Germany offers tuition-free education to all students local and international. But free education doesn’t mean that everything is free. On the one side, Germany offers free education but on another side, it expects international students to bear their living expenses on their own. That’s why students have to bear all the expenses that incur during their stay in Germany. For your better understanding, I am going to split the expenses or cost to study in Germany into two categories.

  • Educational Expenses
  • Living Expenses

Educational Expenses:

In a total of 16 German states, only 15 states are offering tuition-free education to non-EU students. Free education also doesn’t mean that universities are offering free education at all. There are some variations like some courses are completely free, some have very little tuition fees and some have full tuition fees.

Free Courses

Completely free courses don’t have any kind of tuition fees or semester contribution charges. These courses are fully subsidized by the German Government. Most of the courses that fall in this category are bachelor courses like bachelor in medicine etc.

Partially Free Courses

Courses that belong to little tuition fees are mostly master courses that have low tuition fees in the form of semester contribution charges. These semester contribution charges vary from one state to another state and cost around 180 to 500 euros per semester. Examples of these courses are master in embedded systems and master in renewable energies etc.

Courses with normal tuition fees

German universities offer fully paid courses with normal tuition fees and the German Government doesn’t provide subsidies for these courses. Most of the courses that fall in this category are the master courses related to business areas like MBA. Some public universities are now offering tuition-free business courses like MBA international management. But with this type of MBA, it’s hard to find a job in Germany. Highly job oriented business courses like MBA finance, marketing, HR, supply chain management and logistics are offered with full tuition fees.

Conclusion about education expenses:

So, in conclusion, we can say that educational expenses are in the form of tuition fees and semester contribution charges.

  • Tuition fees
  • Semester contribution charges

Better to check the details of these charges before choosing the subject or university. These educational expenses will be part of the overall cost to study in Germany.

Living Expenses:

Now let’s talk about living expenses. Free education doesn’t mean that universities or the German Government will provide free accommodation, free food, and other materials. They will also not pay any kind of social allowance for these expenses like they are paying to refugees.

A student will bear all his living expenses during studying in Germany. The following expenses will happen during studying in Germany. Keep in mind these expenses are other than educational expenses.

  • Rent
  • Health insurance
  • Radio and TV fee
  • Expenses for study material
  • Food expenses
  • Mobile and internet expenses
  • Shopping expenses
  • Transport expenses (if you travel outside the state or do not have a semester ticket)

German authorities have introduced a security deposit in the form of a blocked account to ensure that each international student has enough money to fulfill his expenses. They also set a minimum amount for this account of 11,208 euros for one year. Authorities supposed that all the above-mentioned expenses will cost around 861 euros per month. That’s why a student will need (934 x 12 = 11,208) euros per year to fulfill all the living expenses.

Students are bound to open a blocked account with a complete deposit of 11,208 euros to get a student visa. Without this account and compulsory deposit, it’s hard to get a study visa for Germany. Exemption from this account is only possible if the applicant shows other financial resources like a sponsor letter or scholarship.

In reality, 11,208 euros per year or 934 euros per month are more than enough for a student. In my opinion, German authorities have roughly calculated this amount. In reality, expenses can vary from one city to another. I will explain this situation with an example, so you will understand it better way.


Suppose, Sarah is studying for a tuition-free master’s in TU Dresden and living in a student hostel. She will incur the following expenses per month:

Item DetailsExpenses (€)
Room Rent230
Health Insurance91
Radio and TV fee6 (18/3)
Food Expenses100
Mobile and internet expenses15
Study material expenses5
Shoppingnormally nobody does shopping each month

Sarah is spending 447 € monthly and saving 414 € (861-447). So, her total per year living expenses will be 5,364 €. That’s why we can say that 11,208 € is more than enough for one year. It is also a must for her to pay 230 € as a semester contribution fee two times a year. So, she can easily pay this amount from savings.

In the end, we can say that approximately 5,824 € (5,364+230+230) is the yearly cost to study in Germany. This cost belongs to Dresden (city of Saxony) and you can calculate it according to your chosen city. You can also compare these costs with part-time job earnings.

FAQs about the cost to study in Germany:

How costly is it to study in Germany?

The cost to study in Germany is approximately 5,500 euros per year. It includes educational expenses like semester ticket charges and living expenses. Generally, all public universities are offering tuition-free education to international students. But, in reality, most of the universities charge semester ticket charges and students also have to bear their living expenses. So, if we summarize both expenses then they will be approximately 5,500 euros per year.

Is studying in Germany worth it?

Yes studying in Germany is a good decision because of a number of reasons. The most top reasons are:
Tuition-free or less expensive education as compared to America, Canada, UK, France, and the USA.
Germany is the 1st most popular education destination as a non-English speaking country.
Germany has low living expenses and high quality of life.
The part-time job allowed to international students.

Can I study in Germany without knowing German?

Yes, you can study in Germany without knowing the German language. Because German universities are offering a wide variety of courses/degrees in the English language.

Can international students work in Germany?

All the students that belong to the European Union (EU), European Economic Area (EEA) and Switzerland are treated the same as German students. They have free access to the German job market without any restrictions.
Non-EU students are only allowed to work 120 full or 240 half days in Germany.

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