Tuition fees for international students and for second degree studies

Since Winter Semester 2017/18

Since the Winter Semester 2017/18, the state of Baden-Württemberg require some international students to pay university tuition fees of 1,500 euros per semester for their first degree studies. The following will generally not be required to pay tuition fees: citizens of a country within the European Union (EU) or the European Economic Area (EEA), doctoral students and certain 'Bildungsinländer' (international students with German Abitur). All students are required to pay tuition fees of 650 euros per semester for their second degree studies since the Winter Semester 2017/18, too.

If you would like to find out what led to this decision, please visit the Baden-Württemberg Ministry of Education and Research (MWK) website.

How will the funds be used?

For every tuition bill paid by the international student, the respective university will receive 300 euros. The funds will then be used to pay for support services for international students at the university. One of the goals is to raise the graduation rate for international students. The remaining 1,200 euros, as well as the total tuition fee of 650 euros for students in second degree programmes, will be applied to the state budget. These funds will go towards securing the long-term financing of university education in Baden-Württemberg.

Transitional regulations

Temporary or one-off regulations

The legislation allows students who enrolled in a study programme at a university in Baden-Württemberg before the law went into effect to continue their study programme at this university without having to pay any tuition fees. Students who already pay special tuition fees for their graduate study programmes or study programmes for working professionals will not have to pay additional tuition.

Students (e.g. in teacher education programmes) are allowed to change a part of their multi-part study programme only once without having to pay any tuition. Students would not, however, be able to make any additional changes, such as changing their field of study or study programme or moving from a bachelor’s to a master’s programme, without losing their right to study tuition-free.

International applicants who were enrolled in a Studienkolleg (preparatory course for international students) prior to the start of the Winter Semester 2017/18 will not have to pay any tuition fees in the first study programme they enrol in immediately afterwards. The applicable regulations can be found in § 73 Landeshochschulgesetz (LHG, state law on higher education) and (§ 58 para. 2 sentence 11 of the LHG).

International applicants who were awarded a publicly-funded scholarship (in writing) before this law took effect (e.g. from an organisation promoting gifted and talented students) will not have to pay the otherwise applicable tuition fees for international students in the first study programme they enrol in immediately afterwards.

Current notes:

If you should find yourself in an financial emergency through no fault of your own, you can apply for a partial or full deferral (payment in instalments or deferral of payment) of tuition fees for the current re-registration procedure or - depending on the severity of your individual financial emergency - also apply for a partial or full waiver of tuition fees. This may be the case, for example, if you or your parents (co-)financing your studies have lost their employment to finance your studies due to the Corona pandemic or war. For advice on how to apply, please contact the International Office by email. You can find more information about financial aid and possibilities on the following pages of Seezeit Studierendenwerk Bodensee and the University of Konstanz. We would also like to recommend the Seezeit job board, where there is a wide range of jobs for all students.

Excerpt from the regulations on tuition fees for international students

Basic facts on the tuition fees for international students

Since Winter Semester 2017/18, international students studying in a bachelor’s, consecutive master’s or state examination programme will be required to pay tuition fees of 1,500 euros per semester if they are not citizens of a country within the European Union (EU) or the European Economic Area (EEA). These are due in addition to the other required fees.

The following students are not required to pay tuition fees:

  • Students who are EU or EEA citizens.
  • International students who have certain kinds of higher education entrance qualifications (HZB) earned in Germany (in accordance with § 58 Landeshochschulgesetz - LHG (state law on higher education). HZBs earned in Germany include:
    1. allgemeine Hochschulreife (general higher education entrance qualification, § 58 para. 2 sentence 1 LHG).
    2. fachgebundene Hochschulreife (subject-specific higher education entrance qualification, § 58 para. 2 sentence 2 LHG).
    3. Fachhochschulreife (German qualification for study at a university of applied sciences, § 58 para. 2 sentence 3 LHG).
    4. a secondary school qualification and a Deltaprüfung (delta exam) as long as either a fachgebundene Hochschulreife or a Fachhochschulreife was also earned in Germany (§ 58 para. 2 sentence 4 LHG).
    5. a higher vocational qualification examination (e.g. "Meisterprüfung") that was taken in Germany (§ 58 para. 2 sentence 5 LHG).
    6. a professional qualification and an aptitude test, as long as the professional training and work experience were in Germany (§ 58 para. 2 sentence 6 LHG).
    7. other prior education obtained in Germany and accepted by the Kulturministerium (§ 58 para. 2 sentence 12 LHG).
    Higher education entrance qualifications earned in other German states are valid in Baden-Wuerttemberg, as long as they are equivalent.

