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For many students, the dream of studying abroad can be hindered by one major factor: finances. The financial implications of studying overseas can be overwhelming, from tuition fees to living expenses. But do you know there’s a country where you can earn a degree without paying a dime in tuition? Enter Germany. With 422 public universities in Germany, international students can save on costs while preparing to study abroad.
This article highlights a list of tuition-free public universities in Germany and how to apply to them.
Everyone, including domestic and international students, can apply to any of the public universities in Germany. However, for international students outside of the EU, you will require a residence permit upon arrival before you can commence your studies.
Students can apply to any program type, i.e., undergraduate, master, or Ph.D., using the DAAD admission portal. On the portal, input your choice of course and filter by program level. With a dropdown of programs and your preferred course, you can further streamline the institutions to tuition-free public universities in Germany by selecting “free tuition. The final result will give you a more narrowed list of universities in Germany you can apply to with no tuition.
Students looking to pursue a program in Germany must meet some specific requirements. Generally, students from around EU countries of Iceland, Norway, Liechtenstein, or Switzerland may not need additional certificates to apply to public universities in Germany. Applicants from these regions with a school-leaving certificate may proceed to apply.
Whereas international students from outside the EU require at least three semesters of study in combination with other documents to qualify for admission in Germany.
For additional information on admission requirements for public universities in Germany, visit DAAD Requirements. The website is a database on university admission requirements in 140 countries. It contains all that you need to know and how to qualify for any German institution.
In addition to your certificates, you will require proof of language test to apply to institutions. Most public universities in Germany use a mix of English and German, so students intending to pursue a program in the country must have knowledge of these languages.
Other factors to help your application stand out are your essays and application, proof of funds, health insurance, and residence permit. We’ve discussed these factors below. Students who meet these requirements stand a higher chance of being considered for admission to public universities in Germany.
Every country has peculiar challenges with pursuing a program there as an international student, and Germany is no exception. As a prospective student, you can also take the TestAS test to assess your ability to cope with the many demands of pursuing a program in Germany.
According to Higher Education Compass and DAAD, the official website for all approved universities and programs in Germany, this section provides a comprehensive list of tuition-free public universities in Germany.
TUM is one of the most prestigious and research-focused public universities in Germany. It has a strong emphasis on engineering and natural sciences.
TUM offers programs specifically in mechanical engineering, computer science, and physics. Courses at this institution are English-taught and run for a six months duration. The university is also known for its excellent facilities, including state-of-the-art laboratories and research centers.
UL is located in Leipzig, Germany, and is one of Germany’s famous free-tuition public universities. It offers a series of Bachelor of Arts degree programs ranging from 4-6 semesters.
LMU Munich is an old and most renown university in Germany. It offers liberal art programs in humanities, social sciences, natural sciences, and medicine.
Freie Universität Berlin is a research-focused university located in Berlin. It offers humanities, social sciences, natural sciences, and medicine programs.
RWTH Aachen University is a research-focused university located in Aachen, Germany. It offers engineering, natural sciences, social sciences, and humanities programs.
The University of Bonn is research-focused in the city of Bonn.UB is also one of the public universities in Germany with no tuition fee. It offers different humanities, social sciences, natural sciences, and medicine programs.
The Technical University Hamburg is in Hamburg, German. A highly enabling and progressive institution, TUH is an ideal destination for international students seeking free public universities in Germany.
The University of Freiburg is a research-focused university located in Koln, Germany. It offers programs in humanities, social sciences, and nature.
Technische Universität Dresden is an advanced research-focused university offering degree programs up to the graduate level. It offers various engineering, natural sciences, social sciences, and humanities programs.
Frankfurt University is a public research university located in Frankfurt am Main. It offers various economics, law, social sciences, and humanities programs. The university has a strong research focus and an interdisciplinary approach to education.
The steps and procedures involved in applying to tuition-free public universities in Germany process include:
After deciding which country to study in, the next is to research universities in Germany offering programs in your field. Check the university’s website for information on admission requirements, application deadlines, and language requirements.
Some public universities in Germany offer a combination of English and German-taught programs. Typically starting with English and afterward proceeding to German. These universities do this to allow students time to master the language.
You can visit the DAAD website for a list of available programs and the program details.
Although there are general requirements for studying in Germany, different institutions have specific demands you must meet to be considered for admission.
