Financing your studies
How much will studying cost me?
When you start you studies, if not before, you will need to consider how you will finance them. While students get discounts and special rates for a variety of things, such as cafeteria food, visits to museums and events, or health insurance, all of these still have to be paid for – along with rent and other living expenses for student life.
The following pages contain useful information on how to finance your studies, where and when to apply for BAföG, where to find suitable jobs or additional support and how to take out a student loan if you need one. We have also provided an overview of the typical costs for various aspects of student life.
Working during your studies
According to a 2012 study by the German National Association for Student Affairs, around 63 percent of all first time students have a regular job – and not just during the holidays. On average, they work around 8 hours a week for an average wage of 10 euros per hour. Students can have a 450 euro job or work as a student trainee in a company or as a student assistant at a part of the University – both during and outside of the lecture period. If you work in an area related to the subject you are studying, it is also a good way to gain valuable experience in your future field of work.
However, you should make sure that you still have enough time to study. Information on the legal conditions relating to part-time jobs for students is available in the brochure ‘Jobben’ (part-time jobs) published by the German National Association for Student Affairs. FAU’s job portal is also regularly updated with new advertisements for part-time jobs, placements, internships and positions for writing final theses for all subjects.
Bundesausbildungsförderungsgesetz (BAföG – Federal Training Assistance Act)
German students and, in certain circumstances, international students are eligible to request financial support for their studies thanks to the Bundesausbildungsförderungsgesetz (BAföG – Federal Training Assistance Act). Financial support is available for the duration of your studies, both during and outside of the lecture period. The maximum amount of support for each degree programme is set out in legal documents. According to Sections 9 and 48 of BAföG, in order to receive this financial support, students must submit a confirmation of course achievements which must be obtained by a certain semester to the BAföG Office over the course of their studies and before the required deadlines.
Information about which lecturers are permitted to issue confirmations is available from the Student Advice and Career Service (IBZ). The amount of financial support is assessed on the basis of the family and financial situation of the student and their parents. For an approximate estimate of the amount of financial support you are entitled to, please use the online BAföG calculator.
The Training Assistance Office (Amt für Ausbildungsförderung) which is part of Student Services is responsible for providing information about and processing BAföG applications. As of the summer semester 2010, students in Bavaria can apply for BAföG online. The application can be found at www.bafoeg-bayern.de.
The application must be printed out, signed and returned to the Training Assistance Office. The date on which the application is received will be considered the date of application.
As of autumn 2015, funding will amount to 597 euros (basic provision for students not living with parents). Including extra funding for more expensive rent, health insurance and long-term care insurance, the maximum possible amount of funding is 495 euros for students living with their parents and 670 euros for students not living with their parents.
Students with children receive extra funding of 113 euros for the first child and 85 euros for each additional child. The BAföG funding is made up of a 50% interest-free loan and a 50% grant. The maximum amount of debt for BAföG recipients is fixed at 10,000 euros.
More information is available at www.bafög.de.
Important: credit certificate after 3 or 4 semesters
After the fourth semester, BAföG recipients must submit a credit certificate (Leistungsnachweis) in order to receive further funding. This must only be done once. If you are a student at FAU, you can obtain this credit certificate (Leistungsnachweis nach §48) online from your student account. We strongly recommend that you do not wait until the end of the fourth semester but that you print off your credit certificate at the end of the third semester after the grades have been entered. Submit the credit certificate to the BAföG Office by 31 July together with your application for continued funding.
If sufficient ECTS credits have been entered for you in the examinations database, your credit certificate is automatically positive. Should there have been any delays in your studies, you will be advised in the examinations database to contact your degree programme BAföG co-ordinator. They will assess the course of your studies so far and can then issue a positive credit certificate using the form ‘Formblatt 5’ available from the BAföG Office. In this way, any reasons for delay are taken into account and cannot be used again as reasons if you have to request another extension of the maximum period of funding for BAföG.
In the event of delays, please note the following:
If you already know by the end of the third semester that there will be delays to an extent that will render you unable to complete your degree programme within the standard six semesters, we advise that you ask the BAföG co-ordinator to indicate on Formblatt 5 that your credit certificate is negative and submit your reasons for delay to the BAföG Office for review. If the reasons for delay (to be submitted with proof) are recognised by the BAföG Office, submission of the credit certificate will be postponed according to the delay and the reasons can be used again for further requests for extension.