If the study and examination regulations allow or require students to study simultaneously at more than one university, they will only have to pay tuition fees at that university where the main focus of the study programme lies.

If, through no fault of their own, students find themselves in an emergency situation after (!) starting their studies which prevents them from paying the fees, the university may defer or waive the fees in whole or in part (§ 7 LHGebG).

Regulations for Exceptions

Exceptions covered by § 5 para. 1 Landeshochschulgebührengesetz - LHGebG (state law on higher education fees)

The following exceptions apply to students from non-EU/EEA countries who, for example, have a permanent residence permit for the EU or have good legal prospects for staying in Germany. The following international students are therefore except from the obligation to pay tuition fees:

  1. spouses, life partners and children of a national of a member state of the European Union or of another contracting state of the Agreement on the European Economic Area who are entitled to freedom of movement under the conditions of § 3 para. 1 and 4 of the Freedom of Movement of Persons Act/EU or who are not entitled to these rights as children solely because they are 21 years of age or older and do not receive maintenance from their parents or their spouses or life partners.
  2. foreigners who have a settlement permit or a permit for permanent residence - EU according to the Residence Act (AufenthG).
  3. foreigners who have their habitual residence in Germany and who are recognised outside the Federal territory as refugees within the meaning of the Convention on the Status of Refugees of 28th July 1951 (Federal Law Gazette II 1953 p. 559, 560) and who are entitled to stay in the territory of the Federal Republic of Germany on a more than temporary basis.
  4. homeless foreigners within the meaning of the Act on the Legal Status of Homeless Foreigners in Federal Territory in the revised version published in the Federal Law Gazette Part III, Section 243-1, last amended by Article 7 of the Act of 30th July 2004 (Federal Law Gazette I p. 1950, 2000).
  5. foreigners who have their permanent residence in Germany and hold a residence permit pursuant to §§ 22, 23 para. 1, 2 or 4, §§ 23a, 24 [limited until 25.02.2025], 25 para. 1 or 2, §§ 25a, 25b, 28, 37, 38 para. 1 sentence 1 number 2 or § 104a AufenthG or, as the spouse, life partner or child of a foreigner with a settlement permit, a residence permit pursuant to §§ 30 or 32 [33] to 34 AufenthG.
  6. foreigners who have their permanent residence in Germany and hold a residence permit pursuant to § 25 para. 3 or 4 sentence 2 or para. 5 or § 31 AufenthG or as the spouse, life partner or child of a foreigner with a residence permit hold a residence permit pursuant to §§ 30, 32 [33] to 34 and 36a AufenthG and have been staying in Germany legally, permitted or tolerated for at least 15 months without interruption.
  7. tolerated foreigners (§ 60a AufenthG) who have their permanent residence in Germany and have been staying in Germany lawfully, permitted or tolerated for at least 15 months without interruption; § 18a para. 1 number 7 AufenthG applies accordingly.
  8. foreigners who have resided in Germany for a total of five years and have been lawfully employed*.
  9. foreign nationals of whom at least one parent has resided in Germany for a total of three years during the last six years prior to the commencement of their studies and has been lawfully gainfully employed*.
  10. foreigners who have completed a Bachelor's and a Master's programme of study or a state examination or diploma programme of study in Germany; § 8 LHGebG shall remain unaffected, that means the tuition fee for second degree studies does, however, still apply.

If a country leaves the EU or EEA, then citizens from this country would generally become liable for paying tuition as “international students". If, however, at the time the secession takes effect, students have been enrolled at least five semesters in a study programme at a university in Baden-Württemberg, then they remain exempt from paying tuition (§ 5 para. 2 LHGebG).

