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Studying

Types of higher education institution

There are different types of higher education institution in Germany, offering different qualifications and career paths.

  • universities
  • universities of applied science (Fachhochschulen)/colleges
  • technical colleges
  • music and art colleges
  • teacher training colleges
  • business management schools

Entrance requirements

Depending on the type of higher education institution, the entrance requirement is the Hochschulreife (general school-leaving qualification permitting tertiary study, that is the Abitur) or the technical school-leaving certificate (Fachhochschulreife). In the case of foreign qualifications, the international academic offices (Akademische Auslandsämter) of the institutions or the "uni-assist" service decide whether the conditions have been fulfilled. The institutions themselves decide on the extent to which course credits that have been obtained in another country can be counted towards a course of studies in Germany.

Through its "Garantiefonds-Hochschulbereich" support programme, the Otto Benecke Stiftung e.V. particularly supports young migrants who obtain their higher education entrance qualifications in Germany and want to prepare for a course of study at an institution of higher education and who are living in Germany as refugees, Jewish immigrants, ethnic German resettlers or relatives of such resettlers. You can obtain information and addresses by navigating to the "Bildungsberatung" menu item in the JMD portal (see the link in the right-hand column of the German-language version of this article).

Course fees

In some Federal Länder, students have to pay course fees of approximately EUR 500 per semester to study at German state institutions of higher education, added to which are the "Semesterbeiträge" (semester contributions). Private institutions usually charge considerably higher fees. To (partly) finance a course, grants are awarded by the Government’s support scheme for talented students (Begabtenförderung) and by several foundations.

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Students can claim state training support (BaföG) if they fulfil certain conditions. A proportion of this must be paid back at the end of the training.

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You can find out further information about local services in your area from:

  • the Migration Advisory Service for Adult Immigrants and the Youth Advisory Service
  • universities / office for educational funding for students
  • course counselling at the local employment agency
Date 18 January 2011