Do you know that you can study at Germany’s best universities without breaking the bank? Germany is an attractive study-abroad destination for international students, not just for its affordable education, but also for the diverse academic opportunities, strong economy, and welcoming cultural environment.

Many German universities like the Technical University of Berlin and Heidelberg University are consistently ranked among the top in global university rankings, offering high-quality academic programs and research opportunities. However, getting into some of these prestigious institutions comes at a high cost. Generally, public universities in Germany are cheaper than private universities, hence should be your priority if looking for cheaper tuition costs.

With the cost of education being generally expensive for international students globally, having universities that offer affordable education is a welcome idea. In this article, we are going to look at some of the top affordable German universities for international students to consider for higher education.

What Are the General Requirements to Study in Germany?

International students interested in pursuing higher education in Germany must meet several requirements for this to happen. For a start, you need to have obtained admission into a certified German public or private institution. Depending on your level and program of study, you will be required to provide previous academic transcripts and certificates, language certificates (English or German), proof of funds, study visa, and health insurance.

You may also be asked to provide, recommendation letters, a CV, a portfolio, a research proposal, or work experience if applying to postgraduate programs. You can check out the uni-assist website for more useful resources and tools to help with your application.

Do Universities in Germany Offer English-taught Programs?

If you are wondering whether it’s possible to study at German universities in English, then know that it is absolutely possible. While many universities in Germany teach in German, they also offer English-taught programs at different degree levels, making it easy to accommodate international students not conversant with the German language.

For example, Constructor University offers several undergraduate and postgraduate programs taught in English. Additionally, the Technische Hochschule Ingolstadt also offers various degree programs in English, like the Master of Engineering in AI Engineering of Autonomous Systems and the M.E in International Automotive Engineering.

To take these English-taught programs, you have to pass the relevant language tests, with IELTS and TOEFL being the most commonly accepted tests. You will have to confirm with your university which language is accepted and the score. For example, the University of Stuggart’s MSc. in Chemical Sciences requires a TOEFL iBT score of 80 points and IELTS Band 5 for admission.

Affordable Universities in Germany for International Students

1. Berlin School of Business and Innovation

With partner universities in Barcelona, Paris, and Athens, the Berlin School of Business Innovation is not only one of the best institutions in Germany for international students but also offers affordable programs for anyone looking for less expensive education in Germany. The university has various discount schemes on tuition fees to help students save money.

Apart from the affordable tuition costs, eligible international students can apply for various scholarship opportunities offered by the institution, like the BSBI’s High Achievers Scholarships which cover 50% of tuition costs. Since it’s a private university in Germany, the tuition costs might appear high, but with the many available ways to cut down the costs, international students will find education in this school to be less costly.

2. IU International University of Applied Sciences

Another affordable private university in Germany for international students is the IU International University of Applied Sciences. This is a favorite for international students as it offers both on-campus and online full-time degrees. Being a private institution, you would expect the tuition costs to be too high but this is not the case with IU International University of Applied Sciences. International students can expect to pay around €5,247 for a full academic year of undergraduate studies.

The university has partnered with various international organizations and institutions to offer students a better educational experience. For example, students who enroll in online degree programs have a chance to complete the last two years of the program at the British Columbia Institute of Technology (BCIT) in Canada. This helps them experience education from two different institutions in different countries working together towards the same goal.

3. Technical University of Munich

The Technical University of Munich (Technische Universität München or TUM) is yet another prestigious institution for international students looking for affordable and hands-on education in science, engineering, and technology. Located in the city of Munich, TUM is one of the most successful entrepreneurial universities in Europe, with 78 companies founded in 2022 alone. Specifically, the TUM Venture Labs offers the necessary resources and support for students interested in building innovative business ventures.

Starting from the winter semester of 2024/25, international students have to pay tuition fees in addition to the semester fees to ensure sustainable learning conditions at the institution. Boasting a network of over 90,000 alumni, TUM offers a vibrant student life with numerous student organizations, cultural events, and sports activities. International students will find this very ideal as it leads to a supportive environment for academic and personal growth.

4. Technical University of Berlin

Established in 1879, TU Berlin is particularly known for its strength in engineering and technology-related disciplines. The university consistently appears top in several rankings, making it a great choice for anyone looking for quality higher education in Germany.

International students should consider this university if looking for affordable education in top German institutions. TU Berlin does not charge tuition fees and students only have to pay a semester fee of €113.09 that takes care of enrollment and registration processes. However, students enrolled in continuing education master’s programs have to pay tuition fees. For example, you will be required to pay €24,900 for the two-year Master’s degree in Space Engineering and an additional €113.09 per semester as an organization fee.

