Fees for international students and for second degree studies

Since winter semester 2017/18, the state of Baden-Württemberg has required some international students to pay tuition fees (1,500 euros per semester) for their first degree studies. Students from a country within the European Union (EU) or the European Economic Area (EEA) do not have to pay these fees. Doctoral students and certain "Bildungsinländer" (e.g. non-EU citizens with a German "Abitur") are also exempt from paying tuition fees. For second degree studies, all students are required to pay tuition fees (650 euros per semester).

If you want to read more about this decision, visit the website of the Baden-Württemberg Ministry of Science, Research and the Arts (MWK).

How will the funds be used

Of the tuition fees paid by international students, the university receives 300 euros per person. At the University of Konstanz, we use this money for the support and promotion of international students, for example, to improve their graduation rate. The remaining 1,200 euros per international student as well as the total 650 euros for second-degree studies are allocated to the state budget for securing the long-term financing of university education.

Regulations on tuition fees for international students

General information

Since winter semester 2017/18, international students who are not from a country within the European Union (EU) or the European Economic Area (EEA) have to pay tuition fees (1,500 euros per semester) for their degree studies in a bachelor's, consecutive master's or state examination programme. The usual other semester fees also apply.

The following persons do not have to pay tuition fees:

  • Students from EU and EEA countries.
  • International students with a qualification for university entrance acquired in Germany ("Bildungsinländer" as per § 58 Landeshochschulgesetz LHG (state law on higher education)). This qualification may be either:
    1. Allgemeine Hochschulreife (general higher education entrance qualification)
    2. Fachgebundene Hochschulreife (subject-specific higher education entrance qualification)
    3. Fachhochschulreife (qualification for study at a university of applied sciences)
    4. School qualification and a "Deltaprüfung" (test of aptitude for studying) (§ 58 para. 2 no. 4 LHG) if the corresponding subject-specific higher education entrance qualification or qualification for study at a university of applied sciences was obtained in Germany
    5. Aufstiegsfortbildungsprüfung (recognized career advancement exam) (§ 58 para. 2 no. 5 LHG) if completed in Germany
    6. Professional qualification and aptitude test (§ 58 para. 2 no. 6 LHG) if professional training and experience were completed in Germany
    7. Other previous education recognized by the Ministry of Education (§ 58 para. 2 no. 12 LHG)
    Higher education entrance qualifications earned in other German states are valid in Baden-Württemberg, 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, after beginning their studies, students get into a financial emergency through no fault of their own and cannot pay the fees as a result, the university may defer the payment entirely or partly, or entirely or partly exempt the students from paying the fees (§ 7 Landeshochschulgebührengesetz LHGebG (state law on higher education fees)).

Exceptions

Exceptions as per § 5 para. 1 state law on higher education fees (LHGebG)

The following exceptions from tuition fees 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 persons do not have to pay tuition fees:

  1. Spouses, life partners and children of a citizen of a country in the European Union or 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 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 payments from their parents or their spouses or life partners.
  2. Foreign nationals who have a settlement permit ("Niederlassungserlaubnis") or a permanent EU residence permit ("Erlaubnis zum Daueraufenthalt") as per the Residence Act (AufenthG).
  3. Foreign nationals who have their habitual residence in Germany and who are recognized outside the German territory as refugees within the meaning of the Convention on the Status of Refugees of 28 July 1951 (BGBl. II 1953 p. 559, 560) and who are entitled to permanently stay in the territory of the Federal Republic of Germany.
  4. Displaced foreigners within the meaning of the "Gesetz über die Rechtsstellung heimatloser Ausländer in Deutschland - HAusIG" (law on the legal status of displaced foreigners in Germany) in the revised version (BGBl. III, Section 243-1, last amended on 30 July 2004 (BGBl. I p. 1950, 2000).
  5. Foreign nationals who have their permanent residence in Germany and hold a residence permit as per §§ 22, 23 para. 1, 2 or 4, §§ 23a, 25 para. 1 or 2, §§ 25a, 25b, 28, 37, 38 para. 1 sentence 1 no. 2 or § 104a AufenthG (Residence Act); or are the spouse, life partner or child of a foreign national with a settlement permit ("Niederlassungserlaubnis") and have a residence permit ("Aufenthaltserlaubnis") pursuant to §§ 30 or 32 [33] to 34 AufenthG.
    5a. in the period from 24.02.2022 to 25.02.2025: foreign nationals who have their permanent residence in Germany and hold a residence permit ("Aufenthaltserlaubnis") pursuant to § 24 AufenthG (Residence Act).
  6. Foreign nationals who have their permanent residence in Germany and who have a residence permit pursuant to § 25 para. 3 or 4 sentence 2 or para. 5 or § 31 AufenthG (Residence Act); or are the spouse, life partner or child of a foreigner with a residence permit and have a residence permit pursuant to §§ 30, 32 [33] to 34 and 36a AufenthG and have been living in Germany for at least 15 months without interruption on a legal, permitted or tolerated basis.
  7. Tolerated foreign nationals (§ 60a AufenthG (Residence Act)) who have their permanent residence in Germany and have been living in Germany for at least 15 months without interruption on a legal, permitted or tolerated basis; § 18a para. 1 no. 7 AufenthG applies accordingly.
  8. Foreign nationals who have both lived and worked legally in Germany for a total of at least five years.
  9. Foreign nationals who have at least one parent who both lived and worked legally in Germany at least three of the last six years before the start of their child's studies.
  10. Foreign nationals who have completed a bachelor's and a master's programme or a state examination or "Diplom" study programme in Germany; § 8 LHGebG (state law on higher education fees) shall remain unaffected, that means students have to pay the tuition fee for second degree studies.

