The Cost of Studying in Germany: A Guide for International Students

Article reading time: 7 min. | 20. Jun 2024, written by Margherita Seppi
Tags StudyInGermany AffordableEducation AcademicExcellence Germany HigherEducation IUKnowledgeBase StudentLife InternationalStudents
University fees and tuition costs

Understanding Germany University Fees For International Students

A crucial aspect to consider when planning your educational journey, are the tuition fees in Germany for international students. You should remember that the country is home to a variety of educational institutions, including both public and private universities, each offering unique fee structures and courses.

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Tuition Fees in Germany: Public Universities

Synonymous with affordability, public universities in Germany have carved a niche for themselves on a global platform. These institutions are so dedicated to promoting education that they offer free education to students originating from regions within the European Union (EU) and the European Economic Area (EEA). Isn't it wonderful that German universities champion inclusive education at such a high level?

However, if you're an aspiring international student from outside the EU/EEA, the educational landscape might look slightly different. Here, tuition fees, including some other administrative charges, may vary depending on the specific German university and course selected. Generally, public universities in Germany are tuition-free, with semester fees of €100 to €350 [1].

In summary:

  • German public universities are generally affordable and highly recognized globally.
  • EU/EEA students might even qualify for free education - a testament to Germany's dedication to education for all.
Young woman focused on studying at the library

Tuition Fees in Germany: Private Universities

Upon shifting our attention onto the private sector, the financial makeup changes slightly. Unlike public institutions that receive state subsidies, private universities in Germany rely heavily on independent funding. Therefore, students usually encounter higher tuition fees.

Private universities may charge €5,000 to €20,000 annually, depending on the degree level and study programme. Bachelor’s degrees at a private university typically require lower tuition fees than master’s degree programmes [2]. For example, tuition fees at Jacobs University Bremen, a highly-regarded private institution, a Bachelor's Degree in International Business Administration might be priced near €10,000 per year [3].

In summary:

  • Private German universities depend significantly on tuition fees for funding.
  • Students can expect tuition fees to span from €10,000 to €20,000 annually.
  • Bachelor's Degree programmes usually demand lower tuition fees than Master's Degree programmes.

At IU International University of Applied Sciences, a reputable private university within Germany's education landscape, we place a strong thrust on creating career-focused learning experiences in our degree programmes, providing hands-on, career-oriented learning material for distance learning and hybrid courses.

Working adults who want to further their careers but don't want to leave their existing full-time or part-time jobs can find what they're looking for in online degree programs at IU.

So, what exactly does a student pay for each semester? Online degree programs have a wide range in annual tuition costs, from around €3,000 to €5,000.

IU offers also another option: blended degrees, which combine both online and on-campus studies, giving students the best of both worlds: exposure to Germany's vibrant culture and access to the practical knowledge of seasoned professionals. Blended degree tuition fees are normally between €9,950 and €10,950 per year.

Discover our degree programmes

IU International University of Applied Sciences offers 50+ career-transforming Bachelor's, Master's and MBA degrees in IT, business, marketing, social & healthcare and psychology.

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Cost of living

Cost of living in Germany for international students

When estimating the cost of studying in Germany, it's crucial to consider not only university fees but also the cost of living. Germany offers a high quality of life, and although living expenses can vary depending on factors such as lifestyle and location, the overall cost of living in Germany is relatively affordable compared to other European countries.

As a single person, you will need a minimum of €934 per month (around $1,018 US dollars) or €11,208 per year (around $12,217 US dollars) to cover your living expenses in Germany as of 2024. Your cost of living will include accommodation, food, transportation, and leisure activities [4]. However, it's important to note that larger cities like Munich, Frankfurt, and Hamburg tend to have higher living costs than smaller cities or towns. So, keep these factors in mind while planning for your everyday expenses.

Cost of studying in Germany: Accommodation and housing costs

Finding suitable accommodation, while keeping the cost of studying in Germany in mind, is an important aspect of your study abroad experience. There are various types of student accommodation available, each with different price ranges and living arrangements, catering to individual preferences and budgets.