Review the admission requirements for each university you are interested in. This may include academic qualifications, language proficiency tests, and standardized tests such as the TestDaF or GRE. Public universities in Germany generally require a recognized Hochschulzugangsberechtigung (HZB) (higher education entrance qualification) from international students before granting admission.
In addition, students who have yet to gain prior knowledge of German will require proof of language proficiency in the German language. You can take two primary tests for this objective: the TestDaF and the Deutsche Sprachprüfung für den Hochschulzugang (DSH), which means the German language examination for university entrance.
Your financial projection determines the university you choose and its location.
Determine the university’s study cost, including tuition, semester enrollment, and living expenses. You may need to provide proof of financial resources to cover these expenses. In some instances, the student’s visa officer may demand proof of funds reaching up to €9,600 to cover your annual cost of living.
Depending on your location, the cost of living in Germany can be high or low. To manage the financial burden for students, the German government has made provisions for bodies and organizations from which you can secure academic aid, scholarships, and grants.
Visit the DAAD site for a database on available funding and scholarships. This site contains information on financial aid and how to secure monetary grants.
Before arriving in Germany, international students must obtain health insurance, a residence permit, and a student visa. Be sure to check the requirements for each document and allow plenty of time for processing.
Once you have determined which universities you would like to apply to and have gathered all the necessary documents, you can begin the application process. You can go around applying to universities through their international office in your country or through German Academic Exchange Service Portal.
Summer applications to public universities in Germany begin in January, while Winter applications start in July. Be sure to submit your application at least five weeks before the deadline and follow all instructions carefully.
Institutions have specific documents required with the application process, but some general documents you must provide are:
After you have completed your application, the university will contact you for a follow-up interview.
A quick overview of the cost of living in Germany as an international student.
For most students, the choice of university is influenced by the institution’s location. As with every international destination, schools located at the heart of a country usually cost a lot in terms of accommodation and other expenses compared to schools in lesser-known regions.
Unless you have the financial capacity to support the lifestyle in solid urban regions, living in smaller cities tends to be less taxing and affordable than in popular areas like Berlin and Munich.
In general, expect an estimate of €150 to €400 per month for On-campus accommodation, while off-campus accommodation costs anywhere from €300 to €800 per month.
Most German cities are fairly cosmopolitan, so you can anticipate discovering diverse cuisines from around the world, plus the cost of food in Germany is generally affordable. You can find a typical meal costing around €5-€8 at a student cafeteria or an inexpensive restaurant.
Groceries, however, can cost anywhere from €150 to €250 per month, depending on your eating habits and where you shop.
Germany has efficient and affordable public transportation, with a monthly pass for students costing around €40-€80, depending on the city. With a bicycle, you can save on more costs while maintaining an environmentally-friendly mode of transportation.
All international students in Germany must have health insurance. The cost of health insurance depends on the provider and the level of coverage, but usually, you may find a trusted insurance service provider from €80 to €160 per month.
These expenses vary greatly depending on your preferences and habits, but you should budget around €100 to €200 per month for miscellaneous expenses.
Sustaining a balanced lifestyle in Germany requires a considerable amount. But with the help of financial aid and assistance, you can navigate the many demands of pursuing a degree abroad.
There are many scholarship providers in Germany, the largest being the 13 “Begabtenförderungswerke (a coalition of 13 organizations providing financial and moral aid to students mainly based on talent, need, and merit).
Other funding providers are foundations and institutional scholarships, which international students primarily benefit from.
Each aid provider has independent modes of administering scholarships. Nevertheless, you will need to provide the following:
Find financial aid here: DAAD Financial Aid.
The Technical University, Berlin, is one of Germany’s most prominent free public universities.
The tuition-free policy in the German educational system applies to both domestic and international students.
In conclusion, there are many benefits of studying in Germany for international students. Not only are the tuition fees for public universities in Germany free, but the country is also renowned for its high-quality education, excellent research facilities, and welcoming international student community.
Also, Germany offers several academic programs in English, making it an excellent destination for non-native German speakers.
Furthermore, the country’s central location in Europe provides easy access to other European countries. Thus, it is an ideal base for students who want to travel and explore different cultures during their studies.
If considering studying in Germany, carefully research the universities and programs that best suit your interests and academic goals. You should also know the living costs and the requirements for obtaining a student visa and other necessary documents. Then apply accordingly.