If a country leaves the EU or EEA, then citizens from this country would generally have to pay 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 fees (§ 5 para. 2 LHGebG).

Impacts of Brexit:
Students from the UK with residence in Germany who have taken up their studies by 31.12.2020 (end of transition period) will not have to pay tuition fees as per § 3 para. 1 LHGebG. The five-semester provision mentioned under "If a country leaves the EU..." does not apply in this case.

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", effective 1 June 2002 (§ 6 and 9 para. 2 attachment I).

*Note: Your income from self-employment or salaried work must be sufficient for you to support yourself. Please refer to this overview for the average monthly minimum salary before tax to be earned in the past and currently:

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 (since 10/2022)

Source: BAföG VwV 11.3.5 in connection with § 13 para. 1 no. 2 and § 23 no. 2 BAföG.

Exemptions

Exemptions as per § 6 Landeshochschulgebührengesetz LHGebG (state law on higher education fees)

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

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

b) Upon application (has to be submitted before the start of the lecture period), the following students may be exempted from tuition fees:

  • Students who take a leave of absence, as long as they submit their request before the lecture period.
  • Student who are required by the study programme's examination regulations to complete an internship semester.
  • Students with a significant study-limiting disability as per § 2 volume nine of the German social code, SGB IX.
  • Asylum-seeking students as per § 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 countries are Eritrea, Syria, Somalia and Afghanistan (as of 1 January 2024).

c) Exemption for particularly gifted international students:

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 selection process takes place once a year during the summer semester. The 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 decision has been made, 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 students exmatriculate from the corresponding study programme. The maximum period of exemption extends to the end of the corresponding standard period of study plus two additional semesters.

No other exemptions are available.

Financial emergency after taking up studies

If you get into a financial emergency through no fault of your own after starting your studies, you can apply for a full or partial deferral (payment by instalments or deferred payment). If your situation is particularly difficult, you can also apply for a full or partial waiver of tuition fees (§ 7 LHGebG-state law on higher education fees).

For advice on the application, please first contact our International Office. More detailed information on financial aid and options is available on the websites of Seezeit student services as well as the University of Konstanz. And why not browse the Seezeit job exchange listing a wide range of student jobs?

Requirements for exceptions and exemptions

As per state law, applicants and students have a comprehensive obligation to co-operate so the universities have legal certainty and not too much effort in deciding on exemptions. This means you must submit the application before the start of the lecture period (§ 10 para. 3 sentence 2 Landeshochschulgebührengesetz LHGebG (state law on higher education fees)).

Exceptions as per § 5 LHGebG

Please provide the necessary documentation for a legal exception during the admission process or, at the latest, during the enrolment/re-registration process. Unfortunately, we are not able to assess all the pre-requisites ourselves (e.g. residence permits). For this reason, we kindly ask you submit the information sheet for exceptions  purposes including written documentation as soon as possible. As a university applicant you receive this information sheet with your admission letter or enrolment request. After checking your documents, we will inform you about whether or not you need to pay tuition fees.

