Ministry of Labour, Social, Family Affairs and Integration

Study & Research Financial Support for international Students

Studying abroad causes high costs. Find out whether you qualify for an education advancement grant or financial support through scholarship programmes.

Financial Support for international Students - Hamburg Welcome Portal

Financial Support in accordance with the German Federal Training Assistance Act (BAföG)

Students at higher technical colleges, academies and universities can receive benefits in accordance with the Federal Training Assistance Act (BAföG). The amount of support depends on whether the financial resources available to you and your parents are sufficient to cover the training costs. BAföG aims to give all people the opportunity to complete an education that corresponds to their talent and interests, regardless of their social and economic situation. The subsidy is usually paid in half as a grant and half as an interest-free state loan. Pupils receive the grant as a full grant, so they do not have to pay it back. Students who have already reached the age of 30 at the beginning of the training period usually cannot receive BAföG (the age limit for master programmes is 35 years). 

Foreign nationals are eligible in general if they have a prospect of a long-term stay in Germany and are already socially integrated. These are, for example, persons with permanent residence permit. The list below gives a first indication of whether you can obtain BAföG and is not exhaustive.

Nationals of a EU member state or Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Iceland and Norway are eligible if one of the following conditions apply:

  • You work as an employee or self-employed person and enjoy freedom of movement within the EU.
  • You have the right of permanent residence (usually after five years of lawful residence).
  • Before starting your apprenticeship in Germany, you have been employed in a context which is related to the training.

Nationals of a state outside the EU/EEA countries are eligible if one of the following conditions apply:

  • You are in possession of a settlement permit or permanent residence EU permit under the Residence Act.
  • You are a spouse or child of a national of the EU/EEA countries, who is an employee or a self-employed person and enjoys freedom of movement within the EU, and you accompany him.
  • You are married to a German and have moved to Germany.
  • you are spouse or child of a foreign national who holds a settlement permit,
  • You have already lived in Germany for five years before starting your studies and have been gainfully employed (training, secondary employment or summer jobs are not regarded as gainful employment).
  • Your father or mother has lived for three years in Germany during the last six years before the beginning of your studies and was legally employed.

Since the legislation is very complex, it is recommended to contact the Counselling Centre for Study Financing of the Studierendenwerk Hamburg.

Scholarship Programmes

A scholarship can also be an option for financing your studies. Please note that the application for a scholarship must be made early. The scholarship database of the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) offers a good opportunity for research. At the time of applying for a DAAD scholarship you should still be in your home country. If you are already in Germany, an application is usually only possible if you have not been in Germany for more than 15 months.

For students who are basically not entitled to BAföG, other scholarship programmes may be interesting. Information about this and general scholarship information can be found on the website of the Studierendenwerk Hamburg.


Counselling Centre for Study Financing – BeSt
Grindelallee 9 (ground floor)
20146 Hamburg
Phone: +49 40 42815 -5107, or -5108

Office hours:
Mon: 9.30 a.m. – 3 p.m.
Tue, Thu: 9.30 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Fri: 9.30 a.m. – 1 p.m.

You can find further, more detailed information about applying for financial support at the website of Studierendenwerk Hamburg.