Financing your studies, more information about the possibilities

Before starting your studies, you should ask yourself the question of how to finance your studies. In addition to the BAföG, there are numerous ways you can raise the money for your studies.

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How do you finance your studies?

For a study of around 10 semesters, you should plan to spend around € 45,000 despite the abolition of tuition fees. According to the 21st Social Survey of the Studentenwerk in 2016, the average student has around € 918 a month to finance his studies. The lion’s share is represented by parents in 86% of students. More than half of those surveyed earn money to finance their studies through part-time jobs, and just 18% of students receive state BAföG.

In general, the following applies to the financing of your studies: It’s all in the mix! There are various ways to finance your studies and the rising cost of living:

  • Financial support from parents
  • child benefit
  • BAföG
  • scholarships
  • jobbing
  • Student loans
  • Tuition Fee Loan
  • Education loan

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Financial support from parents

By law, your parents are required to fund your first education. The law provides for up to € 735 maintenance for students who no longer live at home – depending on their parents’ income. A prerequisite for legally regulated funding of your studies by your parents is that you adhere to the standard period of study. In Germany, around 86% of parents support their student children with an average of € 541 per month.

child benefit

Up to the age of 25, your parents are also entitled to child benefit during your studies. Depending on how many siblings You have, your parents receive between € 184 and € 215 a month. If your parents agree to transfer the money to your student account, it is a regular contribution to the financing of the study.


The Federal Education Promotion Act (BAföG for short) regulates the state support for the financing of your studies. Half of the BAföG consists of an interest-free loan, which you repay a few years after completing your studies and entering professional life. The other half consists of a government grant. The monthly repayment rate depends on your future income, which must have reached a minimum level of € 1,070. The amount of funding depends largely on your parents’ income and amounts to maximum € 735 per month.

In order to receive BAföG, you must adhere to the standard period of study, submit proof of your academic achievements after the 4th semester and have started your studies before the age of 30. You apply for the BAföG with an appropriate form. You can get this form and help with completing it from the Studentenwerk or BAföG office. If your application is approved, you will normally receive a monthly payment to finance your studies for one year. Then you fill out the application again and submit it. Around 18% of students currently receive BAföG.


It is a common misconception that you only get a scholarship to finance your studies with a grade point average of 1.0 and a perfect CV. Of course, foundations have certain requirements when it comes to awarding their scholarships. But these are not as high as many think. In 2012, around 5% of the benefited students from a scholarship.

When applying, you should be able to show good performance at school or in college, volunteer work and an appealing letter of motivation. The largest, oldest and most well-known foundation for the promotion of talented young people in Germany is the Studienstiftung des Deutschen Volkes. There are several ways to be accepted: In addition to the recommendation of a teacher or professor, you can also apply for a scholarship yourself since 2010. Numerous church and political institutions and foundations also support students in financing their studies. Similar to BAföG, the amount of funding depends on your parents’ income. Smaller grants offer you, for example, a monthly book allowance or travel grants for stays abroad. You can also take part in free seminars at many foundations and establish contacts with former scholars.


To finance your studies, you can also earn a few euros per month through a part-time job. In addition to the employment agency and databases on the Internet, many universities and student unions offer their own job exchanges.

In general, the following should apply to every job: the degree program comes first It is therefore better not to work more than 20 hours a week alongside your studies. In addition, many health insurance companies no longer classify their insured persons as students if they work longer hours and require higher premiums. Your additional income can also affect other sources of income, such as BAföG. Your BAföG will be reduced if you earn more than € 400 per month. You also have to keep in mind that you have to pay social security contributions such as pension and health insurance or taxes if you have a higher salary.

Student loans

With the introduction of tuition fees from 2005, many students were no longer able to finance their studies with conventional sources of income. Student loans should make it easier to finance your studies. Compared to a normal loan, a student loan is not tied to a security. It is not paid out as a total, but rather in monthly installments to finance your studies. After completing your studies, you will pay back the total amount after a waiting period including interest. In addition to the KfW development bank, many other banks now offer student loans.

Tuition Fee Loan

The introduction of tuition fee loans was another consequence of the levying of tuition fees in some federal states. This was to prevent the start of studies from failing due to fees. The loans to finance your studies are granted on different terms in each federal state and are usually limited to the duration of the standard period of study. The repayment will be made after the completion of your studies in pre-determined installments. The difference between a tuition fee loan and a normal loan is that the loan is paid out once a semester and only covers the costs of the tuition fees. You must continue to pay your semester ticket or the fees for the Studentenwerk and your living expenses out of your own pocket. Similar to the student loan, a loan offers you particularly favorable conditions and requires no collateral. You can submit a corresponding application online to the KfW Förderbank, for example.

Education loan

You apply for the educational loan to finance your studies in an advanced phase of your studies, for example in the master’s or main studies. Regardless of your or your parents’ income, you can finance internships or stays abroad during your further studies with an educational loan. The monthly payment varies between € 100 and € 300. You should individually clarify the question of what type of financing the study is suitable for you. The cost of living during your studies not only varies from student to student, but above all also between the study locations – so your studies in Munich or Hanover can be considerably more expensive than, for example, in Leipzig or Chemnitz.


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Christina Cherry
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