What does it cost to study in Germany

The question “And what does this cost?” is one of the first questions one is asking or is being asked by parents when their children want to study abroad. Not only a whole degree abroad but also a single term can include costs that wouldn’t be there in the home country.

Tuition fees

The first point of the costing is the tuition fee. In Germany these are quite low compared to other countries and at some universities there are no fees. Most German universities are financed by the state and government and just a small amount of their money comes from tuition fees. How much has to be paid depends on the location of the university. Every federal state can decide on its own, if it has enough money to abolish tuition fees or if it needs additional fees. The federal states Bayern, Hamburg, Niedersachsen and Nordrhein-Westfalen still charge tuition fees. These are obligatory for most students and account about 500 Euros per semester. All other federal states do not charge tuition fees or just fees for long-time students and for a second degree.

Those who want to study at a private university have to calculate with much higher tuition fees. The private universities are financed only from tuition fees and therefore these are much higher. It is possible, that students have to pay up to 20.000 Euros per year.

Semester fees

In addition to the tuition fees it is normal in Germany that there is another amount called the semester fee. This amount has to be paid by every student and covers administration costs and the finance of cafeterias, sports areas and residential homes. Furthermore, it includes the money for a semester bus ticket. At most universities it is possible to use the students-card as a ticket for bus and train in the area. The semester fee can differ from university to university and costs about 150 to 250 Euros.

Living expenses

The second big part besides the tuition fees are the living-costs. Germany is not much more expensive than other countries but one needs quite a lot of additional money when not living at the parent’s house. Living-costs in Germany differ a lot depending on the area. It is a big difference living in a big industrial or university-city or in a small town which is not that overloaded with people. Especially in the areas with high housing shortage the students form apartment-sharing communities and share the basic costs. The apartment-sharing is a cheap alternative to the own apartment. Universities also provide residential homes for their students in which one can live cheaply. In most cases the kitchen is shared with other students and one has a small single room. Applying early for a place at the residential home raises the chance to get one of the strongly demanded places. Residential homes cost between 200 and 400 Euros, a room in an apartment-sharing community between 300 and 500 Euros. A single apartment can cost from 400 Euros upwards.

There are some more things that are needed to live besides a room. Starting with food and clothing, continuing with books for university and free-time activities these costs form another part in the costing. Depending on the subject one has to buy a lot of books or copy the lecture material, these costs can be about 50 Euros per semester. The money needed for food depends on every person. Is it enough to have the food from the cafeteria or do you want to cook wholefood products at your home? Additionally to the food there are free-time activities. It doesn’t matter if one prefers sport and has to pay for club memberships or if one likes to go out with friends and needs money for this. In total, it is a good way to look at the own lifestyle and calculate with about 200 Euros more.

Coming from a different country means that one wants to go home sometimes to see the family at Christmas or on holidays. For these travels there are more costs to be calculated, which can be quite expensive depending on the distance to the home country.

Everyone should calculate for his or her own needs and make a list what he or she needs to live. Just if the finance is secure it is possible to study in Germany.