Financing Options for Studying Abroad

A stay abroad – be it for a semester, an entire course of study or just for a summer session – can be associated with considerable costs. How high these turn out in each case naturally depends on the individual case. Apart from the tuition fees that may be incurred, the cost of living in some countries can also be well above the German average.

The high tuition fees in some countries alone can be daunting at first glance and discourage you from considering studying abroad in the first place. There are a number of financing options for studying abroad for students in Germany – such as BAföG abroad, various scholarships and educational loans – which make studying abroad affordable.

Foreign BAföG

If you are entitled to BAföG in Germany, you can assume that studying abroad will be at least partially financed by the BAföG office. Since the income thresholds for BAföG significantly higher lie than the domestic production, also students come for the promotion in question, who are not eligible for domestic BAföG. A full course abroad can be funded over the entire period of study; however, only if the course is completed within the EU and Switzerland. If it is only a partial course, global funding is possible. For a full course it should also be noted that the tuition fee grant (up to EUR 4,600)is only paid for one year, whereas the remaining benefits are granted over the entire study period. Since the processing of the application can take some time, it should be submitted at least six months in advance. The responsibilities of the BAföG offices set up by the way, after each target country.


Institutions such as the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) award scholarships for various forms of study abroad. The requirements for a scholarship can be quite different. Here, too, it is important to obtain thorough information in advance and, above all, to ensure that any application deadlines are met.

In addition, the foreign universities themselves often award scholarships to international students. The award criteria are also very different here and are not necessarily awarded on the basis of academic performance. In addition, there are organizations and institutions that award scholarships for individual countries, study programs or for specific fields of study.

Talent grants and foundations

In Germany there are numerous organizations for the promotion of talented students and foundations that award both partial and full scholarships. In addition to ideologically independent foundations (such as the Studienstiftung des Deutschen Volkes), there are various party, trade union and religion-related organizations. Selection criteria here are mostly a special talent, voluntary commitment and / or identification with the topics and contents of the respective foundation.In many cases, however, it is not possible to be accepted into the program to promote talented students for just one semester abroad. Here it is important to seek appropriate funding at an early stage, preferably before the start of your studies or at the very beginning of your studies.

Education and student loans

When using education and student loans, it is advisable to pay attention to the conditions such as interest rate, repayment modalities and flexibility in addition to the funding requirements. There are both government-sponsored loans and loans from private institutions.

The federal government’s educational loan program is aimed at students in advanced training phases. The offer is also aimed at German students studying abroad. Prerequisite: The training facility must be equivalent to a German university. The program is aimed primarily at students who are already studying abroad and are in the final phase of their studies there.

An unlimited number of semesters abroad can be funded with the KfW student loan. The loan can also be combined with other grants. Since enrollment at a state or state-recognized university based in Germany is a prerequisite, financing a full course abroad is excluded. The situation is similar with private credit institutions, which in most cases are based on the KfW Bank and therefore only finance individual semesters abroad. In addition, there are often higher interest rates and unfavorable repayment modalities.

Financing Options for Studying Abroad