Author: Jennifer Weingarten
Germany consists of 16 federal states which all have an own, independent education policy. For this reason, tuition fees are different dependent on the state you are going to study in but also from the university and some other, individual factors. This article gives you an overview about the different fees and regulations.
Generally, tuition fees in Germany are rather low compared to other countries. They range from ca. 100 to 2000 Euros per year and additionally, German universities do not distinguish between students within or outside of the EU/EEA. Independent from the origin, local and international students pay the same (low) tuition fee!
The tuition fee (if there is any) usually consists of two parts. The Studiengebühren are the actual tuition fee and range from 0-500 Euros per semester. Additional to this tuition fee, a Semesterbeitrag is charged which includes administration fees as well as fees for the General Students Committee (AStA), the Studentenwerk (responsible for student residences and cafeterias) and often a (mostly obligatory) semester ticket for public transport in the city (and sometimes the region) around the university.
The Semesterbeitrag is individually set by each university and besides the costs you should also consider the benefits (such a semester ticket) when comparing the tuition fees between universities. Below you can find an overview for the 16 federal states of Germany. Please be aware that the stated amounts and conditions are subject to change. If you decided upon your university, make sure that you check the universitys website for updates.
All universities in Baden Württemberg charge a tuition fee (Studiengebühr) of 500 Euros per semester (1000 Euros a year). Additionally, a Semesterbeitrag of 40-120 Euros has to be paid each semester, depending on the university. However, there are a couple of exceptions. If you belong to one of the following groups (among others), you do not have to pay the tuition fee of 500 Euros per semester.
- Foreign students from countries or universities with a special agreement
- Top performing students
- PhD students
- Disabled students
- Students who raise a child (younger than 14 years)
Universities in Bavaria can charge a tuition fee between 300 and 500 Euros per semester but in fact, nearly all universities are charging the maximum amount of 500 Euros. Additionally, a Semesterbeitrag of usually around 50 Euros is charged. Also in Bavaria, there are some exceptions from the tuition fee if you for example meet one of the following criteria.
- Students who raise a child (younger than 18 years)
- Foreign students from countries with special agreements
- Up to 10% of the students of each university depending on the academic performance
In Berlin, no tuition fees are charged to students. However, there is a Semesterbeitrag of 266,70 Euros each semester which includes free public transportation within Berlin.
Brandenburg does not charge any tuition fees. Depending on the university, the additional Semesterbeitrag ranges from 200-250 Euros and includes a Semesterticket for free public transport.
For most students, no tuition fees are charged in Bremen. However, if you study more than 14 semesters (7 years), a long-term fee of 500 Euros per semester is charged. Additionally to the tuition fee you have to pay a Semesterbeitrag of about 220 Euros which includes a Semesterticket for free public transport within Bremen.
Currently, the current tuition fee in Hamburg is 375 Euros. However, from the winter semester 2012/13 on, no tuition fee is charged. Universität Hamburg currently charges a Semesterbeitrag of 269 Euros per semester which includes a Semesterticket for free public transport in the Hamburg area.
Hessen does not charge any tuition fees. The Semesterbeitrag depends on the university and amounts to for example 267 Euros at the TU Darmstadt and includes a Semesterticket for free public transport in the area.
In Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, no tuition fees are charged. The Semesterbeitrag is between 40 and 130 Euros per semester.
Niedersachsen has a tuition fee of 500 Euros per semester. If you exceed your studies five or more semesters over the general program duration, the tuition fee is increased to 600-800 Euros per semester. The Semesterbeitrag can be more than 300 per semester but also includes free public transportation in the whole state of Niedersachsen.
Nordrhein-Westfalen (North Rhine-Westphalia)
Since 2011, North Rhine-Westphalia does not charge any tuition fees. The Semesterbeitrag varies in a range between 100 and 250 Euros. In many universities, this includes a semester ticket which is valid for public transport in the whole state of North Rhine-Westphalia.
Normally, Rheinland-Pfalz does not charge tuition fees. However, a long-term fee of 650 Euros each semester applies, if you exceed the designated study time for your programme by 75%.
Studying in Saarland is free of charge. The Semesterbeitrag of 149 Euros includes a Semesterticket for free public transport in the state of Saarland.
You do not have to pay tuition fees in Sachsen-Anhalt if you finish your studies on time. You are charged 500 Euros per semester though, if you exceed your studies for more than four semesters over the designated time of your study programme.
No tuition fee is charged in Sachsen. The Semesterbeitrag ranges from ca. 110 Euros in Leipzig, where you can opt-in for a Semesterticket for free public transport, to 220 Euros at TU Dresden, where an obligatory semester ticket is included in the fee.
There is no tuition fee at universities in Schleswig-Holstein. The Semesterbeitrag at universities in Schleswig-Holstein is around 100 Euros and includes a Semesterticket for free public transport.
As in Sachsen-Anhalt, there are no tuition fees if you finish your studies on time. After exceeding the designated duration of your programme more than four semesters, a long-term fee of 500 Euros per semester is charged.