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Scholarships and funding opportunities for foreign students in Germany

Scholarships and funding opportunities for foreign students in Germany

So you are thinking of studying in Germany? Find out which scholarships and funding opportunities are available for foreign students.

Scholarships and funding opportunities for foreign students in Germany: Basically, there is a diverse and well-functioning range of state and institutional funding programs in Germany. The scholarships awarded – usually monthly payments or book money – come from the federal government, the states, political foundations and charitable or privately organized sponsors. Whether international students can also apply for a specific scholarship depends in principle on the guidelines and the tasks of the respective program.

What is a scholarship? What is expected of you?

Scholarships can help you finance your studies because you receive financial support that you do not have to pay back. In addition to financial support, a scholarship usually also includes non-material support, e.g. can participate in conferences, workshops, seminars or other events.

In return for the scholarship granted, the scholarship holders are generally expected to take part in seminars or courses run by the scholarship provider and also to prepare reports (e.g. after a semester abroad).

▶︎ The scholarship recipients are expected to share the ideals and values ​​of the scholarship provider and to represent them to the outside world in the broadest sense, depending of course on the respective scholarship provider: On the one hand, the party-affiliated political foundations are usually expected to support their political sharing ideals. On the other hand, the company-related foundations expect a connection or relationship to the respective company, for example through early activities in the company as part of an apprenticeship or an internship. These requirements at least improve the chances of success in order to get the respective scholarship.

▶︎ In addition to good grades and special talent or aptitude for the chosen subject, political and social commitment is usually an important criterion for awarding scholarships. It is no longer just highly gifted high school graduates who receive scholarships from the state, foundations and business.

It is worthwhile for you to take a close look at the conditions attached to the award of a scholarship.

In the following table you will find an overview of scholarship providers who award scholarships to foreign students at German universities.

The list of scholarship programs mentioned below is not necessarily complete. For more information about scholarships, please contact the respective scholarship provider.

List of Scholarship providers in Germany

Foundation nameTarget groupRequirements
Friedrich Ebert Stiftung
(SPD close)
Bachelors / MastersAbove average academic achievements  certificate of achievement Very good knowledge of German
Heinrich Böll Foundation(Bündnis 90/Die Grünen -nah)Bachelors / MastersActive interest in ecology and sustainabilityAchievement-oriented and ambitioussocial commitmentActive interest in ecology and sustainabilityAchievement-oriented and ambitioussocial commitment
Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom(FDP close)Bachelors / MastersGood to very good grades within a reasonable period of timeLiberal and social commitment
Konrad Adenauer Foundation(CDU close)masterAbove-average academic achievementsPositive attitude towards democracy and human rights
Hanns Seidel Foundation(CSU close)Bachelors/MastersAbove-average school/study achievementsCommitment in the political, church or social environment
Germany scholarshipBachelors/MastersVoluntary workSocietal, social, university or political commitment
Catholic Academic Foreigners Service KAADmasterAbove-average performance potentialChurch and social commitment
Scholarship program Ludwigshafen eV
by students for students
Bachelors/MastersSingle parent
Students with a migration background

Federal Training Assistance Act (Bafög)

According to § 8, foreign students can apply for a training grant if

  • they were employed in the Federal Republic of Germany in the last 5 years before the start of the training or
  • at least one parent was employed in the Federal Republic of Germany for at least 3 years during the last 6 years before the start of the training or
  • they have their permanent place of residence in Germany and one parent or spouse is German or
  • as EU or EEA nationals, they were employed in the Federal Republic of Germany before the start of the training and the activity is related to the training or
  • they are recognized as entitled to asylum, quota or convention refugees or protection against deportation exists.

Application deadline: anytime