider! But all in all, studying in Germany as an international student is still pretty darn affordable in comparison to other parts of the world.
Besides general university entrance requirements, here’s a breakdown of the cost of studying in Germany.
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Trier from above – my current home!
The Cost of Studying in Germany for International Students
The good news is that the cost of education in Germany is relatively low – especially by American standards! Here’s a breakdown of what it costs to live and study in Germany, and how much money you should have in your account when you arrive.
Tuition Fees in Germany: FREE!
German universities are tuition-free even for international students! That’s right, Germany has free higher education for citizens and even visiting students. Even though there’s no tuition, there are a few costs associated with going to school in Europe. And most important of all, you’ll need to prove financial stability.
However, if you opt to go to a private university in Germany, tuition fees can be on par with the tuition costs in the U.S. Private universities in Germany can charge as much as €30,000 for the year.
German University Application Fee: €50
When you apply to a university in Germany, the school will charge you an application processing fee of around €50. This fee may vary depending on the school. To give you an idea, I paid €50 to submit my initial online application to Trier University.
University Enrollment Fees: €250 – €400/Semester
Once you’re admitted to a program, you must pay an enrollment fee that’s typically about €300, but again it depends on the university. This fee isn’t to be confused with tuition. It covers things like administration costs, your new student ID card and public transportation pass, and sometimes other things like student cafes or resources.
I paid €284.10 for my first-semester enrollment fee. This fee had to be paid before I could officially enroll in my program. After I paid, I had to send proof of payment along with my signed confirmation of enrollment via mail.
Semester enrollment fees vary based on the university’s costs of that specific year and are usually outlined on the university’s webpage.
Cost of a German Blocked Account: €10,332
Students coming to study in Germany must have a blocked account with enough money to cover the cost of living for the duration of your studies. As of 2020, the German government has set that amount to €861/month or €10,332 for the year. To have a student visa or residence permit approved, you must show proof of a blocked account with a balance of €10,332.
The blocked account in Germany is not a regular bank account. It’s a special account where once the total sum is deposited, you can only withdraw the allotted €861 each month to cover living expenses. This money is still completely yours; it’s just set aside to ensure things like rent, food, and other living expenses you’ll encounter are covered for the year.
I got my blocked account with Expatrio, but other popular banks include Deutsche Bank and Coracle (or Fintiba if you’re not American). Your university won’t need to see proof of this blocked account, but it is a requirement for obtaining a residence permit (student visa) allowing you to live in Germany during your studies.
↠ Read More: A Review of the Expatrio Blocked Account
The romantic Burg Eltz
Expatrio Blocked Account: €109 in fees + €100 buffer
On top of needing at least €10,332, there are also fees associated with setting up a German blocked account. I opted to go with Expatrio, as it was one of the most convenient options for Americans, and also one of the most affordable options. Expatrio offers a convenient health insurance and blocked account combo that’s perfect for new expats and students in Germany too.
There are other companies you can choose from when it comes time to set up a blocked account. The top companies are Deutsch Bank (a lengthy process), Fintaba (super popular), Coracle, and others. They all have different fees and procedures.
To set up an account with Expatrio, I had to pay an initial €49 set up fee and a €5/month administration fee, or €60 for the year. They also require you to transfer a buffer of an extra €100 to ensure the right amount arrives in your account.
Quick Tip: I recommend using Transferwise for any international transfers. They make the process super easy, and their fees are a lot more affordable than wire transfers with traditional banks. Not only that, but they allow you to send transfers in any currency rather than an estimation in your home currency. That way, you know the right amount is sent and received! Also, the process is conveniently online.
I ended up using Transferwise for other German administrative tasks before I had a local bank account. I used it to pay for my German insurance, residence permit, and broadcasting tax. It just comes in handy!
If you sign up with my referral link, your first transfer of up to $500 is free of fees! Check ’em out!
German Student Visa / Residence Permit: €100
Your visa situation will ultimately depend on where you’re from, and I can only write this section from the point of view of an American who didn’t need a visa to enter the country. You can check out Germany’s official immigration page for more information.
