Studying

an university associate teaches her students

Can I study at a university or technical college?

Legally, access to university is neither dependent upon citizenship nor limited to specific nationalities. Prospective students from different countries can find specific information and useful tips for the application process at uni-assist

If you come from a non-EU country to study in Germany, you need a residence permit for the purpose of studying. The requirements and which documents you require for this are listed at berlin.de. The database Anabin also offers information on the assessment of foreign university degrees.

Recognised refugees are treated in the same way as international study applicants. A study course can be started even with a permission to remain or permission to remain until deported. Many universities work in cooperation with uni-assist e.V., which has set up a special website with information for refugees. Furthermore, on an information sheet the senate department for education, youth and families provides information for refugees who wish to study.

How can I find a study place?

When looking for a study place, you can use the higher education navigator from the higher education compass. A list of study advice services for all Berlin higher education institutions is compiled in the information sheet from the senate department for education, youth and families.

How can I finance my studies?

To finance your studies you can apply for a grant. Grants are awarded including by the scholarship scheme of the German federal government and by charitable foundations. Information about the funding options from DAAD (the German academic exchange service) for foreign students, graduates, post-doctoral students and higher education professors as well as provisions from selected other funding organisations are listed on the website of DAAD

Under certain conditions, you can apply for the BAföG grant. However, it must be noted that not every foreign person is entitled to the BAföG grant and that it is not granted on the basis of the same criteria as for domestic applicants. Further information is available to read under pupil BAföG grant, as the groups of people to whom funding is awarded are the same.
It must be noted that a theoretical entitlement to the BAföG grant almost always excludes the people concerned from SGB II. Here too, you should use an advice service if necessary.

If the residence permit has been issued specifically for studying (§ 16 AufenthG (German residence act)), then there is generally no entitlement to the BAföG grant, as the visa is issued only if your cost of living is guaranteed from other means (or e.g. those of your parents).

If you wish to work alongside your studies, then you should note two things: student temporary employees are attractive to many companies, as lower social security contributions are paid for them. However, this applies only for so-called “student secondary employment”. For this, you may work only a maximum of 20 hours per week or only in the term holidays. If you work more, then you are no longer considered to be a student but rather an employee. Then you must pay normal social security contributions, which may be a reason for some employers no longer to employ you.

Students from non-EU countries with a residence permit specifically for studying (§ 16 AufenthG (German residence act)) must also note that a further restriction applies. Student secondary employments (i.e. max. 20 hours per week) are permitted. However, if you wish to work more (such as additionally in the term holidays), then a limit of 120 working days per year or 240 half days applies. If you wish to work even more, you must apply for the permit for this from the German federal employment agency. However, you should ensure that you do not work so much that you studies suffer as a result.

A further option to finance your studies is to take a student loan.The higher education navigator provides information about this.