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Scholarships for international students
What you need to know about scholarships!
Good grades are important, but there are other criteria besides achievements at school or university that are often taken into consideration when deciding whether to award a scholarship, for example: your origin, denomination, social commitment, family background, or study subject. Different scholarship sponsors have different objectives – make sure you do your research thoroughly.
Diverse forms of scholarship opportunities: Not only first-semester students are supported but international students especially in later semesters or during Master’s programmes. Furthermore, there are also scholarships or grants specifically for final papers and exams, a semester abroad or internships.
Little effort: Often all you need to apply is a CV, a motivational letter and sometimes a letter of reference.
Secure your financial situation during your studies: Sometimes scholarship are sufficient to cover your entire living costs (full scholarships).
There are many different opportunities: We have compiled a list of scholarship sponsors in Germany for you. However, you should also always research scholarship sponsors in your home country!
Who is eligible for a scholarship?
There are differences in whether and how the scholarships listed here are awarded to international students. Students are categorised in different groups that may receive different consideration:
- All students at Goethe University irrespective of their country of origin (this applies for example to the “Deutschlandstipendium“)
- International/foreign students at Goethe University irrespective of their country of origin (this applies for example to graduation and internship scholarships)
- Students from EU (and EEA) member states and/or “Bildungsinländer*innen“ pursuant to §8 BAföG – the latter are foreign students who for example graduated from German secondary school and qualified to study at a German university (this applies for example for scholarships tied to a specific denomination)
- Students from non-EU member states / so-called “Drittstaaten“ (this applies for example for special programmes at the Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung)
What is the significance of §8 BAföG?
BAföG is the abbreviation for “Bundes-Ausbildungs-Fördergungs-Gesetz“, which is the national law governing educational advancement grants and support. §8 of this law determines who is eligible for state-funded support for their studies in Germany and what conditions must be met (e.g. certain age limits when taking up studies, income below a certain threshold). Since many scholarship sponsors receive state funding, they are bound to BAföG rules in their decisions about awarding scholarships. Some special programmes for international students are excepted from these rules.
Who can receive support pursuant to §8 BAföG? (Excerpt)
- EU citizens who e.g. have lived in Germany for a minimum period of five years prior to taking up their studies, or who have, prior to taking up their studies, been in employment in Germany for a certain period of time.
- recognised refugees or foreigners who have a “tolerated“ status
- foreign students whose parents have been in employment in Germany for a few years at the time the student takes up studies
- Goethe University Deutschlandstipendium
- Graduation Scholarship
- Scholarships for internships that advance the studies
- Goethe Goes Global Master Scholarship
- Deutscher Akademischer Austauschdienst (DAAD – German Academic Exchange Service)
- Otto Benecke Foundation
- Katholischer Akademischer Ausländerdienst (KAAD – Catholic Academic Service for Foreigners)
- Brot für die Welt (Bread for the World) Protestant Development Service
- Studienstiftung des deutschen Volkes (German National Academic Foundation)
- Political foundations
- Faith-based scholarship providers
- Stiftung der Deutschen Wirtschaft (Foundation of the German Industry)
- Further talent programmes and subject-specific scholarships
Which scholarship is best for me?
These databases enable focused research targeted for example at scholarships that apply exclusively to certain study subjects or countries of origin. This is your starting point for finding a scholarship that suits your needs.
You can access a good and comprehensive overview of various scholarship providers as well as all scholarships awarded by the DAAD here: Scholarship database of the DAAD
The Federal Ministry for Education and Research also has a comprehensive data base, the Stipendienlotse (scholarship pilot).
Scholarship information of the Studien-Service-Center
The SSC of Goethe-University has gathered comprehensive information on scholarships for its students. Here you can get further hints and information.
Tips for your scholarship applications
Apply to more than one scholarship. Apply for all the scholarships that fit your profile. But please note, however, that the scholarship providers associated with StipendiumPlus exchange data about their applicants and may not consider multiple applications, so be careful with applying for these scholarships in parallel.
Show confidence. Even if it feels a bit unfamiliar – describe your strengths and objective in strong, positive and detailed terms in your application. If a motivational letter is required, take your time with this and adapt your motivational letter to each scholarship provider.
Keep deadlines and make sure that your application documents are correct and complete. Make sure above all that you submit your documents in good time and in accordance with the formal requirements of the scholarship provider. It is advisable to bring certified copies of important documents such as certificates and diplomas with you to Germany. Ask a native German speaker to proof-read your documents. There should not be any spelling errors in your application. Tip: If you have questions regarding your application documents, check with the Goethe University’s Career Service. They will give you tips for improving your CV and your motivational letter.
Don’t be shy to ask. If your application is not successful, don’t be shy to ask why. Sometimes it was just a formality. And sometimes feedback will help you develop and grow, so you can apply for a scholarship again at a later point.