From September 2019, Germany-bound international students will need €10,236 per year to qualify for a student visa, compared to €8,640 previously.
“There is a risk that only the wealthy might find it possible to study in Germany”
“Traditionally, the required amount, or ‘Regelbedarf’, to apply for the student visa is set to roughly the maximum annual payout in the German federal student grant and loan scheme,” Gerrit Bruno Blöss, the managing director of Study EU told The PIE News.
“The maximum [grant] amount increased a lot between 2018 and 2019 to reflect the drastic increase in rent in cities like Munich, Hamburg or Berlin over recent years.
“It only makes sense that the required amount for student visas increases likewise.”
The maximum allowance for German students under the Federal Training Assistance Act (‘Bundesausbildungsförderungsgesetz’, commonly known as ‘BAföG’) has risen from €735 to €853 per month. This, in turn, caused the financial requirements for international students to also increase.
Studentenwerk, Germany’s student national student affairs organisation, said it welcomed the BAföG changes for German recipients. However, the organisation expressed concerns about the effect it would have on international students.
“Students from non-EU countries must prove sufficient funding for their studies in Germany [which] makes sense for sound financing of studies,” Stefan Grob, the group’s head of press, told The PIE.
However, there is a risk that only the wealthy might find it possible to study in Germany.”
“Therefore, Germany must strengthen other forms of income for international students, such as scholarships, income from work or stipends,” he added.
However, he continued, the changes are unlikely to cause any major changes to the number of applicants from abroad seeking to study in Germany, and numbers have been increasing annually.
“There has been only a slight increase in BAföG allowances so that the change to the annual total amount is not that significant,” Grob continues.
“It might not affect application numbers heavily, but it will certainly affect many individuals pursuing their dream to study in Germany.”
Using a blocked German bank account (‘Sperrkonto’) is one popular method for international students to prove their finances. Once they deposit the funds and are in Germany, they can remove a certain amount of money each month.
“The blocked accounts are being used by the German authorities abroad to assure that applicants have sufficient financial means to cover their living costs in Germany,” a representative from the Universität Hamburg told The PIE.
“The new amount reflects a reality that int’l students must be prepared to meet”
“The costs of studying in Germany are still lower than in many other EU countries. Furthermore, international students usually do not pay tuition fees in Germany.
“Surveys have shown that international students on average have less money at their disposal than their German classmates. However, international students should not underestimate that living costs, for example, housing and health insurance, rise constantly.
“The new amount reflects a reality that international students must be prepared to meet,” the representative added.
Germany has become an increasingly popular study destination for international students over the past decade, having surpassed its long-term goal of hosting 350,000 international students by 2020 three years early in 2017.