Semester fees & tuition fees in German universities

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Semester fees

Semester fees not only cover administrative costs, such as enrolment fees and re-registration fees, but also include a social contribution to the Studentenwerk (local student services organisation) for running the mensas, cafeterias, halls of residence, and advice services. The semester fees also contribute to the official body that represents students at the institution, such as the AStA (student union), and also go towards funding semester tickets for public transport, where applicable. You are obliged to pay semester fees if you wish to study at a higher education institution.

Tuition fees

Tuition fees are usually charged by private higher education institutions and for postgraduate programmes. Students who exceed the standard period of study by more than four semesters (long-term students) may also be liable to pay tuition fees. In 2007, general tuition fees began to be introduced in Germany, which every student had to pay from the first semester onwards, allowing other fees – such as long-term study fees – to be dropped. In the meantime, however, most German states have abolished tuition fees.

Tuition fees in the German federal states – an overview

Baden-Württemberg no general tuition fees at state higher education institutions (to be abolished from summer semester 2012)
Bavaria general tuition fees of between 100 and 500 euros per semester
Berlin no general tuition fees at state higher education institutions
Brandenburg no general tuition fees at state higher education institutions
Bremen no general tuition fees at state higher education institutions; 500 euros per semester for long-term students
Hamburg general tuition fees of 375 euros per semester (to be abolished from winter semester 2012-13)
Hesse no general tuition fees at state higher education institutions
Mecklenburg-West Pommerania no general tuition fees at state higher education institutions
Lower Saxony general tuition fees of 500 euros per semester or 300 euros per trimester; long-term students’ fees between 600 and 800 euros per semester or 400 and 533 euros per trimester
North-Rhine-Westphalia no general tuition fees at state higher education institutions
Rhineland-Palatinate no general tuition fees at state higher education institutions; long-term students’ fees of 650 euros per semester
Saarland no general tuition fees at state higher education institutions; long-term students’ fees of 400 euros per semester
Saxony no general tuition fees at state higher education institutions
Saxony-Anhalt no general tuition fees at state higher education institutions; long-term students’ fees of 500 euros per semester
Schleswig-Holstein no general tuition fees at state higher education institutions
Thuringia no general tuition fees at state higher education institutions; long-term students’ fees of 500 euros per semester
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