Types of student accommodation available in Germany include:

Student dormitories (Studentenwohnheim)

In the student residences run by student services a room costs on average €267 per month [5]. Dormitories are usually located close to the university campus and offer single or shared rooms with shared facilities like kitchens and bathrooms. This is an affordable option as far as cost of studying is concerned.

Shared apartments

This popular option involves sharing an apartment with other students or young professionals. Shared apartments offer private bedrooms with shared common areas, such as the kitchen, bathroom, and living room. The average rent prices for a room in a shared apartment at university towns and cities in Germany range from €300 to €800 per month.

Private apartments

Renting a private apartment offers more privacy and independence but is usually more expensive than other accommodation options. The national average rent for a one-bedroom apartment is €700 [6].

Cost of living in Berlin for students

When considering the living cost in Berlin for students, it's essential to keep in mind that the city has become increasingly popular, leading to rising rent prices. The average rent for a room in a shared apartment in Berlin ranges from €400 to €600 per month, while a one-bedroom private apartment can cost between €700 and €1,200 per month [5].

Cost of transportation and travel expenses

Being able to get around with ease is essential for attending classes, accessing necessary facilities, and enjoying leisure activities. Germany offers a variety of transportation options to cater to diverse needs and budgets. Let's explore the different ways to travel in Germany and the associated costs:

A woman with glasses holds a backpack and a laptop on the street

1. Public transportation: Germany boasts an extensive and efficient public transportation network, including buses, trams, subways (U-Bahn), and suburban trains (S-Bahn). Most cities offer affordable monthly or semester public transport passes for students. A public transport ticket ranges from €25 to €200 per month, depending on the city [6]. These passes for public transport usually provide unlimited travel within the city or region, however the transportation costs are often included in the administrative fee you pay to the university.

2. Cost of owning and operating a car: While having a car can provide flexibility and convenience, it can also be quite expensive, especially if you want to keep low the cost of studyin in Germany. The costs associated with owning a car in Germany include fuel, insurance, maintenance, pay taxes, administrative costs, and parking fees. On average, the total cost of owning and operating a car can range from €200 to €400 per month [7]. Considering the availability and affordability of public transportation, owning a car may not be the most practical choice for foreign students studying in universities in Germany desiring higher education.

3. Biking and walking options: Many German cities have well-developed bicycle infrastructure, making cycling a popular, eco-friendly, and cost-effective mode of transportation. Biking can also be a great way to explore the city and stay fit. Some cities even offer bike-sharing programs, allowing you to rent a bike for a few hours or days at affordable rates. Walking, of course, is the most budget-friendly and environmentally friendly way of getting around, especially if you live close to your university campus and amenities.

Cost of studying in Germany: Food and dining expenses

Eating well and staying within your budget is essential for a comfortable and enjoyable study experience in Germany! Here's a breakdown of food and dining expenses, along with tips on how to save money while still enjoying delicious meals:

  • Average cost of groceries for students: The cost of groceries in Germany can vary depending on your dietary preferences and shopping habits. On average, international students can expect to spend around €150 to €200 per month on groceries. To save on grocery expenses, consider shopping at discount supermarkets like Aldi, Lidl, and Penny, and purchasing in-season fruits and vegetables.
  • Dining out and take-away options: Eating out at restaurants can be relatively affordable but will also impact the total cost of studying in Germany, with a meal at a mid-range restaurant costing around €10 to €20 per person [9]. Fast food and take-away options like kebabs, pizza, and currywurst are also popular among students and can cost between €3 and €7 per meal. However, frequent dining out can add up quickly, so it's essential to strike a balance between eating out and cooking at home.

Tips for saving money on food:

Cook at home

Preparing meals at home can significantly reduce your food expenses. Consider batch cooking and meal planning to save time and money.

Utilise student discount

Many restaurants and cafes offer student discounts or special lunch deals, so be sure to take advantage of these offers when dining out.

Shop at local market

Purchasing fresh produce from local farmers' markets can be a cost-effective and sustainable way to buy groceries. Plus, it's a great way to offer financial support to local businesses and experience authentic German culture.

Limit food waste

Be mindful of portion sizes and store leftovers properly to reduce food waste and save money.