Brexit effects:
Students from the United Kingdom who have taken up their studies with their own residence in Germany by 31.12.2020 (= end of the transition period) will not be subject to tuition fees after 01.01.2021 according to § 3 para. 1 LHGebG. The above provision of § 5 para. 2 LHGebG, which provided for protection of confidence only for existing students who were already enrolled for five semesters on 31.01.2020, does not apply due to the priority agreement on the withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the EU and the European Atomic Energy Community (2019/C 384 I/01).

Special provisions for Swiss citizens: Swiss citizens as well as spouses, life partners or children of Swiss citizens who can prove that they are working in Germany* are not required to pay tuition fees for non-EU students. The exemption is granted under the Freizügigkeitsabkommen EG/Schweiz (freedom of movement agreement between the European Community and Switzerland), effective 1st June 2002 (§ 6 and 9 para. 2 attachment I).

* Note: Income from self-employment or salaried work must be sufficient to ensure a sustainable livelihood. An average minimum monthly wage of the following sum before tax throughout the periods named above is deemed a sufficient livelihood:

716,40 euros (10/2014-09/2016)
778,80 euros (10/2016-09/2019)
892,80 euros (10/2019-09/2020)
902,40 euros (10/2020-09/2022)
974,40 euros (since10/2022)

Source: BAföG-VwV 11.3.5 in connection with § 13 I No. 2 and II No. 2 BAföG.

Possibilities for Exemptions

Exemptions covered by § 6 state law on higher education fees (Landeshochschulgebührengesetz - LHGebG)

a) The following individuals are exempt from paying tuition fees:

  • Students who are enrolled on the basis of a state, national or international agreement exempting them from having to pay tuition.
  • Students from an international partner university who are enrolled in order to earn a degree as part of a reciprocal, tuition-free (double) degree programme.
  • Visiting students from an international partner university who will not be earning a degree, but will be taking part in a reciprocal, tuition-free exchange programme (e.g. Erasmus) for up to two semesters. By contrast, free movers (visiting students not participating in an exchange programme) are required to pay tuition fees as international students.
  • Students of the University of Education Thurgau (PHTG), which are enrolled at the University of Konstanz in the cooperation programmes for Teacher Education in secondary levels I resp. II or in the cooperation Master's programme "Early Childhood".

b) The following individuals can get an exemption from paying tuition fees by applying before the beginning of the lecture period:

  • Students who take a leave of absence, as long as their request for the leave of absence is submitted before the start of the lecture period.
  • Students completing a required internship semester.
  • In general, students with a significant study-limiting disability in accordance with § 2 Neuntes Buch Sozialgesetzbuch (volume IX of the German social code, SGB IX).
  • Asylum-seeking students covered by § 55 para. 1 Asylgesetz (German asylum law) who are citizens of a country with a recognition rate listed as 50 percent or higher at the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees (BAMF) on the basis of information provided by the Federal Ministry of the Interior on 1 July of a year for the following winter semester and on 1 January of a year for the following summer semester. Currently, these are the countries Eritrea, Syria, Somalia and Afghanistan (as at the LHGebG cut-off date of 01.07.2022).

c) Special provisions for the exemption of particularly gifted international students from paying tuition fees:

Once a year, the University of Konstanz grants exemptions to a limited number of particularly gifted international degree-seeking students in accordance with the Begabtenbefreiungssatzung (statutes governing the exemption of gifted students). Eligible students must be liable to pay tuition fees (§ 3 Landeshochschulgebührengesetz LHGebG (state law on higher education fees)) and must not be exempt either by law (§ 5 LHGebG) or by some other provision (§ 6 paras 1-3 and paras 6-7 LHGebG).

The process takes place once a year during the summer semester. Under the terms set out in these statutes, the relevant departments may nominate students for exemption whom they deem particularly gifted and who will typically have completed a minimum of 18 ECTS credits per semester at the University of Konstanz. The students themselves are not required to submit a separate application. After the procedure has ended, all students granted an exemption will be notified in writing. The exemption comes into effect retroactively, i.e. it applies to the current summer semester and continues until the student exmatriculates from the study programme he/she was enrolled in at the time the exemption was granted. The maximum period of exemption extends to the end of the standard period of study for the relevant study programme plus two additional study programme semesters.

