Germany is one of the most popular destinations for international students. At German universities, you will enjoy quality education and numerous Bachelor’s and Master’s programmes taught in English. Most study programmes are also free for all foreign students.
Below you will find all the information you need to calculate your budget for studying in Germany. Check out details about tuition fees, living costs and scholarship opportunities.
1. Tuition fees in Germany
If you want to study in Germany, you’ll be happy to know that public universities do not charge tuition fees for Bachelor’s and Master’s programmes (except if you plan to pursue a Master's degree that focuses on a different subject than the one you studied as a Bachelor’s student). The German free tuition system is available for all foreign students, regardless of their country of origin.
The only exception is the Federal State of Baden-Württemberg, which, at the end of 2017, reintroduced tuition fees of 3,000 EUR/year for non-EU/EEA students.
Most German universities are public, so you will only have to pay an administration fee, which usually costs between 100 - 350 EUR/semester. This fee covers the student organisation services and your enrolment.
There are exceptions to this tuition-free rule, however. If you don’t finish your degree course on time and you study in Bremen, Lower Saxony, Saarland, Saxony, Saxony-Anhalt or Thuringia, you may have to pay tuition fees.
Tuition fees at private universities
At German private universities, tuition costs can reach 26,000 EUR/year for a Bachelor’s degree and 40,000 EUR/year for a Master’s. Programmes in Engineering and Business & Management are the most expensive.
Tuition-free universities for international students
Here are a few examples of free public universities in Germany:
- University of Stuttgart
- University of Mannheim
- University of Bremen
- University of Cologne
- University of Hamburg
Universities we recommend in Germany
- University of Bonn
- CBS International Business School
- SRH Berlin University of Applied Sciences
- RWTH Aachen University
- Technical University of Kaiserslautern
Check out the best universities in Germany according to global rankings.
Tuition fees at top-ranked universities in Germany
Here is a list of average tuition fees at the top-ranked German universities:
- Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich – average tuition fees 258 EUR/year
- Heidelberg University – average tuition fees 20,000 EUR/year
- Technical University of Munich – average tuition fees 258 EUR/year
- Humboldt University of Berlin – no tuition fees
2. Cost of living in Germany for students
Not only can you study for free in Germany, but it is also a pretty affordable country. The average costs of living for students range between 700 - 1,000 EUR/month, including accommodation.
- Larger cities: Berlin, Frankfurt or Dusseldorf – total living costs of 900 – 1,500 EUR/month
- Smaller cities: Freiburg, Leipzig or Hannover – you will need 750 – 1,100 EUR/month
Find out more about expenses (including health insurance) for students in Germany.
Student accommodation costs in Germany
When it comes to living in Germany, housing is the highest monthly expense you will have.. Cheaper options for international students are residence halls or sharing a privately rented apartment. You can also rent a one-room apartment (also called a studio). Below you will find the average accommodation costs for a student in Germany:
- Living alone in a studio: 390 EUR/month
- Sharing a privately rented flat: 365 EUR/month
- Living in a student residence: 250 EUR/month
Rooms in student residence halls are one of the most popular housing options. According to the DAAD, over 40% of international students live in a student residence. The second most popular option is sharing a flat, with 30% of students choosing this type of accommodation.
Monthly utilities like electricity, gas, heating, and internet can add between 100 - 200 EUR to your overall living costs.
Food costs for international students in Germany
As a student in Germany, you will pay about 170 EUR/month on food. If you’re looking for lower prices, try cheaper supermarkets like Aldi, Lidl, and Netto.
If you wish to have dinner in a restaurant once in a while you will pay 10 EUR for food in a cheap one. A three-course meal for two in an average restaurant costs 45 EUR and an additional light drink will be 3 EUR.
According to a DAAD study, around 10% of the total monthly student budget is spent on transport.
- A public transport pass for students is between 25 and 200 EUR/month. However, at many universities, the cost of the monthly transport pass is included in the administration fee that you need to pay every semester.
- You can easily get around with a bicycle throughout any city in Germany. Rates for renting a bicycle are around 15-20 EUR/day.
- Use Germany’s Deutsche Bahn train system and visit any German city you want; fares are between 20 and 70 EUR.
You can also use the Numbeo website to check out other prices and costs in Germany.
Funding & student support
The German state strongly supports higher education and finances universities by covering tuition fees. In addition, the German government also offers financial support programmes for students.
- The German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) is a financial aid programme that focuses on German and international students and researchers.
- Deutschlandstipendium – offers awards of 300 EUR/month for talented students for at least two semesters.
You can also check out the Studyportals Scholarship to get some help on financing your studies abroad.
Find more scholarship opportunities in Germany.
German student visa
Now that you have an overview of tuition fees and living costs in Germany, you can start applying to universities. While you do that, don't forget to also check the German student visa requirements if you are from outside the EU/EEA.