We usually need your current electronic residence permit (elektronischer Aufenthaltstitel) as documentation. If the permit includes the comment "siehe Zusatzblatt" (see additional page), then you will need to also provide us with this document. If the legal requirements for an exemption include additional pre-requisites not solely evident from 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 pre-requisites and issue you a longer-term residence permit, if applicable. In order to be admitted and then enrolled at the university, you have to pay the full tuition amount by the deadline stated in your letter of admission. Otherwise, we cannot enrol you and your offer of admission will expire.

If you have a legal reason for being exempt from tuition fees, but can only produce the corresponding documentation after your enrolment/re-registration through no fault of your own, 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; after that you will have to pay tuition fees for the relevant semester (§ 10 para. 4 sentences 1 and 2 Landeshochschulgebührengesetz LHGebG (state law on higher education fees)).

Exemptions as per § 6 LHGebG

Please apply and provide the necessary documentation for a legal exemption during the admission process or, at the latest, during the enrolment/re-registration process.

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. If you did so and you are granted a leave of absence, this is a legal ground for exemption. We will notify you accordingly.

Students completing a required internship semester (as per the examination regulations). We need written confirmation from the internship coordinator in your department.

Students with a disability that makes studying significantly more difficult as per § 2 SGB IX (German social code). Generally, we will only need your valid disabled person’s identification card or specialist medical documents. (Prospective) students are very welcome to consult the representative for students with disabilities and chronic illnesses.

Asylum-seeking students as per § 55 para. 1 Asylgesetz (German asylum law) will be exempted from tuition fees if they are citizens of a country with a recognition rate listed as 50 percent or higher at the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees (BAMF). It is usually sufficient to present the current permit to stay in Germany "Aufenthaltsgestattung" issued by the foreigners registration office.

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

No other exemptions are available.

Subsequent naturalization in an EU/EEA country

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

If you have a legal reason for being exempt from tuition fees, but can only produce the corresponding documentation after your enrolment/re-registration through no fault of your own, 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; after that you will have to pay tuition fees for the relevant semester (§ 10 para. 4 sentences 1 and 2 Landeshochschulgebührengesetz LHGebG (state law on higher education fees)).

Forms

Please note: University applicants receive the information sheet for exemption purposes together with the admission letter or enrolment request.

For already enrolled students only:

Information sheet for exception purposes to clarify a legal exemption from tuition fees for international students

Application for exemption from tuition fees for international students

Only during studies: Application for full or partial deferral or application for full or partial waiver of tuition fees for international students for individual reasons of hardship

Regulations on tuition fees for second degree studies

General information

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

International students who already pay tuition fees for international students do not also have to pay the tuition fees for second degree studies. University degrees earned abroad are not taken into account.

Students who change their field of study within a study programme or change non-degree study programmes do not have to pay the fees for second degree studies. Teacher education students who study additional subjects within their teacher education programme also do not have to pay fees for second degree studies.

Students who are simultaneously enrolled in two or more different study programmes at one or more state universities (studying for two degrees), will only need to start paying tuition fees the semester after they have completed their first study programme. 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 study programmes at a university in Baden-Württemberg or in another German state, students have to pay second degree tuition fees for the Baden-Württemberg university starting the semester after they complete their first degree 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.

Exemptions

Exemptions covered by § 8 para. 4 in connection with § 6 paras. 2 and 7 state law on higher education fees (LHGebG)

The following students 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 application 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 SGB IX (volume nine of the German social code).

No other exemptions are available.

Process and required documentation

As per state law, applicants and students have a comprehensive obligation to co-operate so the universities have legal certainty and not too much effort in deciding on exemptions. This means you must submit the application before the start of the lecture period (§ 10 para. 3 sentence 2 Landeshochschulgebührengesetz LHGebG (state law on higher education fees)).

Applications for exemption as per § 8 para. 4 LHGebG (state law on higher education fees)

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. If you did so and you are granted a leave of absence, this is a legal ground for exemption. We will notify you accordingly.

Students completing a required internship semester (as per the examination regulations). We need written confirmation from the internship coordinator in your department.

Students with a disability that makes studying significantly more difficult as per § 2 SGB IX (German social code): Generally, we will only need your valid disabled person’s identification card or specialist medical documents. (Prospective) students are very welcome to consult the representative for students with disabilities and chronic illnesses.

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

No other exemptions are available.

Forms

Application for exemption from paying tuition fees for second degree studies

Application for deferred payment of tuition fees for second degree studies