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Undergraduate Tuition Fees Axed at All Universities in Germany

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Note: As of autumn 2017, non-EU students now need to pay tuition fees to study at universities in Baden-Württemberg. Find out more here.

With the start of the winter term comes very welcome news for those who study in Germany at degree level: undergraduate tuition fees at all universities in Germany have now been axed.

Although the majority of the German states had already been offering low-cost or completely free tuition, only now, with the removal of fees in Lower Saxony, can the nation call itself completely free of tuition fees.

One of the German states to scrap tuition fees as far back as 2012 was the state of Hamburg. Hamburg’s senator for science, Dorothee Stapelfeldt, explained to The Hornet the reasoning behind the move. “Tuition fees are socially unjust,” she said. “They particularly discourage young people who do not have a traditional academic family background from taking up studies. It is a core task of politics to ensure that young women and men can study with a high quality standard free of charge in Germany.”

All German states now in agreement over free tuition fees

Germany has been heading towards free higher education since 2006, but conservative-led state governments in the west of the nation had so far resisted the changes, opting to charge €1,000 (US$1,261) a year. Under Germany’s federal system of state-based education policy, these charges were allowed after a constitutional court ruled that moderate tuition fees combined with loans was not contradictory to the nation’s commitment to universal higher education.

Since that time, however, all German states have moved towards the removal of tuition fees, with Lower Saxony the last state to bring in free tuition, after its Christian Democrat government was defeated in last year’s elections. Talking to The Hornet, the Green Party minister for science and culture in Lower Saxony, Gabriele Heinen-Kljajic said: “We got rid of tuition fees because we do not want higher education to depend on the wealth of the parents.”

No fees for international students, but some for postgraduates

While tuition is now free at all universities in Germany, there is still a nominal cost that all students will be charged. This cost, usually no more than €250 (US$315) per semester, is in place to cover administration, student support services and other unavoidable costs.

Students at master’s level may also still be expected to pay some tuition fees if they did not study in Germany for their bachelor’s degree. These ‘non-consecutive’ students can expect to pay fees of around €10,000 (US$12,644) per semester. Those who did study in Germany at undergraduate level, and are planning to enrol in a postgraduate program directly, may also be entitled to free or partial tuition fees.

It is likely that this change to legislation will help universities in Germany continue to attract prospective students from around the world, consolidating its place among the most popular international study destinations.

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Written by Laura Tucker
Laura is a former staff writer for TopUniversities.com, providing advice and guidance for students on a range of topics helping them to choose where to study, get admitted and find funding and scholarships. A graduate of Queen Mary University of London, Laura also blogs about student life.

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Hi Laura!
I am studying my bachelor's degree in computer science. I have completed my 4 semesters 4 more are remaining.
I'm planning to do my masters in germany in any of the top universities with free titution fees. Can you please help me in letting me know the information how do i get it and also about the accommodations since I'm very New to it.

I did my matric in 2016 and now i am doing FSC my intermediate fsc degree will be completed in 2018 i want to apply for undergraduate program in mechanical engineering kindly show and guide me

Hi Mohammad, if you'd like to study an undergraduate degree in Germany, you can read about how to apply in our guide. :)

I have completed my school in year 2011 and my fsc in year 2014 and now I want to apply for bachelors degree in Germany so can you advise me that which level of German language should I learn

Hi Jibran, some German universities offer English language courses so you might not need to learn German to a particular level (though obviously the more you can speak, the better!) https://www.topuniversities.com/where-to-study/europe/germany/study-germany-english

I have completed School level with 72% on 2012 and HSS in science faculty with 61% on 2014. Beside that i have done Ielts with band 6. I want to apply for Bachelor in Forestry or Bachelor in Biology. How can i get admission ??


Hi Kanav, our complete guide on how to study abroad in Germany should help to get you started, and you can find more advice on studying an MBA in Germany on our sister site, TopMBA.com. Hope this helps! 

i got 75% mark in matric and 75% marks in fsc. i want got amission in engieering. is got it?

Hello Madam,
I am studying 3rd year medicine under graduate in Armenia, I am an Indian and now I would like to get transferred to Ruprecht-Karls-Universitaet Heidelberg Germany. I have no idea about that will please help me madam.Thanks in advance.

did u get any information?

