Finance your Ausbildung in Germany

Many young people from Germany and abroad would like to do an Ausbildung in Germany, but have little money. How can you finance your Ausbildung in Germany?

In the Ausbildung you earn, but…

Yes, in a dual vocational training you receive a training allowance every month from your training company. Depending on the Ausbildung, this starts at around 600 euros, but often goes up to 800 euros. At the end of the Ausbildung (in the second or third year of the apprenticeship), it is often 1,000 euros gross.

With this money, you can usually cover your living expenses – especially if you still live with your parents or in a dormitory. For larger expenses, a vacation or your own apartment, however, it is already very tight with this amount.

… life also costs more money!

It’s no surprise. Even in a dual vocational training program as a trainee, you often have quite a lot of regular expenses, for example for:

  • Moving
  • Rent
  • Food
  • Clothes
  • Insurance
  • Transportation
  • Health and medicine
  • Computers, technology and internet
  • Furnishings.

So if you want to start an Ausbildung, it is best to make a calculation and check where you will stand financially and how you will get it financed. Even if you are in the middle of your Ausbildung, you should take time now and then to check where you stand financially and what you might be able to improve for yourself.

Financing Ausbildung in Germany
Not everyone wants or is able to finance an Ausbildung with the help of their parents. Fortunately, there are alternatives!

Not every trainee can rely on financial help from family. Maybe you are on your own or don’t want any help from your family. What can you do in this case?

Dual studies as an alternative to finance your Ausbildung?

Before you start thinking about financing your Ausbildung: Have you ever considered starting a dual study program in Germany? If you have a university entrance qualification or a corresponding international school-leaving certificate, this could be an option for you. A dual study program often has the following advantages:

  • you get a bachelor’s degree and a professional degree at the same time
  • Afterwards you can do a master’s degree at a university of your choice
  • participants receive a monthly salary
  • your employer pays the possible fees for the studies
  • there are usually excellent job prospects with your employer.

The dual study program in Germany is also open to internationals. A large employer that offers dual studies is, for example, Deutsche Bahn.

Vocational training assistance: Berufsausbildungsbeihilfe

Berufsausbildungsbeihilfe (BAB) is a state subsidy for apprentices in Germany. The Berufsausbildungsbeihilfe is coordinated by the German Employment Agency.

As an apprentice, you can receive the Berufsausbildungsbeihilfe, for example, if you no longer live with your parents during the apprenticeship program. Even if your training company is too far away from your parents’ house, you can get the BAB.

Finance your Ausbildung in Germany

Whether you get Berufsausbildungsbeihilfe and in what amount, depends on many different points. Among other things, it is important

  • how much your parents earn and how much you earn
  • whether you still live with your parents
  • how far away the training center is from your parents
  • various other factors.

You have to apply for the Berufsausbildungsbeihilfe at the employment agency. You should apply for the allowance as soon as possible: ideally before you start your apprenticeship program or as soon as you find out about this possibility. Inform yourself in detail at the employment agency before submitting your application.

The Employment Agency also has an online calculation program for the entitlement to Berufsausbildungsbeihilfe. However, this calculation program explains too little in our view and is neither available in English nor suitable for international apprentices. In our test in July 2022, even we as German experts didn’t know what to enter here at all in many places. That’s why we think you’re best off going directly to the employment agency for advice.

Maximum amount of the Berufsausbildungsbeihilfe

Not every applicant gets Berufsausbildungsbeihilfe. Likewise, not everyone receives the maximum amount of Berufsausbildungsbeihilfe. However, if you receive the maximum, you can currently look forward to a total of 723 euros in monthly support.

These 723 euros are made up of basic needs and a housing allowance. How this is calculated, you can read in an example on Wikipedia.

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Other important points about Berufsausbildungsbeihilfe

You should also know the following about Berufsausbildungsbeihilfe:

  • Only state-accredited in-company or external apprenticeship programs can be funded.
  • A school-based apprenticeship program is not eligible for support.
  • Normally, only the first apprenticeship program can be funded. However, upon application, a second apprenticeship program may also be eligible.

Berufsausbildungsbeihilfe for internationals

If and how you get Berufsausbildungsbeihilfe as a foreigner is very complicated to answer. The employment agency writes: “Even if you are not German, you are entitled to BAB in very many cases.”

However, there are again many different regulations to consider. Therefore, if you are a foreigner, you should inform yourself about the possibilities on the website of the Employment Agency regarding vocational training assistance and speak personally with a contact person at the Employment Agency.

