Under Germany’s federal law on financial support for education, known as the BAföG, German students receive funding for the standard duration of their chosen course of studies as long as their parents’ income and their own income and assets do not exceed certain thresholds. Foreign students can also be eligible for BAföG funding under particular circumstances. Students receive half of their funding in the form of a grant, which they do not need to repay, and the other half in the form of an interest-free loan that they will need to start repaying five years after the end of the standard duration of their degree program. You can be granted certain rebates if you pay the loan back as a lump sum rather than in installments, if you finish in the top 30 percent of your class, or if you finish your degree program in less than the standard duration.
It is therefore never a bad idea to apply for BAföG funding. You can submit a BAföG application at Studentenwerk, where you can also ask any questions you may have about BAföG funding. Additional information, along with a calculator to show you how much you can expect to receive, is also available at www.bafoeg-rechner.de. You can download an application form from the web pages of the Federal Ministry of Education and Research. Speak to the staff in the student-funding department at Student Services about what exactly you need.