As an American, I chose to enter Germany on the visa-free tourist status we enjoy for the first 90 days of our stay. Although that privilege is soon coming to an end in 2022, no thanks the 2016 administration, but I digress.
Anyways! I entered Germany as a tourist and applied for a residence permit as a student with my local foreign office. The residence permit is called an Aufenthaltstitel, and I paid a €100 fee. The German name for where you need to apply is the Ausländerbehörde, or “Forienger’s Authority”.
To apply for a German student residence permit, I needed:
- proof of my university enrollment and acceptance
- proof of a German home address (an Anmeldung in German)
- proof of a blocked account
- my fingerprints
- a German passport photo
- Passport valid for longer than my studies
- €100 fee
I’ve heard the process is slightly different for students moving to Berlin and other cities, so it’s always best to reach out and ask your local Ausländerbehörde directly.
The expiration of your residence permit is usually for the academic year and will need to be renewed. To renew your residence permit at the end of your first year, you’ll need second year enrollment form from the university, a replenished blocked account, and the €93 renewal fee.
Course Materials: €50 – €100+ per semester
As a literature student, I spent about €50 on course materials in my first semester. However, my professors provided many of the materials. And had COVID not been an issue, they are at the library. I’d say €50 – €100 per semester is a rough ballpark.
Flight to Germany: €300 – €1,000+
If you’re already in the EU, this cost isn’t going to be high for you. But students coming from overseas can expect relatively expensive flights. My flight from Chicago was $1,500! However, that was at a peak COVID time, and Chicago to Frankfurt flights are more often priced at $500-$700.
Classic Berlin – the Brandenburg Gate
The Cost of Living in Germany for Students
Overall I’d say the cost of living in Germany is generally pretty reasonable. It’s a lot more affordable compared to large American cities, and even Berlin is quite affordable considering its size. This list covers the cost of moving to Germany and other living expenses.
These numbers are courtesy of the website Numbeo and the actual costs my partner, and I pay living here.
Average Food Costs in Germany
The website Numbeo gives a great indication of the average cost of living in Germany, and you can even select the exact city you’re hoping to move to. Here’s a breakdown of average food costs in Germany for a glimpse into the costs of living in Deutschland.
- Inexpensive meal out: €10
- Mid-range dinner for two: €50
- Bottle of beer: €3.50
- Dozen eggs: €2.24
- Bottle of water: €2.04
- 1kg apples: €2.32
- 1kg ground beef: €10.82
Average Monthly Rental Costs: €250 – €1000+ / month
Rent can be affordable in Germany if you opt to rent a room in a shared flat, a common route for students, which ranges from €250-€350 per month. This is also a fantastic way to meet more people and connect with local Germans.
If you’re interested in a private apartment, you’ll end up paying a bit more, and it can range from €500-€1,000 or more depending on location, size, amenities, etc. For example, a one-bedroom in Trier’s city center that included a kitchen and a balcony (kitchens aren’t always included in German apartments – crazy, right?!), rent was €750 per month. My place that I share with my boyfriend is a three-bedroom in a teeny tiny village of 2,000 people, and it’s €1250 per month.
Keep in mind, German landlords will ask for a down payment or Mietkaution just like many other places. By law, they cannot ask for more than three times the monthly rent, and it will be refunded to you at the end of your stay if there are no damages.
Here are some resources to find a place to live in Germany:
- Housing Anywhere
- City-specific Facebook Groups like Berlin EXPATS or Munich Expats are also great for information or finding roommates.
For our small town apartment, we pay in the range of €140 per month for utilities, which is just for heat. Water and trash fees are included in our rent.If you split these costs with roommates, I imagine utilities are pretty cheap.
Mandatory Health Insurance: €106+ /month
Everyone residing in Germany must be covered by health insurance, and navigating the market for the best health insurance can be a little complicated. In Germany, there is public and private health insurance, and different monthly costs depending on your “work status” (student, part-time, self-employed, full-time, etc.) as well as your salary and your age.
If you’re a student under 30 years old, you can apply for public health insurance, which currently costs about €106 per month or €640 for the year. One of the best public health insurance companies is TK, and they’re a very English/expat-friendly provider.
