The Costs of Living:
Studying as foreign student in Germany

How much does it cost to study in Germany? Is it really free of charge to study in Germany?

Here is the answer!

Is it possible to study at an acceptable price in Germany?

Is studying in Germany really free of charge? In some websites it is stated: “Studying is free-of-charge in Germany”. That’s not true! Studying costs money in Germany, too. But it is not as expensive as in several other countries!

Not to forget: studying is also the most valuable investment in your own future. Expenditure on studies is always a good investment. Quite often, employees with a successful degree earn about one third more than other employees. So the study program may also cost a little. In addition, there are also a number of advantages resulting from a successful graduation, such as more exciting activities at the workplace, more prestige and, above all, fewer dependencies due to crises and market cycles.

Facts check: How much does studying in Germany cost?

Let’s get to the facts: How much does it cost? We know from our own experience what costs can be estimated. On this page we provide you with a certain amount of transparency so that you can plan your studies more accurately.

Expenses summary: How much does it cost to study in Germany?

For a quick overview we have compiled a summary of all costs.

Costs for studying in Germany*
 Category Subject one time costs monthly costs annual costs
Living Rent 200 to 400 € 2.400 to 4.800 €
Rent deposit 150 to 450€
Electricity, gas, water 50 to 90 € 600 to 1.200 €
Internet and telephone 5 to 50 € 60 to 600 €
Study Semester fee 100 to 350 € / semester
Books and
writing materials
10 to 40 € 120 to 480 €
Health Health insurance 80 to 180 € 960 to 1800 €
Personal hygiene, etc. 10 to 25 € 120 to 300 €
Food Eating and drinking 100 to 200 € 1200 to 2.400 €
Mensa 50 to 70 € 600 to 840 €
Other Miscellaneous e.g.: 100 € e.g.: 25 € e.g.: 300 €
Total 350 to 900 € approx.
500 € to 1.100 €
approx.
6.000 to 13.200 €

* These are estimated values!

Tuition fees

The best news first: Most universities and colleges do not charge tuition fees. This makes studying in Germany very cheap and worthwhile! Costs still exist. On average, you have to pay about 200 euros per semester to the university or college. This contribution finances the library, the IT infrastructure, student events and often the bus or tram ticket in your university town. The fees depend on the university where you are enrolled. Some universities demand contributions of only 100 euros, others up to 800 euros per semester.

Rent for the apartment

Rental prices in Germany fluctuate sharply. While in small cities sometimes only 4 euros per square meter are charged, the costs in large cities such as Munich quickly reach 25 euros per square meter. Generally the prices are between 6 and 15 euros per square meter in most cities.

Cities in eastern Germany and cities with a population of less than 400,000 inhabitants tend to be much cheaper than the metropolises of Munich, Frankfurt and Berlin.

You can save a very large part of the total costs by choosing one of the cheaper places of study or by taking into account to live further away from your chosen university.

Suggestion: Here you can find our How-To Cheap living as a student in Germany for students.

Internet and telephone

Contact friends at any time, Skype with your family or watch movies online? No problem! The internet is often available free of charge on the campus of the university and in the dormitories, outside of the campus you have to share the costs with your flatmates. The cost of a high-speed connection is around 20 to 25 euros per month. This usually also includes a flat rate to the German landline network. Mobile phone tariffs in Germany are very cheap if you choose a good provider. You could choose a usage-dependent tariff (prepaid or contract) and pay only 5 Euro per month. You can also choose a fixed price rate if you know that you will be making a lot of calls. Switching between contracts is often possible with some restrictions.

Food and drink

There seems to be little difference in eating and drinking across Europe. In general, an average person should expect 120 to 160 euros. For this amount, a healthy diet is possible if you cook a lot of food yourself. You can save a lot of money if you cook together with your flat mates.

Mensa

A standard meal in the cafeteria usually costs between 2.00 and 3.50 euros. This makes the cafeteria particularly inexpensive and also offers a large selection of different menus. You can choose from a wide range of products according to your taste!

Advice: Vegetarian dishes are cheapest in the Mensa. This is a great opportunity for a healthy lifestyle:)

Health insurance costs

Every student in Germany must be insured. As a rule, you will not be admitted to study without a valid insurance policy. Whether your health insurance from your home country is also valid in Germany can usually be answered by the university. Generally speaking, the costs for insurance with a statutory health insurance fund are around 80 euros for students under 30 years of age and under the 14th semester. If you are over 30 years of age or have already studied for more than 14 semesters, the monthly fees are approx. 170 to 180 Euro.

Saving Money: Some Saving Potentials

Save your money here:

  1. Accommodation: You can save a lot of money here. The biggest cost block can be influenced by the choice of a cheap flat. Does it have to be a metropolis? Do I have to study in Munich? Isn’t there a comparable study program in any other city? You can also save even more if you get a place in the dormitory. Apply early for a place in the student dormitory!
  2. Food: cook by yourself! Once you have arrived in Germany, you will find that many food prices are cheaper if you buy larger packs and prepare your own food. A good ready-made pizza, for example, costs about 3 euros, whereas a tasty homemade meal with a salad often costs only 1 to 2 euros.
  3. Internet and mobile telephony: You can safe a lot of money, if you find a contract that suits your needs. As student you should avoid to pay for services that are too expensive.
  4. Learning in the library: If you learn regularly, instead of just before the exam, you often don’t need your own books. The library has a wide selection of books to choose from and you can save on the cost of books. If you only learn just before the exam, it will be difficult to reserve a book in the library in time, which is why you have to buy your books very often then.

Some students do not feel that they need a statutory health insurance. Often these students only spend a very short period of time in Germany and know that contract risks are very low due to their short stay. Whether private or statutory insurance is right for you? This is your personal decision!

Conclusion

The majority of the costs are the usual cost of living. However, these costs can be kept to a minimum by choosing a university in an inexpensive place of residence. If you deduct the rent costs from the monthly costs, you can see that studying in Germany is extremely cheap. The actual costs of the studies can be influenced to a large extent by students themselves.

However, it should be noted in this context that the average costs have been estimated. Depending on the place of residence and lifestyle, the costs can vary considerably between cities!

|| Last change: 26-05-2018
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