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Study in Germany for Free – Universities Offering Free Education

Updated on 01 June, 2024

Shivangi Mishra

Shivangi Mishra

Sr. Content Editor

Study in Germany for Free

The notion of tuition-free education in Germany might appear too good to be true, but rest assured, it's a reality. In this article, we'll delve into the details of how international students can avail themselves of the opportunity for free education in Germany. All public institutions in Germany offer education without tuition fees, requiring students to only cover nominal administrative charges. This remarkable offer applies universally, regardless of the student's nationality. However, it's important to note that while tuition fees are eliminated, international students should be prepared to secure ample funds for their cost of living. Additionally, it's crucial to understand that this tuition waiver pertains exclusively to undergraduate programs, and unfortunately, it doesn't extend to postgraduate and doctoral studies.

Read More: How to study in Germany for free

Why is There Free Education in Germany for International Students

  •  Perception of Education: Germans view education as a societal benefit rather than a commercial product, leading to the belief that free higher education benefits the economy and overall development.
  • Tuition Abolishment: In 2014, all 16 German states eliminated tuition fees for undergraduates in public universities, making education free for both domestic and international students. However, In 2017, Baden-Württemberg reintroduced tuition fees (~€3,000/year) for non-EU students at public universities.
  • Minimal Administration Fee: Public universities charge a nominal administrative fee per semester to cover miscellaneous costs.
  • Global Talent Attraction: Germany aims to attract and retain talented international students by offering free education and encouraging them to stay for employment opportunities post-graduation.
  • High-Quality Education: German public universities are globally renowned for their high-quality education, often ranking within the top 100 international institutions.

Read More: Guide to career opportunities in Germany

Who Can Study in Germany for Free

As mentioned above, a student of any nationality is eligible for free education at public institutes. However, this waiver is only for undergraduate students and postgraduate and doctoral students will have to pay tuition fees. However, even this fee is much more affordable than in other countries, including the UK, USA, and Canada. Also, it should be noted that most public universities in Germany will only charge a minimal administrative fee if the master’s degree being pursued is in the same field as the aspirant’s bachelor’s studies. These are called consecutive master's degrees. Meanwhile, if MS is in a different stream than previous qualifications, there will be a tuition fee charge.

Important Resources to Read for Study in Germany:

Student Visa for GermanyEducation System in GermanyScholarship for MS in Germany
Master in Automotive Engineering in GermanyScholarships for Indian Students in GermanyStudent Accommodation in Berlin
MBA in Germany Without GMATReasons to Study at IU GermanyMS in Data Science in Germany
Master of Business Administration in GermanyMaster in Computer Science in GermanyMIM in Germany

Top Universities Offering Free Courses in Germany

If you are still thinking about how to study free in Germany, you can apply for admission at leading public universities in the country. There are approximately 300 public universities in Germany, with over 1,000 study programs available in all. Some of the top universities offering free courses include the following:

Name of the InstitutionQS World University Ranking  2024Top Courses
Technical University of Munich37Management, Data Science, Electrical Engineering and Computer Science
Ludwig Maximilian University, Munich54English, Computer Science, Data Science, Management and Economics
Freie Universität Berlin98English, Psychology, Computer Science and Management
RWTH Aachen106Computer Science, Automotive Engineering, Mechanical Engineering and Data Science
Humboldt University Berlin120Economics, English, Social Work and Data Science
Technical University Berlin154Mechanical Engineering, Computer Science, and Energy Engineering
University of Tubingen213Machine learning, Computer Science, Economics and English, Theology, Natural Sciences
University of Bonn239Computer Science, Biotechnology, English and Economics
Heidelberg University=87Physics, Data Science, English, Electrical Engineering and Economics

Read More: Finding Accommodation in Germany for international students

Important Expenses for Studying in Germany

Free education in Germany notwithstanding, there are several additional costs that you will need to take care of. While most public universities will not charge tuition fees, you may still have to pay the semester or administrative fee. This is known as Semesterbeitrag locally. It is a nominal charge of approximately €100 - €350 for an entire semester. This also includes public transportation tickets for the city and its surrounding areas which is also another benefit. 

On average, a German student has expenses of €867 per month. That includes rent, travel expenses, expenditures for food, clothing, learning materials, health insurance, telephone, Internet, radio and TV license fees, and recreational activities. 


How To Apply To Study College In Germany?

  • The first step is to shortlist the course and university. Ensure that you have all the required documents ready, including academic transcripts. 
  • Most public universities in Germany accept admission applications through the uni-assist platform. You need to create an account on the portal, choose the course, and university you are applying for, and upload scanned application documents
  • Few universities may require you to apply on their own online application platform. Check the respective university website to identify the right platform to apply at.
  • Once you have completed your application, wait for a response from the institution. 
  • You can apply for a German student visa, also known as a residence permit, and buy health insurance after securing a seat.

Eligibility Criteria for Free Education in Germany

Here are some things to keep in mind to be eligible for free education in Germany

  • Candidates must have a good track record including a minimum of 85% or 9 CGPA in class 12th. 
  • Language proficiency entrance test score: To be eligible to study in Germany, one must meet the eligibility criteria for the respective programs at the university. Some commonly accepted tests include GREGMATIELTSTOEFL, and others. ( Most universities require a minimum German proficiency of B2 level. The minimum accepted IELTS score is generally an overall band of 6, while for TOEFL is a score of 80). 
  • Some universities in Germany may exempt you from having a language test score if you prove that you have studied the English language in high school.
  • University acceptance letter: Gaining admission to a public institute is indispensable to be able to study in Germany for free. 
  • Most public universities in Germany will only charge a minimal administrative fee if the master’s degree being pursued is in the same field as the aspirant’s bachelor’s studies. These are called consecutive master degrees. Meanwhile, if MS is in a different stream than previous qualifications, there will be a tuition fee charge.
  • Blocked account: Every year, each university requests that a monthly amount be provided for every student for enabling their living costs along with other miscellaneous expenditures. This money is deposited into the ‘Blocked Account’. Currently, Indian students must show a balance of at least €11,208 in their blocked account and are entitled to withdraw €934 monthly.

Germany's tuition-free education at its public universities offers a golden opportunity for global students. With esteemed academic quality and numerous English-taught programs, it's an enticing choice. Yet, considering living costs and seeking financial aid is crucial. Overall, studying in Germany can provide an enriching experience while pursuing higher education at minimal expense.

Frequently Asked Questions

How to apply for free education in Germany?

If you wish to pursue an undergraduate degree, all public institutes have a no tuition fee policy in Germany, irrespective of the student’s nationality. Students can apply to German universities via the uni-assist platform.

Why is education free in Germany?

Quality and accessible education is key to economic growth. German states in 2014 abolished tuition fees for undergraduate students at all public universities. This helps the nation attract the best of minds irrespective of their financial background.

Which universities offer free education in Germany?

All public universities in Germany offer free tuition at the undergraduate level.

Are there any other costs apart from tuition fees in German public universities?

Studying in a foreign country not only involves tuition but living costs too. Approximate monthly costs of rent and other utilities may range from around €300 to €500, while food and drink costs may require €200-250 every month.

Shivangi Mishra

Sr. Content Editor

She is an experienced writer and journalist who has extensively covered the education sector in India and Abroad. Now helping Indian aspirants realise their foreign education dream by providing them with relevant content and information through upGrad Abroad. Amateur traveller, loves to read Architectural Digest!

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