Share meals with friends

Organise potluck dinners or cooking sessions with friends to save on food costs while enjoying a diverse range of dishes and socialising.

Cost of entertainment, socialising, and going out

Diving into social and leisure activities is a key part of student life in Germany, allowing you to make new friends, relax, and soak up the local culture. Here's an overview of some popular entertainment options and recreational activities and wallet-friendly tips to enjoy your time without increasing too much the cost of studying in Germany:

Cost of popular activities and events for students:

  • Catching a movie: €8 to €12 [9]
  • Attending a theater or concert: if you study in public universities or private universities you can normally expect to save money on theater events and concerts with a student discount [10].
  • Hitting the gym: €20 to €60 per month for students [11].
Two men and two women are laughing on the street

Budget-friendly options and tips for socialising:

  • Free or low-cost cultural events: Many German cities showcase free or inexpensive cultural events like open-air concerts, film screenings, and art exhibitions. Keep an eye on local event listings and university bulletin boards for info on what's happening.
  • Museums and galleries: Lots of museums in Germany grant free admission or reduced entry fees for students. Some even have specific days or hours where entry is free or discounted for everyone.
  • Parks and outdoor activities: Germany is blessed with numerous parks and green spaces, perfect for picnics, sports, or leisurely walks. During the warmer months, you can also take advantage of the lakes, rivers, or public pools in many cities at little or no cost.
  • University clubs and organisations: Joining clubs and organizations at your university is a great way to socialize, make friends, and engage in affordable activities. There's something for everyone, from sports to arts and culture, as well as international student associations that organize events and outings.
  • Potluck dinners and game nights: Hosting potluck dinners or game nights with friends is a fun and budget-friendly way to socialise. By holding these gatherings at home, you'll save on dining out or buying event tickets.
Taxes and additional expenses

Cost of studying in Germany: Taxes and additional expenses

While studying in Germany, you should be aware of certain taxes and additional expenses that may arise during your stay. Here's an overview of taxes applicable to international students and other mandatory expenses to consider:

Overview of taxes applicable to international students:

a. Income tax: If you decide to work part-time during your studies in Germany, you may be subject to income tax depending on your earnings. As an international student, you are allowed to work up to 120 full days or 240 half days per year without a work permit [11]. If your annual income is below €9,744, you are exempt from income tax. However, if your earnings exceed this threshold, you will be required to pay income tax [12].

b. Tax identification number (TIN): If you plan to work during your studies in Germany, you must obtain a tax identification number (TIN) from the Federal Central Tax Office. This number is used for tax purposes and is required by your employer to deduct income tax from your salary [13].

If you want to know more about how to find a job in Germany, don't miss our guide!

Cost of student health insurance in Germany and other mandatory expenses:

Health insurance

Besides tuition fees, the cost of studying in Germany includes mandatory health insurance coverage for all students in the country. · On average, the cost of student health insurance in Germany can be between €120 and €200 per month [15]. Alternatively, private health insurance plans are also available but may have varying costs depending on the provider and coverage.

Liability insurance

While not mandatory, obtaining liability insurance is highly recommended for international students in Germany. Liability insurance covers you in case you cause damage to someone else's property or cause injury to another person. The cost of liability insurance is usually around €50 to €100 per year [16].

TV and radio license fees

In Germany, all households are required to pay a monthly fee for public broadcasting services. This fee, known as the "Rundfunkbeitrag," is currently €18.36 per month. If you live in a shared apartment, this fee can be split among the tenants.

Student Visa

The cost of obtaining a student visa is another essential factor to consider when planning your studies in Germany. For international students from non-EU countries, a German student visa is required. The current fee for a German student visa application is 75 Euros (approximately $88 USD as visa fees while studying overseas). However, it is essential to note that other expenses may arise during the visa application process, such as document translation or notarization fees related to the visa.

Scholarships and financial aid

Scholarships and financial aid for international students in Germany

Numerous scholarships and financial aid options are available for international students to help manage the cost of studying in Germany, including:

1. DAAD Scholarships: The German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) offers a comprehensive database of scholarships and funding opportunities for various study levels and fields.