5. Karlsruhe Institute of Technology

KIT is a leading technical university in Germany, formed by the merger of the University of Karlsruhe and the Research Center Karlsruhe. Similar to TU Berlin, KIT is a public institution, and tuition fees for international students are generally low, with students expected to pay 1,500 pounds per semester. However, you may be eligible for an exemption if you’re enrolling in a doctoral program, if you have passed the German “Abitur”, or if you have EU/EEA citizenship.

Additionally, there are several other support initiatives to ensure that students reduce the financial burden associated with studying at Karlsruhe Institute of Technology. You can take advantage of the various funding and scholarship programs offered by the university and partner organizations to lower your educational costs.

6. University of Stuttgart

The University of Stuttgart is a public research university in Germany known for its focus on engineering, natural sciences, and technology programs. As a member of the alliance of leading Universities of Technology in Germany, the university plays a huge role in research, teaching, and knowledge transfer. With many universities in Germany offering German-taught programs, this university offers several programs in English, making it accessible to international students not conversant with the German language.

If you are an international student from outside the EU/EEA, you are required to pay a tuition fee of €1,500 per semester. Since the university does not offer scholarships, you can always bring down the cost of tuition by applying to the various scholarships offered by external organizations like GlobalScholarships.com’s $1,000 Scholarship.

7. Humboldt University of Berlin

Ranked among the top universities in Germany, the Humboldt University of Berlin is renowned for its commitment to academic excellence. With 15% of its student body coming from abroad, the university boasts a diverse and international student community, and offers English-taught programs, especially at the postgraduate level. This is an attractive aspect for international students not conversant in German and comfortable taking classes in English.

While all students don’t pay tuition fees, they have to pay standard fees and dues of € 290.99, which take care of the matriculation fee, the semester ticket, and the student welfare organization among others. As a prestigious university in Germany, notable names trace their roots to this university, including the famous Otto von Bismarck who was the first German Chancellor, and Karl Marx who was a famous German philosopher, economist, and revolutionary socialist.

8. Heidelberg University

Another affordable institution in Germany is Heidelberg University or the Ruprecht Karl University of Heidelberg. Known for its picturesque and historic campus, the university’s main buildings are located in the Old Town of Heidelberg, creating a unique and inspiring academic environment. You will also find interesting historical buildings like the Church of the Holy Spirit, and the Karl Theodor Bridge among many others spread across this town.

With over 25 partnerships with universities abroad, the university boasts an impressive international profile promoting academic exchange and providing opportunities for students to study abroad. There are over 5,000 international students, making up about 18.6 % of the student body, which is among the highest. Additionally, the university’s international affairs office provides support for international students including support for researchers and students affected by war in their country.

9. Georg-August-Universität Göttingen

Founded in 1734, the Georg-August-Universität Göttingen, or the University of Göttingen is one of Germany’s top universities that international students should consider for affordable education. However, it is a prestigious university with a considerably low acceptance rate of around 15-20%, hence competition for admission is quite high. But should you gain admission, you will be part of a diverse student body coming from over 138 countries.

The majority of the programs at the university are tuition-free and students are only required to pay a semester fee of around €344.25. However, some programs have set their tuition fees, like this LL.M. in Intellectual Property and Information Technology Law which charges €3900 per semester. While applying, you have to enquire whether your program of interest charges tuition fees or not.

10. Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich

We save the best institution for last. The Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich is an excellent choice for international students looking for an affordable German university focused on research and innovation. LMU Munich is home to numerous research centers and institutes covering a broad spectrum of disciplines like artificial intelligence and quantum science. It boasts several awards including the 2023 Nobel Prize in physics for generating attosecond pulses that can be applied in various applications like identifying specific molecules in the blood that can detect early-stage cancer.

Among the most affordable universities in Germany, LMU Munich ranks top as it does not charge tuition fees for international students. Additionally, while other German institutions charge a semester fee, students at LMU Munich are no longer required to pay the same. However, while there are no tuition fees to pay, you need to budget around 900 euros per month for other living expenses like food, accommodation, health insurance, and transport.

 

It is obvious that Germany offers one of the most affordable study-abroad destinations for international students. From tuition-free options to low tuition costs and scholarships, international students lucky to gain admission into German universities will be sure to complete their studies without breaking the bank. Remember that while tuition fees may be low or non-existent at many public universities, you’ll still need to budget for living expenses, accommodation, health insurance, and other personal costs.

 

Hopefully, this article will serve as a guide as you search for the most affordable school in Germany. Head on over to our Study in Germany and Available Programs for more information about studying abroad!

About the Author: Hyun Lee