There are no other exemptions available.

Process and required documentation for determining exceptions for and exemptions from paying tuition fees

The state law stipulates the student's obligation to co-operate so that the universities have legal certainty and a low effort to determine a potential exception or exemption of the obligation to pay. This also includes, that students must submit the application for exemption for paying tuition fees before the lecture period begins (§ 10 para. 3 sentence 2 State law on higher education fees).

Regulations for Exceptions in accordance with § 5

Documentation for a legal exception for paying tuition fees should be provided during the admission process or during the enrolment process, at the latest. Unfortunately, we are not able to assess all the requirements ourselves (e.g. residence permits). For this reason, we kindly ask you to submit our information sheet and to provide us with the required written documentation as soon as possible. As an applicant, you receive this information sheet already together with your admission letter for matriculation. After checking your documents, we will inform you about whether or not you need to pay tuition fees.

We usually need your current electronic resident permit (eAT) as documentation. If the permit includes the comment “siehe Zusatzblatt” (see additional page), then you will need to also provide us with this document in order for us to become aware of any additional requirements for your residence permit. You can also hand in your current residence permit included in your passport and passport replacement documents that are valid until 31 August 2021. If the legal requirements for granting exceptions to paying tuition fees include additional prerequisites not related to your residence permit, then you will need to provide us with additional documentation.

Please note that a short-term visa to enter Germany (e.g. to begin your studies) does not fulfil the documentation requirements. After travelling to Germany, the foreigners registration office (Ausländerbehörde) will check your prerequisites and then issue you an appropriate long-term residence permit. In this case, and in order to be admitted and then enrolled at the university, you will need to pay the full tuition amount by the deadline listed in your letter of admission. Otherwise, your offer of admission will be rescinded.

If, through no fault of your own, you cannot produce the already required documentation until a later time after your enrolment/re-registration, you will be fully reimbursed for any payment towards your tuition fees already made. The same applies if legal grounds for an exemption come into effect within a month after the start of the lecture period; if you cannot prove your eligibility for exemption within this period of time, you will have to pay tuition fees for the relevant semester (§ 10 para. 4 sentence 1 and 2 State law on higher education fees).

Possibilities for Exemptions with an application in accordance with § 6

Documentation for a legal exemption from paying tuition fees should generally also be applied and provided during the admission process or during the enrolment/re-registration process, at the latest.

If you are exempt because you are currently on leave of absence from your studies, we will need to make sure your request for a leave of absence resp. your request for an exemption was submitted before the start of the lecture period. If this is the case, we will inform you about your legal exemption from paying tuition fees when we inform you about your leave of absence.

You are also exempt from paying tuition fees during a required internship semester. In this case, please provide us with written confirmation from your department’s internship coordinator.

Additionally, students with a disability that makes studying significantly more difficult should be granted an exemption (in accordance with § 2 SGB IX (volume IV of the German social code)). Generally, we will only need your valid disabled person’s identification card or another official document like that to do so. In addition, all students and prospective students concerned are also welcome to consult the representative for students with disabilities and chronic illnesses.

Finally, asylum-seeking students covered by § 55 para. 1 Asylgesetz (German asylum law) are exempt who are citizens of a country with a recognition rate listed as 50 percent or higher at the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees (BAMF) on the basis of information provided by the Federal Ministry of the Interior. Generally, we will only need your valid official residence permit of the foreigners registration office (Ausländerbehörde) to do so.

If you are exempt from paying tuition fees due to one of the aforementioned reasons, but have already paid them, you can have the amount refunded.

At the moment, there are no other exemptions available.

Subsequent naturalisation in an EU/EEA country

If you have been naturalised in an EU/EEA country during your studies, please provide us with your naturalisation certificate or passport in the form of a legible copy together with the original (for comparison) as proof of naturalisation afterwards as soon as possible.