Bayerisches Eliteförderungsgesetz (BayEFG – Bavarian Elite Aid Act)
This support programme is aimed at the best school pupils in Bavaria and students at Bavarian universities and higher education institutions. School leavers must achieve a final grade of 1.3 or better, can be recommended by the head teacher and may be accepted into the programme after passing the admissions procedure. Students at Bavarian universities and higher education institutions with outstanding grades may also qualify for the funding if they are recommended by their university or institution. Students who are in their third subject semester or higher may also apply themselves.
Participants take part in an excellence programme which supports students with their studies and personal development. This includes mentoring and tutorials, networking with other excellence programmes, participating in research at an early stage, an international environment, interdisciplinary events and careers events. The excellence programme is planned and organised by Studienstiftung des deutschen Volkes (www.studienstiftung.de), Germany’s largest foundation which supports outstanding students, with its specially designed Max Weber Programme. Financial support is provided in the form of funding for a semester abroad and an allowance of 900 euros for independent educational activities provided at the beginning of each semester.
Applications must be submitted by 10 December for the following summer semester and 10 July for the following winter semester. Phone: +49 228 82096 582; www.elitenetzwerk.bayern.de.
Scholarships and foundations
Types of student loan
Many different German banks now offer financing options which are specifically designed to support students with living costs. There are a wide range of loans on offer with various different conditions. These loans are paid to the borrower on a monthly basis. The following types of loan are currently available:
- KfW loans which are also available from selected banks and Sparkassen nationwide
- student loans which have been on the market for a long time and some of which are only just being adapted to meet the new market requirements
- offers available at Volksbanken and Raiffeisenbanken (VR-Bildungsfinanzierung), and from Sparkassen (Sparkassen-Bildungskredit) which are based on the overall concept of the provider
- credit models from large banks
- the education funding concept from CareerConcept
Offers available at Sparkassen, Volksbanken and Raiffeisenbanken are aimed at ‘average’ students. Those available from CareerConcept, on the other hand, are designed for students with high potential and therefore have a thorough selection process. The KfW loan is particularly suitable for students who do not receive BAföG but are not financed by their parents.
Choosing the right loan
With so many types of student loan on offer, it is important to choose the one which is right for you. When deciding on a student loan, make sure you bear the following in mind:
- Accessibility: Who is the loan available for and when? Under what conditions? How easy is it to receive the loan?
- Independence: Is the loan sufficient for you to support yourself during your studies or will you have to rely on your parents?
- Costs: What are the financial conditions of the loan and what are the total costs?
- Risks: How are the risks limited to ensure that you do not find yourself struggling to pay off the loan if interest rates change or you become unemployed?
- Flexibility: Is the loan only valid for the subject and university that you have chosen, or is it possible to change university or subject, or do a placement? Each of these factors will be of more or less importance depending on your individual requirements, and it is important to consider and evaluate them individually.
As a general rule:
- Make a thorough comparison: We recommend that you prioritise the conditions which are most important to you when assessing possible student loans and check which of the available offers comes out on top when you take this into consideration.
- Ask: Even if certain collateral is not explicitly required, for some loans mortgages or having your parents as a guarantor may mean a lower interest rate.
You will find useful brochures and web pages here:
- The brochure ‘Ich, BAföG, meine Zukunft’ (Me, BAföG, my future) is is available free of charge.
- Information about the twelve organisations which provide scholarships for outstanding students brought together by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF): www.stipendiumplus.de
- DAAD scholarship guide: ‘Studium, Forschung, Lehre im Ausland-Förderungsmöglichkeiten für Deutsche’ (study, research and teaching abroad – funding opportunities for Germans), published by the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD), available free of charge from IBZ or online at www.daad.de
You can request individual advice here:
- BAföG Office Erlangen: Hofmannstr. 27, phone: +49 9131 8002900;
BAföG Office Nuremberg: Andreij-Sacharow-Platz 1, phone +49 911 588570
- FAU’s Office for Scholarships, Erlangen, Halbmondstr. 6, room 0.047, phone: +49 9131 8524075
- Central Office for International Affairs (RIA), Helmstr. 1, 91054 Erlangen, phone: +49 9131 8524800
Funding for international students
FAU’s Central Office for International Affairs (RIA) is often asked by prospective international students about scholarships from the University. Unfortunately, unlike in some countries, German universities do not have any funding available to support international students with their living costs. For this reason, international students usually receive scholarships from their home country or use their own funds to finance their studies.