Financial Issue

Compared to the costs which the same academic year would also cause at the home university, the stay abroad can be more expensive due to: 

• travel expenses;

• tuition fees;

• higher living costs. 

The majority of studies abroad are financed by sources that also finance their studies at home (for example, own funds, BAföG, education loan). Although scholarships from intermediary organizations for the purpose of studying abroad are offered in many forms, they always only cover the smaller part of those interested. In the university exchange programs, individual programs (ISAP program, Teaching Assistant posts) provide for a subsidy for additional costs abroad, as well as the exemption from or reduction of tuition fees at the host university.


To promote a study year abroad during the studies, benefits can be obtained according to BAföG. This applies both to a study visit as part of an exchange program and to a self-organized study abroad visit to a higher education institution of your choice. The following rules apply (simplified, only relevant are the legal regulations, advice by the competent foreign Bafög office is essential); requirements for the promotion:

• Studying abroad is conducive to your studies (usually only from the third semester, as confirmed by a specialist representative).

 • Study achievements to be acquired abroad can (at least in part) be credited towards the domestic education (no subject-specific study!). For the USA applies: Courses of 1./2. Academic year are not recognized as sufficient; When choosing a course, pay attention to the level of the selected events!

• Duration of stay abroad is at least 6 months (special arrangement for exchange programs: minimum of 3 months).

• Enrollment at a foreign university.

• Knowledge of the local language of instruction.

Duration Usually up to two semesters. Funding Studying abroad increases the “need”. In addition to the domestic requirement rate: • Monthly. Supplements to the need for living (adjusted semi-annually, as of July 2015: € 43, – for the USA and € 45, – for Canada); • any necessary tuition fees (up to € 4,600 per year will be taken over); so-called fees (management fees) are not accepted; • necessary travel expenses as a flat rate (overseas: € 500, – / flight, ie a total of € 1,000, -); • Subsidy to Overseas Health Insurance To cover this need, the same calculation as in Germany will first be made by a debtor or claimant. BAföG assumes what they can not afford. The amount which BAföG may have to pay to cover the additional foreign demand is half of the subsidy and half of the loan. (The only exception is the tuition surcharge, which is always granted in full as a grant, so it does not have to be repaid later.)


  • Due to the higher demand, subsidies can also become current in cases where the domestic demand is still completely limited by e.g. could be applied to the parents, i. where no domestic BAföG is purchased.
  • Funding is provided for the duration of enrollment and attendance at the foreign university. In the US, enrollment ends in May / June, while the German semester begins again on October 1, so here’s a “hole” in funding. However, there is a provision whereby domestic support can be provided for up to two months before the start of the semester at home if there are no more than four months between the end of the visit to the foreign training institution and the beginning of the semester at home (study in the USA) So last at least until 31.5.!). The summer school visit following the academic year can also be supported by BAföG.

Effect on the period of support Study abroad is generally not counted towards the maximum duration of funding; the total funding can therefore be extended by up to 2 semesters abroad. Funding after exceeding the maximum funding period as a result of studying abroad is possible in the form of an interest-bearing bank loan.