4.2 The cost of studies in Germany

Generally, proof of sufficient financial resources must be given when applying for a visa at a German diplomatic representation abroad or for a residence permit at the Foreigners' Registration Office (Ausländerbehörde) in Berlin, which will enable the applicant to pursue university studies without financial hardship at least at the beginning. One must be able to prove one's own monthly financial resources of € 720, or a yearly sum of € 8,640. (These requirements are based on the maximum BaföG-grant for German students, and were adjusted on 1.08.2016). In some exceptional cases, the German embassy or consulate may require a specified amount to be paid into a blocked access bank account (Sperrkonto) to ensure financial security for the initial period of the applicant's stay in Germany.

The cost of living in Berlin has risen in the last few years, however, it is not yet as high as in other major cities. Nevertheless, the prospective student is likely to encounter the intellectual and cultural challenges of studying at a German university. In this situation it would be a disadvantage for him/her to be dependent on a job from the very start of studies just in order to cover basic needs. If no financial support is given from parents or family, or if a student does not have adequate financial resources of his/her own, other problems might arise very soon.

There are a few countries that provide scholarships which cover students' cost of living in Germany. In Germany itself, scholarships or grants are usually only awarded on the basis of academic performance and social commitment (► 8.1.3).

The Deutscher Akademischer Austauschdienst (DAAD) provides scholarships for international students, but only for specific periods of study, depending on the programme (semester or one-year scholarships, scholarships for internationally-oriented Master's courses, doctoral scholarships). Detailed information is available in the DAAD's Scholarship Database.

Enquiries can also be made at German diplomatic and consular representations, at Goethe-Institutes or at DAAD offices for further information on other sources of financial support.