If, through no fault of your own, you cannot produce the already required documentation until a later time after your enrolment/re-registration, you will be fully reimbursed for any payment towards your tuition fees already made. The same applies if legal grounds for an exemption come into effect within a month after the start of the lecture period; if you cannot prove your eligibility for exemption within this period of time, you will have to pay tuition fees for the relevant semester (§ 10 para. 4 sentence 1 and 2 State law on higher education fees).

Forms

Please note: Applicants receive the following information sheet for exception already together with the admission letter for matriculation.

Only for already enrolled: Request for exception from paying tuition fees for international students

Application for exemption from paying tuition fees for international students

Only during their studies: Application for deferred payment of tuition fees for international students

Application for (partial) waiver of tuition fees for international students for individual hardship reasons

Excerpt from the regulations on tuition fees for second degree studies

Basic facts on tuition fees for second degree studies

Since Winter Semester 2017/18, all students who begin the following study programmes will be required to pay tuition fees of 650 euros per semester: a second (or higher) undergraduate study programme (bachelor’s or state examination programme), a second (or higher) consecutive master’s programme after completing a first university degree in Germany or an equivalent degree. These are due in addition to the other required fees.

If, however, international students have already paid the applicable tuition fees for international students, they will not also have to pay the tuition fees for second degree studies. University degrees earned abroad do not apply.

Second degree tuition fees do not apply to students who change their field of study within a study programme or change non-degree study programmes. Exempt are also teacher education students who study additional subjects (major or minor) within their teacher education programme.

Students who are simultaneously studying for two or more different degrees at one or more state universities will only need to start paying tuition fees the semester after the first study programme has been completed. The date on the first examination certificate applies. Again, this does not apply to teacher education students who study additional subjects (major or minor) within their teacher education programme. 

If students are enrolled in two or more different degree programmes at a higher education institution in the state and at a higher education institution in another state of the Federal Republic of Germany, the second tuition fee obligation for studies at a higher education institution in Baden-Württemberg comes into effect at the beginning of the semester following the date of the first degree certificate of the degree programme at the higher education institution in the other state.

If the study and examination regulations allow or require students to study simultaneously at more than one university, they will only have to pay tuition fees at that university where the main focus of the study programme lies.

Possibilities for Exemptions

Exemptions covered by § 8 para. 4 and § 6 para. 2 and 7 state law on higher education fees 

The following individuals can get an exemption from paying tuition fees by applying before the beginning of the lecture period:

  • Students who take a leave of absence, as long as their request for the leave of absence is submitted before the start of the lecture period.
  • Students completing a required internship semester.
  • Students with a significant study-limiting disability in accordance with § 2 Neuntes Buch Sozialgesetzbuch (volume IX of the German social code, SGB IX).

There are no other exemptions available.

Process and required documentation for determining exemptions

The state law stipulates the student's obligation to co-operate so that the universities have legal certainty and a low effort to determine a potential exception or exemption of the obligation to pay. This also includes, that students must submit the application for exemption for paying tuition fees before the lecture period begins (§ 10 para. 3 sentence 2 State law on higher education fees).

Exceptions and Exemptions in accordance with § 8 para. 4

If you are exempt because you are currently on leave of absence from your studies, we will need to make sure your request for a leave of absence resp. your request for an exemption was submitted before the start of the lecture period. If this is the case, we will inform you about your legal exemption from paying tuition fees when we inform you about your leave of absence.

You are also exempt from paying tuition fees during a required internship semester. In this case, please provide us with written confirmation from your department’s internship coordinator.

Additionally, students with a disability that makes studying significantly more difficult should be granted an exemption (in accordance with § 2 SGB IX (volume IV of the German social code)). Generally, we will only need your valid disabled person’s identification card or another official document like that to do so. In addition, all students and prospective students concerned are also welcome to consult the representative for students with disabilities and chronic illnesses.

If you are exempt from paying tuition fees, but have already paid them, you can have the amount refunded.

At the moment, there are no other exemptions available.

Forms

Application for exemption from paying tuition fees for second degree studies

Application for deferred payment of tuition fees for second degree studies