2. Erasmus+ Program: This European Union initiative provides scholarships and grants for students studying in Europe, including Germany.

Here are some tips for applying and securing financial assistance, which can consequently lower the cost of studying in Germany.

  1. Start early: Scholarship deadlines may fall several months before the start of the academic year. Begin your research well in advance to avoid missing out on opportunities.
  2. Be thorough: Explore all available resources and apply for multiple scholarships to increase your chances of success.
  3. Tailor your application: Highlight your achievements, skills, and experiences relevant to the scholarship's specific requirements.
  4. Proofread: Ensure your application is error-free, professionally presented, and well-structured.
  5. Seek guidance: Consult your university's financial aid office or advisors for assistance with your scholarship applications.

Why to consider IU for studying in Germany?

In summary, studying in Germany offers you a unique opportunity to receive a top-notch education while experiencing an exciting cultural immersion. As we've discussed, average tuition fees, accommodation, transportation, and living costs can be managed effectively with proper planning and budgeting. Additionally, numerous scholarships and financial aid options, such as those offered by DAAD and the Erasmus+ program, education loan, etc are available as financial resources to help you manage your cost of studying in Germany.

As an international student in Germany, you have a wonderful opportunity to obtain a top-notch education and make the most of your time here. To ensure that you get the most out of your experience, it may be helpful to start your research early and take advantage of the many resources available to both German and international students. By doing so, you can set yourself up for success and create a fulfilling and enriching academic journey.

Take advantage of this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity by enrolling at IU, a private institution known for its emphasis on technology and business and its commitment to practical, hands-on education. It has campuses in Berlin and Bad Honnef, as well as a growing online and blended learning presence, catering to the diverse educational needs of international students and working professionals.

Get started on the path to future success by investigating the many options open to you at IU. Start out on an adventure that will change your life forever by broadening your perspective and providing access to previously inaccessible opportunities.

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How much money is required to study in Germany?

As of 2023, it has been publicly estimated that international students in Germany will need about 934 EUR per month, or 11,208 EUR per year, to cover their living costs.

Is university education free in Germany?

The paradigm of free education in Germany primarily benefits students from the European Union (EU) and European Economic Area (EEA), who can study at public German universities without paying tuition fees, irrespective of the degree level. Nonetheless, for non-EU/EEA students, studying in Germany might involve some cost as public universities charge relatively affordable tuition fees for degree programmes.

What is the cost of living and studying in Germany for international students?

As of 2023, the estimated monthly cost of living in Germany for international students is about 934 EUR, which rounds up to approximately 11,208 EUR annually for living expenses. These estimates, however, depend on the city and personal lifestyle choices, besides the cost of studying in Germany at your chosen university and degree programme.[7]

What is the cost of studying in Germany for Indian students?

Indian students studying in Germany would experience variable costs depending on the type of university chosen. At public German universities, tuition fees can range from €300 to €500 per semester. In contrast, the cost of studying at private German universities might ascend to a higher bracket of about €12,000 to €15,000 per year.

Is Germany costly for Indian students?

While the cost of studying in Germany significantly hinges upon the selected university and degree programme, general living expenses for Indian students are estimated to be around 934 EUR per month or 11,208 EUR per year. However, this can fluctuate based on personal lifestyle choices and the city of residence.

How much does it cost to study in Germany as an international student?

The cost of studying in Germany for an international student will largely depend on the chosen German university and the programme of study. Public universities might charge fees between €1,500 to €3,500 per semester for non-EU/EEA students, whereas private universities typically range from €10,000 to €20,000 per year.

Can I study in Germany with 10 lakhs?

Yes, it is possible to study in Germany with a budget of 10 lakhs INR, particularly if you choose a public university which typically charges lower tuition fees as compared to private universities. However, this will largely depend on the specific course, the duration of your study, and cost of living in the city you choose to reside in.

How expensive is Germany for Indians?

The cost of living in Germany for Indians, besides the cost of studying, is estimated to be around 934 EUR per month or 11,208 EUR annually. These costs could vary based on lifestyle, city of residence, and the type of university and study programme chosen.

This article has last been updated on May 2024

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