Above 30 years old, and I believe you must pay for the slightly more expensive private health insurance, but I’ll let you know about that once I hit 30 next year 😉 In the meantime, here’s a great guide going into deeper detail for health insurance in Germany.
Phone Plan: €20-€50+/month
When you sign up for a phone plan in Germany, there are different plans and providers to choose from and you can go with a contracted service plan or pay-as-you-go / refillable data SIMs.
I went with TKS as the service was best for my area and opted for the 8GB per month plan, which costs €32/month. My plan also includes a social media pass where I can use Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat without depleting my monthly gigabyte allowance.
Quick tip – you need your passport to sign up for a phone plan or even to get a refillable SIM card in Germany!
WiFi: €25 – €65+/month
Numbeo has the average monthly WiFi costs averaging closer to €25 per month, but where I live, we pay €60.90 a month. I’m not super techy, so, unfortunately, I’m not sure what specs we pay for as far as bandwidth is concerned, but let me tell ya, WiFi in Germany is kinda slow.
Broadcasting Fee Tax: €17.50/month
The broadcasting fee is €17.50/month, and you can set up direct debit payments to be monthly, quarterly, or yearly. I opted to just pay the whole thing up front via bank transfer, which came to €210 for the year.
The German broadcasting fee is a mandatory charge everyone must pay, and it’s to cover local TV and radio. Even if you don’t have a TV or radio, you still gotta pay for it, and they will definitely find you once you register your address with the local German officials.
So when you move in, be sure to keep your eyes peeled for the ARD ZDF Deutschlandradio Beitragsservice letter you will surely receive. If you don’t pay it, you can receive a hefty fine.
Cool street art spotted in Berlin
So, How Much Does it Cost to Study in Germany?
€1,000 – €1,500 ($1,200 – $1,800) Startup Costs
When planning a budget for how much it costs to apply to German universities, to move to Germany (flight ticket and residence permit), and other bureaucratic fees, I’d say it’ll cost you about €1,000 – €1,500 before arriving in Germany. This is on the higher end of an estimation because I’m of the opinion it’s better safe than sorry. This amount may very well fall under €1,000.
€1,500 – €2,500 ($1,800 – $3,000) Buffer
When you first move to Germany, you should try to come with some sort of buffer if possible. You won’t be able to take money out of your new blocked account until after you’ve set up a local German checking account, and you can’t get a local German checking account until after you register your address, which you can’t do until you have an address! Moving to Germany is complicated.
So having a buffer ensures that you can afford to stay in a hostel or hotel until you find a place to live. When you rent a new apartment in Germany, you also need enough for the down deposit.
€10,332 ($12,000) for the Year
Taking into consideration all of the other costs, the German government’s estimate of €861 per month is pretty accurate for what it costs to live in Germany as a student, which is €10,332 to support yourself for the year. This amount should fairly easily cover rent, food, insurance, having fun, etc.
The charming town of Cochem
How to Pay for School Germany
These amounts may seem daunting on paper, but when you compare them to the cost of living and going to school in the States, it’s actually much more affordable. But for those dying to study in Germany who are struggling financially, there are a few ways to lessen the burden.
Here are some ways/tips to help you pay for your studies in Germany:
- DAAD Scholarships: The German Academic Exchange Service or DAAD, is one of the world’s largest organizations that helps fund international students and researchers in their educational endeavors in Germany.
- Blocked Account Exemptions: If you have a parent or you know a German resident willing to sponsor and financially support you during your time in Germany, you can actually have the blocked account requirement waived, meaning you wouldn’t need €10,332 in straight cash on hand at once.
- You can get a job in Germany as a student: On a student residence permit, you are actually eligible to work part-time, no more than 20 hours per week. This is a great way to fund your studies and meet people too. *Self-employment is not allowed on a German student visa.
I hope this checklist sharing the cost of studying in Germany sheds some light on the great opportunity that living and getting a degree in Germany offers!
Questions? Comments? Helpful insights or tips? Share below!
This post contains affiliate links, meaning at no additional cost to you, if you click through and make a purchase, I may earn a small commission. Thank you for your support <3 Learn more on my disclosure page.