BAföG

BAföG is a state subsidy for the Ausbildung of pupils, trainees and students in Germany. You can translate “BAföG” as Federal Training Assistance Act. It is often an important financing option for many German trainees. However, certain income limits may not be exceeded. With BAföG, half is a gift, the other part is given as an interest-free loan. Check carefully if you are entitled for the BAföG program as a non-German.

Education loan program of the Federal Government

The German federal government’s education loan program has been in existence for several years. It is aimed at people in training or study as well as internships. You can apply for the federal government’s education loan program online. It is limited in time and particularly low-interest. You need to check during the application if this program is suitable for you in case you are an international applicant.

Student loans

In Germany, banks offer various loans to help you complete your education (Ausbildung or study). As a rule, these offers have a comparatively low interest rate and offer you a long repayment period. It is best to first talk to the bank where you already have an account.

Financing Ausbildung with scholarships

Many organizations such as private foundations and public foundations, political parties, unions and churches offer scholarships. Some also offer scholarships for training. To receive a scholarship, most require you to go through a selection process and meet certain criteria. While certain organizations select applicants on the basis of performance and grades, others focus more on social commitment.

Finance your Ausbildung in Germany with a part-time job?

Of course, it’s often possible to work a part-time job while you’re doing your Ausbildung. This is possible for up to 10 hours per week without any problems (special conditions may apply for internationals). It is often possible that you might help out at the supermarket for 1-2 hours in the evening or work at the gas station on the weekend. However, you must coordinate this with your training company.

Taking over a part time job can be an option to finance your Ausbildung. But there are risks and maybe better alternatives.

From our experience, however, you should be careful about taking on a daily job alongside your training. This can mean that too much time is taken away from your recovery time. Therefore, our first piece of advice is to make sure you exhaust all possibilities for funding before you consider taking on a job during your Ausbildung!

Our second tip: If you want to or have to work extra, it is often best to ask your training company if you can earn some extra money by working overtime. This will save you commuting time and you can simply add on some time each day or take on a shift at the weekend.

Finance your Ausbildung in Germany: Questions and answers

  1. What are the financing options available for my education in Germany?

    There are various options like BAföG, scholarships, educational loans, and part-time jobs to finance your education in Germany. The choice of suitable financing depends on your individual needs and circumstances.

  2. Can I apply for BAföG as an international student?

    International students can receive BAföG under certain conditions, such as having a permanent residence permit in Germany or having parents who work in Germany.

  3. How do I find suitable scholarships for my education in Germany?

    Numerous scholarship providers such as political foundations, companies, and organizations can be researched through online databases or the website of the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD).

  4. How do educational loans work in Germany?

    Educational loans are low-interest loans offered by banks or KfW (Kreditanstalt für Wiederaufbau) that help cover your education costs, with repayment typically starting after completing your education.

  5. Is it possible to work while studying in Germany?

    Yes, both German and international students are allowed to work alongside their studies, with specific regulations applying to international students regarding the allowed working hours.

  6. How do I apply for BAföG?

    BAföG applications are made through the responsible Office for Educational Support, with application forms and further information available on the official BAföG website.

  7. What are the requirements for a scholarship?

    Scholarships are awarded based on various criteria such as academic performance, social engagement, or financial need, and the exact requirements vary depending on the scholarship provider.

  8. Are there age restrictions for financing education in Germany?

    For BAföG, there are age limits that vary depending on the type of education. Other financing options may also have age restrictions, but this depends on the individual programs.

  9. What support options are available for students with children?

    Students with children can receive special support like the child allowance for BAföG, parental benefits, or the child benefit supplement to reduce their financial burden.

  10. How do I cover my living expenses in Germany?

    To cover your living expenses, you can use BAföG, scholarships, educational loans, or income from part-time jobs. It is advisable to create a budget in advance to plan your expenses.

  11. Can I apply for BAföG as an EU citizen in Germany?

    EU citizens can apply for BAföG under certain conditions, for example, if they have a permanent residence permit or their parents work in Germany.

  12. Is there financial support for internships or study abroad semesters during my education in Germany?

    Yes, there are various funding opportunities like the Erasmus+ program, the DAAD scholarship, or the foreign BAföG that can help finance internships or study abroad semesters.

  13. How can I manage my repayment obligations for an educational loan or BAföG?

    For BAföG and educational loans, there are set repayment arrangements that typically start a certain number of years after completing your education. It is important to inform yourself about these regulations early on and incorporate repayment plans into your budget.

  14. Are there any special financing options for vocational training in Germany?

    Yes, vocational training students can benefit from specific financing options like the Vocational Training Assistance Act (Berufsausbildungsbeihilfe or BAB) or the “Meister-BAföG” for master craftsman training.

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