How-To: Cheap living as a student in Germany

The tuition fees in Germany are low, the cost of living is moderate, but is there a possibility to spend even less money for the studies?

Studying is valuable and value-oriented – the costs of housing are the biggest cost block to be paid when studying. Is there any way to save even more money?

Those who study in Germany often have the luck of being financed by Mommy and Daddy at least at the beginning of their studies. But not all students have this luck. If the money is not enough, it must be made! And the more expensive life is, the more you have to work and the less time you have for studying.

A simple solution (not the most popular) is to enroll in a cheap city with lots of affordable housing.

How-To: Cheap living as a student in Germany

A typical situation: student dormitory, shared flat or small apartment?

Some students prefer to stay at home with their parents and enjoy the highest luxury. At home, Mommy and Daddy take care of the children. Foreign students do not have this choice. You are new to a country and need to look for a cheap solution for your stay.

Few students come in groups and have already friends they would like to live with. Most students have to find a cheap apartment for themselves.

A 1-room-apartment in a student residence hall or a room in a shared apartment (WG) is usually the cheapest option..

Happy are those who find a cheap room near the university. Many university locations have a large number of flats for students in the vicinity. Especially in the cities in our list there are often affordable rooms close to the university.

If you’re unlucky…

Of course, not everyone can live in a shared flat. Some people need a lot of peace and relaxation, for example because of very difficult studies or simply because they want to live in a private environment.

Unfortunately, it is not always possible to live with friends. It is also possible that after four to six visits on your flat hunting expedition, you may find that you have not yet found any people with similar interests, hobbies or areas of study.

If privacy is important to you, you should rent a small apartment (usually about 30 sqm). Small apartment sizes of 25 to 35 sqm are sufficient for most students..

Criteria for finding a room

It rarely turns out that you can move into a cosy apartment with your girlfriend or boyfriend and share the costs with each other. Therefore, it emerges that every single room in an apartment should be of a certain size in order to make a comfortable stay possible.

Since you usually go abroad on your own and don’t live together with friends or your partner, your room must have a certain minimum size. For a comfortable stay we recommend at least 10 sqm in the room.

For your apartment or room it is important that you have a kitchen to use.

Existing shared flats always have a built-in kitchen, which you can use together.

If you would like to start a new shared apartment, please ask the landlord if there is a built-in kitchen (EBK) available in your apartment..

It is always a good idea to look for an apartment near the university or library. This means that you are quickly connected to the university and the campus life.

If you live far away from the university and lose a lot of time on your way to the library or university, we recommend a particularly quiet room, which is not directly located on a busy main road. Because that way you can learn comfortably at home!

Decisive factors: Where are the cheapest cities for students?

When looking for a cheap place to study, two main factors are important: the type of accommodation and the place of accommodation.

Most of the cheapest university cities are located in the eastern part of Germany. But there are also many exceptions! For example, a flat in Berlin is rather expensive, whereas in Kassel it is cheaper.

Place of study

Whoever wants to live in a trendy city (or metropolis) sometimes has to pay 100% more for the apartment than someone who wants to live in a rather ordinary city.

Berlin and Munich provide hardly any reasonably priced housing, the cities of Wuppertal and Halle, for example, are very cheap for students.

Housing location and neighborhood (centrality) have a significant influence on the costs of accommodation during studies.

In addition, the distance to the centre of the city plays a particularly important role. In many cases, it is much cheaper to live on the outer edge of the city than in the city centre.

In Germany, a gap between East and West also plays a minor role. University cities tend to be cheaper in the east, while cities continue to become more expensive in the west. There is also a North-South difference! In the south, flats are usually more expensive than in northern Germany.

Basically, smaller cities provide cheaper housing than large cities.  However, there are exceptions. Dortmund, for example, is very cheap.

Types of student accommodation

Different forms of living are common in Germany, the most common are these constellations:

  • Cheap: Own rented shared room in a small or large apartment.
  • Cheap: Couple apartment: Ideal for young people who have already found their partner.
  • Elevated: 1-room apartment for one person

The cheapest option is a shared flat. For people who don’t like living in a shared apartment, there are often also inexpensive 1-room-apartments. However, it has to be taken into account that you have to pay 25 to 50% more for these small apartments than for shared flats. In contrast to a shared flat, where costs are shared among the residents, you have to pay for your contracts yourself.

Generally speaking, dormitory places are very popular. There are hardly any cheaper rooms to get than in a student dormitory. However, the places are very hard to get and therefore an early application is mandatory!

On the next page you will find an overview of what we think are the 12 most attractive and cheapest cities for students.

On the next page: Cheap and trendy cities for students

Guide: Application

Finding a Study Programme
Prepare your Application
Apply to your Studies

Arrival to your Studies

Visa Organization
Prepare your Arrival
Arrive Successfully

Begin your Studies!

Goal: Enrollment
Support: Important Steps
|| Last change: 26-05-2018