Overview of financing

Study financing is usually a mix of several financing options. Seeing through this jungle of possibilities is not always easy.

The social counseling advises you on your personal finance mix and supports you before starting your studies, during your studies and when your life situation changes due to illness, pregnancy or other events.

Long-term options for student financing

Legally, parents are obliged to support a child until it has completed a course of study which qualifies it to work in a particular profession.

This may also be a degree subsequent to educational training. If the income of the parents is not sufficient, subsidies according to the Federal Training Promotion Act (BAföG) are usually possible. The Higher Regional Courts in the federal area base the support they provide on a monthly student maintenance requirement of €860 plus contributions to health and care insurance plus the enrollment fee. Allocation to a maintenance level is based on the Dusseldorf Table. However, the actual level of entitlement to maintenance is based on the parents’ income. Parents may demand proof that their child is studying in accordance with the study regulations.

We provide you with information on the legal requirement to provide child maintenance and will discuss together with you what options you have when your parents cannot or even will not pay for your maintenance. It can occur that students with difficult relations with their parents cannot make an agreement with their parents on maintenance, or that students can only do so with extreme difficulty. Before you decide to go to court, please seek consultation at the social counselling centre or the psychotherapeutic counselling. In addition, the Social Counselling Centre also offers mediation/conflict resolution counselling.

An important pillar for financing your studies is BAföG. But are you entitled to it?
We will counsell on the eligibility requirements, questions and problems when extending BAföG and on possible alternatives.

A scholarship is not only a very good way of funding your studies, but also an excellent addition to your CV.

However, it is not easy to get a scholarship. To get a scholarship, you will need to master how to research foundations, how to make a good application and possibly also how to deal with a time-intensive selection process. The efforts required to apply to a foundation for a scholarship are roughly comparable to those required to apply for a job with qualification requirements, but these efforts are worthwhile. Never send mass letters. Inform the foundations where you have submitted further applications. Further information can also be found in our flyer, Financing Your Studies via Foundations.

We would like to encourage you to try this way of financing your studies and we provide you with information on researching and applying. We also advise you in ongoing scholarship issues, such as in offsetting your scholarship funds against housing benefit or unemployment benefits.

Two thirds of all students finance themselves in part or entirely by working – whether with a minijob or midijob, doing self-employed work, doing one-off jobs or as a student assistant.

If you earn €450 or less, you will not have to pay tax or social insurance contributions. As a student, you can work up to 20 weeks per week during the teaching months, largely without having to pay insurance contributions. In the semester breaks, however, you can work a lot more. It is important that your time and capacity to work are mainly dedicated to your studies. The amount you earn impacts your BAföG, however, and can also impact the amount of health insurance you pay. 

We explain to you the requirements for working while you study and assist you in working out what the impact could be on your social insurance, child benefit, scholarships or BAföG. If you are pregnant, we advise you on the social protection regulations in employment law, about maternity allowance and parental leave, and about all topics related to working and studying.

You can find a job portal and free job related workshops on

In addition to BAföG, there are also other state social benefits the students can apply for.

For example, if you take a semester-long break due to pregnancy, it is possible to receive unemployment benefits during this period. Likewise, state housing benefit is a good way for many students to pay a part of their rent.

We provide you with an overview of your possible social entitlements, explain the prerequisites for applying for housing benefit, the exemption from paying financial contributions to the German broadcast media and provide information on getting child benefits and parental benefits. We also offer detailed advice for pregnant students and students with children. Whether full-time or part-time studies or a pause from your studies as part of a one-semester long break, we will help you to examine which could be the best option for you personally during pregnancy and while raising your child. You can make all applications to Help for the Family Foundation (Stiftung Hilfe für die Familie) via us.

There are now a large number of different loan options which are specially aimed at students and are therefore cheaper than other loans.

Before deciding on a loan, you should first check all other financing options, together with the Social Counselling Centre. You should only get a loan if you have no other option. We can give you an overview on student loans such as BAföG bank loanKfW's student loan or loans from Studentische Darlehenskasse.

In order to get a feel for the costs incurred, we recommend using a repayment calculator to create a model repayment plan. To calculate the total debt, interest, and monthly repayment rates, there is a repayment calculator here.

KfW-Förderbank also offers a repayment calculator for KfW student loans and a repayment calculator for educational credit loans.

Studentische Darlehnskasse e.V. also provides you with a repayment calculator. With this, you can found out your payment and repayment schedules, based on the loan conditions.

We help you to deal with important questions that arise before you take out a loan, let you know about debt traps and help you to find alternatives to taking out a loan. We provide information about the conditions of publicly funded student loans, and how they are allocated and repaid. 


One-time support options of the studierendenWERK BERLIN

First-year students who have been affected by the war in Ukraine and need financial help to start studying in Berlin can get support at our social counselling centre.
Appointments can be made via the contact form on the Social Counselling website. 

With its emergency fund, the studierendenWERK BERLIN provides financial support in emergency situations. This is intended to enable a successful course of study and to prevent students from dropping out. The prerequisite for a grant from the emergency fund is that you are in an acute, unforeseeable, temporary and non-culpable personal emergency situation that endangers your further studies. The grant is approximately the amount of the BAföG rate and is awarded once.

Persons who are studying at a cooperating higher education institution in Berlin are eligible to apply. One must be able to recognise from the academic performance that active study is being pursued. Students affected by the current war situation in Ukraine can also be supported. This does not depend on their nationality. In principle, they must fulfil the above-mentioned requirements.

How can you apply?

Please contact the social counselling service. We can advise you on site, by phone or by video.
We will talk about your situation and which documents are necessary for the application.
We offer counselling in German and English.

The Universität der Künste has set up a solidarity fund in cooperation with the studierendenWERK BERLIN.
Support is provided for socially and financially needy students of the UdK Berlin in order to use the support to finance study-related expenses.
This can be used, for example, for a project grant, materials, fees, licences or working materials.
The support is a one-time amount of 500 €.

You can find more information here.

The Start-of-Study Grant provides financial support for a successful start to your studies.
The graduation grant provides financial support for successful completion of studies.

It is for socially and financially needy students. It takes into account the special burdens of international students.
The grant is intended for living expenses and increased costs during these special phases of study, for example, purchases, security deposits, travel, living expenses to be bridged, additional expenses for final papers, and the like.

Funding is available for 100 students per year. There are two application rounds per year, one at the start of each spring semester and one at the start of each fall semester.

Funding is provided as a one-time grant. So if you have already benefited from this fund once, you cannot apply again. 

Deadline and payment from the application period 19.04. - 03.05.22:
All decisions are made on the same day.
On this date, you will receive an email after which you can view the decision on your application in the portal.
This deadline is expected to be in June.
If your application is one of the 40 approved applications, you will automatically receive the money a few days after the deadline on the payment account stated in your application.

For the coming winter semester 2022/23, the application period is expected to be mid-September to mid-October.

Contact to Social Counselling Centre

You seek consultation? Please fill out the contact form of the social counselling centre.