Hi laura
I am studing B. S Hons 2014-2018 agricultural sciences from Punjab university Lahore Pakistan
I completed my 4 semesters and now 4 are remaining
I want to complete my remaining 4 semesters in any agricultural university of germany
I seek your help to guide me that it is possible my remaining semesters tranfer or merge in german university
Or inform me about any other possible way for tranfer of remaining semesters credit hour in german university from Punjab university Lahore

Hi Muhammad, I'd advise getting in touch with the German universities you're interested in, to see if they accept transfer students. To help you to choose a university, you may like to view our rankings by subject for agriculture, with the results narrowed down to show only German universities. Hope this helps.

Hi Laura
I m student finished my high school presently started German Language studying .
I wish to do Bsc and Master in Bio medical engineering.
I seek your help to guide me to a good ranked university in Germany .

Hello, please take a look at our rankings by faculty for engineering and technology, with the results narrowed down to see only German universities. You may also like to download our complete guide on how to study abroad in Germany. Hope this helps!

hi Laura i am from India i passed my 12th recently and I want to study BBA in germany can you please tell me the expenditure i have to incur along with living expenses..????? my percentage in class is 79%

Hi Mohsin, I've replied to your comment here. :)

hi, can u provide me with the name of universties in germany that is free and living cost is cheap ? and the universties i want must contain a civil engeneering and medical courses

Hi Laura
Thanks for all the information so far,
Am interested in studying in Germany,
I would really need your assistance in how to go about applying to any institution
Kindly assist

Hi Laura ,

I have notices your expertise when it comes to studying in Germany, can I study there even if I do not speak German ?

Hi Mahmoud, you can indeed! However, please note that English-taught undergraduate programs are currently quite rare. If you want to study at masters level, English-taught courses are far more common. For more information, please take a look at this article on how to study in Germany in English. You may also be interested in reading our new complete guide to how to study abroad in Germany. Hope this helps!

I'm currently looking for public universities that offer good BAs in Design, and all the programs I like the most are imparted in German or are belong to expensive private universities.
If I happen to have a knack for learning languages and have like a year and a half to learn the language (6 months at home in a Goethe Institute and a year whilst going to studienkolleg), will I be prepared to study an entire career in German? I'm trilingual but I'm still quite scared because everyone says German is very hard to learn and to take university clases in the language can't a walk in the park.
Any comment or help will be greatly appreciated!!

Hi Becca, I'm sure a year and a half will be plenty of time to pick up the German language. Here's a blog post with some helpful tips on language learning to study abroad. Good luck!

I have completed My high level school and I want to do MBBS in Germany in any government medical University. Is the MBBS course is free in Germany and how to apply it for of tuition fee? And one more Question, Is Dutch language necessary for free course?
Please Help me!! It is my dream to study MBBS (MD) in Germany.

Hi Adil, all bachelor's degrees are free in public German universities - for more information about costs, please see this article. We will shortly be publishing an article with step-by-step guidance on studying in Germany, but in the meantime there's lots of information on how to apply in our country guide. Most bachelor's degrees are taught in German, but you may be able to find an MBBS course in English - you can find out more on our article on how to study in Germany in English. Hope this helps!

hello mam

I want to pursue my Masters in Computer Science from Germany (English-programme), for which I am not able to find out the exact suitable university for MS degree ( in CS), please help me out as I have a CGPA Of 7.29 ( INDIA), please revert.

My name is Stephen and I am from kenya. I have a diploma in Information Technology with very good grade From High School. All my studies I have done in English. I am interested in Taking computer science from any German University. Could you assist with information on the same? If possible, I can join in 2016. I will appreciate any form of assistance. Also, information on living costs

Hi Stephen, please take a look at our guide to studying in Germany. You might also like to view our rankings by subject for computer science, narrowed down by country to see the results in Germany. We also have an article on how much it costs to study in Germany, which includes info on the costs of living, and an article on studying in Germany in English. Hope this helps!

i would like to know if there are undergraduate courses in design that i could do in Germany. preferably taught in english

Hi Vugusta. The German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) has a searchable database of courses in Germany, here, which you can use to find courses taught in English. 

Can i do my mbbs
(bachlor in medicine.) in germany... i am from pakistan? is there any scholarship ?