However, you would be required to pay the semester contribution fee that is charged for the student union, public transport, and administrative costs. But all these are kept minimum, approx. 300 Euros per semester. If you are getting enrolled in a private university, then it will cost you around 30,000 Euros per year.How much money do you need as a student in Germany? ›
867 euros a month is, on average, what you will need to cover your living costs as a student in Germany. You can expect to pay the following: a semester fee. living costs (rent, food, clothing, books, telephone etc)How much money do I need in my account to study in Germany? ›
In most cases, applicants have to prove that they have around 11.208 euros at their disposal for one year. This amount of money is called "Regelbedarf", which means it is the amount of money that is estimated to be needed by a student to live in Germany for one year.Can a poor student study in Germany? ›
The German welfare association Paritätische Gesamtverband has recently revealed that almost every third person studying in Germany lives below the poverty line. This has been followed by calls for BAföG reforms and higher student loans.Is Germany is free for study? ›
That's right: Germans, Europeans, and all non-Europeans can study in Germany free of charge - without tuition fees. It does not matter if you are from the EU or EEA. This applies to almost all study programmes at public universities.Which degree is best in Germany? ›
Engineering is by far the most popular and one of the best degrees to study in Germany, and it usually leads to an MS degree. Mechanical engineering, automotive engineering, and electrical engineering are among the engineering disciplines chosen by students.How much money is enough in Germany? ›
On average, to cover your living expenses in Germany you will need around 934 euros per month (around $906 US dollars) or 11,208 euros per year (around $10,876 US dollars). The prices for food, accommodation, bills, clothes and entertainment are basically in line with the EU average.How much students earn in Germany per month? ›
The classic among the part-time jobs is the minijob. You may earn up to 450 euros per month. With a minimum wage of 9.50 euros per hour (as of Jan. 2021), you have to work a maximum of around eleven hours per week or around 47 hours per month for this amount.How much money do you need for a student visa? ›
F1 visa costs are around $510 per application, and you should apply at least three months before your course start date.Does German student visa get rejected? ›
What are the chances of German student visa rejection? Ans. Despite having a 92% selection rate, German immigration officers might reject your visa based on the above-mentioned pointers. So ensure to avoid them regardless and not become a part of the Germany visa rejection rate percentage (8%.)
The application process is pretty simple if you have all the required documents. However, you should make sure to go prepared. Here's how to apply for the Germany Student Visa: Go to the German Embassy or Consulate in your country.Can I settle in Germany after study? ›
Yes. After you have completed your studies you can stay in Germany while you are looking for a job. Students from non-EU and non-EEA countries who hold a residence permit can apply to have it extended for another 18 months while they search for a job in Germany.Which country study is free? ›
Nordic nations Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden all offer opportunities to study free or at low cost: In Norway, university study is available free of charge to all students, regardless of study level or nationality.What is the age limit to study in Germany? ›
No, there is no age limit to applying to study programs in Germany. In fact, Germany is known to have a reputation for having the continent's oldest graduates—on average, 28 years old.Which country is best for study? ›
- United States. #1 in Study Abroad Rankings. ...
- United Kingdom. #2 in Study Abroad Rankings. ...
- France. #3 in Study Abroad Rankings. ...
- Italy. #4 in Study Abroad Rankings. ...
- Spain. #5 in Study Abroad Rankings. ...
- Japan. #6 in Study Abroad Rankings. ...
- Canada. #7 in Study Abroad Rankings. ...
Student jobs and internships
Students from abroad can also work in Germany alongside their studies. Students from EU/EEA countries are allowed to work for up to 20 hours per week during the semester, just like German students are. There is no limit to how much they can earn during semester breaks.
Getting Great at German
German might not be as familiar to English speakers as Spanish, but it's still one of the easiest languages to learn. Like Spanish, it's also a phonetic language, which makes pronunciation easy to figure out.
- Researchers in Biotechnology and Neuroscience. ...
- Surgeons and doctors. ...
- Judges. ...
- Bank managers. ...
- Director of Finance. ...
- Tourism and hospitality professionals. ...
- Engineering professions. ...
- Sales managers.
