University without Borders
Studienfinanzierung

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Financing for refugees

On average, students in Germany, who do not live with their parents, spend around €861 per month to finance their living expenses. This sum includes rent, health insurance, semester contribution, food, clothing and all other monthly costs.

In order to raise this amount, there are various financing options for refugee students, which we would like to inform you about on this page. Often it is a mix of various options that can cover the costs of one's entire studies.

Options for financing your studies

Since the questions concerning academic financing are very individual, student financing counselling provided by RUB's Student Financial Advisory Service is recommended. The video above provides an overview of the basic options. Although all of the information on this page has been carefully researched, it is without guarantee and does not replace a personal consultation.

Financial support from the family

In Germany, it is customary for parents to support their children until the end of their studies if financially possible.

For example, so-called “child allowance“ or Kindergeld in German, is often used to directly support children who are studying. Parents receive this child allowance for their children still pursuing their education and under 25 years old. In this way, a small part of their studies is already financed. Refugee families also have the opportunity to receive child allowance if they have the appropriate residence status.

Other models of partial financing by the family are of course conceivable and individually different.

BAföG

BAföG (short for Bundesausbildungsförderungsgesetz) refers to financial assistance that students receive from the state if sufficient support from their parents is not possible. Half of the financial assistance is given as a grant, in a sense a "gift" - and half as an interest-free state loan, which must be repaid in parts each month after the completion of your studies. The current maximum rate is €861; the maximum repayment amount is €10,010.

Under which circumstances refugee students can receive BAföG is regulated in §8 BAföG (available only in German). There you can check whether your own residence title is listed. This enables you to find out at an early stage whether you are eligible for BAföG funding. The most important criteria are your residence title and academic history.

For questions regarding BAföG, please contact AKAFÖ.

Working

Note: Refugees and persons granted asylum often have free access to the German labour market. However, this depends on your residence title and in some cases permission is required from the Foreigners' Office.

In Germany, it is common for students to earn extra money with part-time jobs. As a rule, up to €450 or more can be earned in this way. Whether as a student assistant, "mini-jobber" in a supermarket or commercially as a promoter: there are many ways to earn money while studying. A positive side effect is the work experience you gain on the side, which can be helpful when looking for a job later.

However, studying should always come first! With that in mind, working more than 20 hours a week should be avoided. Apart from the lack of time for your studies, there are also consequences with regard to your student health insurance contribution.

More information (available only in German)

Scholarships

Many foundations and organisations not only offer support programmes for German and international students, but also specifically for students with a refugee background.

In Germany, there are 13 organisations for the promotion of gifted students that provide financial and non-material support for students with outstanding achievements.

Find out more

You can find out about the specific opportunities for the promotion of the gifted and conditions for applying with the specific organisations via the various links below. The organisations for the promotion of gifted young people include, among others:

At RUB, students with outstanding academic achievements can apply annually for the so-called Deutschlandstipendium, which offers a monthly grant of €300.

The International Office also offers scholarships that are specially tailored to students with a refugee background. The monthly grant amounts to €300 if you receive BAföG. If you do not receive BAföG, the scholarship funding can also be higher.

Further funding organisations:

For individual scholarship counselling, please contact: studienfinanzierung@rub.de.

Student loans

If all other financial options have been exhausted or are insufficient, students have the option of financing their living expenses through a student loan. However, this is often associated with difficult conditions or high interest rates. Therefore, taking out a loan should be thoroughly considered and the loan should be kept as small as possible.

Before applying, it is essential to obtain independent advice, for example from RUB's Student Financial Advisory Service. Please contact at studienfinanzierung@rub.de.

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