German companies are looking for employees in virtually all areas of industry, whether skilled workers or engineers. The following areas are particularly in demand: Raw material extraction. Production and manufacturing.What is a good monthly salary in Germany? ›
According to Statista, in 2021, the average gross annual salary in Germany was 47.700 euros a year, or 3.975 euros a month. The numbers above are for all of Germany. However, the average gross salary will depend greatly on your location, professional experience, education, size of the company, and gender.
1- Is it easy to get a job in Germany? With a huge range of professional opportunities and roles throughout Germany, securing a job isn't as hard as it may be in other countries around the world.How much is the lowest salary in Germany? ›
Germany's minimum wage is €12 per hour, pre-tax since 1 October 2022. The legislation (German: Gesetz zur Regelung eines allgemeinen Mindestlohns) was introduced on January 1, 2015, by Angela Merkel's third government, a coalition between the SPD and the CDU.Can I work full-time as a student in Germany? ›
You can work up to 20 hours per week while studying. If you exceed this, you'll be required to pay into the German social security system, and there could be a negative impact on your studies. Non-EU/EEA students are also able to work in Germany alongside their studies, for 120 full days or 240 half days per year.How many hours is a full time job in Germany? ›
An average working week in Germany as a full-time employee is between 36 and 40 hours, with daily working weeks in Germany between seven and eight hours five days a week. Speaking for students, this means that you are allowed to work 2.5 hours per week in addition to your studies.How many hours can I work in Germany? ›
Minimum and maximum working time
However, the law stipulates that the working hours on business days (Monday until Saturday) must not exceed an average of eight working hours per day, ie 48 hours per week, over a period of six months or 24 weeks.
How long ist an F-1 visa valid? An F-1 visa is issued for up to 5 years. However, the residence status in the Unitd States is valid for the entire duration of the study and is noted on the I-20 form.How many times can you apply for student visa? ›
There is no limit to how many times you can apply for an F-1 visa – although it is probably not wise to apply again and again without modifying what went wrong. If you learn from your previous mistakes, gather the necessary evidence and go in confident then there is little reason you will not get your visa.Which country gives PR easily? ›
|Country||Overall Ranking||Insider Monkey|
Which Countries Have The Highest Rejection Rates? According to Schengen Visa Statistic 2021, the 4 countries with the highest rejection rates were: Sweden, Norway, France, and Denmark.Is interview compulsory for Germany student visa? ›
For international students, the pursuit of German education is a bit more complicated than you might think. In addition to simply getting into their university of choice, students must gather all the necessary paperwork for the German student visa application. Then, they must complete the study visa interview.
As of 2022, as a foreigner in Germany you need a minimum of €934 euros per month for living expenses. So, you are required to have a total of €11,208 in your bank account before you apply for a German internship visa.Why do student visas get rejected? ›
Common Reasons behind Student Visa Rejection
Lack of sufficient financial funds or proofs to support foreign education. The inability of confirming a necessary return to India after completion of education. Incorrect or false documents. Inadequate language or communication skills.
If a visa application is rejected, the applicant has one month to appeal in writing ("remonstrate") to the mission abroad. The mission abroad will then reconsider the application.How do I know if my visa is rejected? ›
Upon visa refusal, you will get a letter from the consulate stating the reason for refusal. This will help you reapply after a specific period of time by rectifying the mistake. Also, some of the consulate websites provide the visa status with the reason for rejection, if any.Is Germany the cheapest country to study? ›
Germany offers affordable and high-quality options for higher education, making it the No. 1 study destination in the list of cheapest countries to study abroad. Free education in Germany can be availed at public universities for undergraduate and Doctoral programs.How much does it cost to study in Germany from India? ›
|Expense Type||Cost in EUR for Public University||Cost in EUR for Private University|
|Other administrative Costs||300||600|
|Post -Arrival Cost||12,000||12,000|
The classic among the part-time jobs is the minijob. You may earn up to 450 euros per month. With a minimum wage of 9.50 euros per hour (as of Jan. 2021), you have to work a maximum of around eleven hours per week or around 47 hours per month for this amount.How much is study visa to Germany? ›
|Category||Visa Fee (Euro)|
|Applicants under 18 years old||37.50|
|Applicants over 18 years old||75|