What you should know about study scholarships/funding in Germany
Almost every day, I get requests for assistance with search for study scholarships in Germany. It seems a lot of people are frustrated with this process. I can empathize with the challenge and here are some explanations & tips I hope you'd find helpful.
From my personal experience, I have come up with 2 main reasons why finding study scholarships/funding is particularly hard for Germany (or so it seems). But before I start, it's helpful to clarify the terms.
What is "scholarship" and what is "funding"?
I think these two terms get used interchangeably but for the sake of this conversation, let's differentiate them by assuming "scholarship" covers tuition only while "funding" is scholarship + pocket money. With that said, I think for the most part, people are mostly looking for not just "scholarships" but "funding". And this leads to my first reason as to why it is harder in Germany.
Most public institutions are already tuition-free so meaning default "scholarship" for everyone. This is especially true when you compare this reality to that of the US, UK, Canada and the likes. So it is understandable that many institutions aren't actively making a lot of so called "funding options" for international students.
The govt is already paying for you to study. To be fair, even most of the US and UK schools only offer tuition reduction or waivers as their "funding support" for international students. In the end, you may still have to arrange your upkeep money by yourself.
So yeah, I think this is the number one reason why funding may seem harder to find for German universities. You automatically get a "scholarship" if you are admitted. I think it's fair and helpful to keep that in mind.
Second reason - Information on many scholarships are available only in German.
This one is deep and not easy to solve. The fact of the matter is that many institutions & foundations that offer scholarships have their scholarship information pages available only in German.
And this is also partly because they target students who are already here and enrolled. They are not typically meant to support your visa application. I am still trying to build a comprehensive database for people to get easy access to such resources.
In the meantime though, you can try to improve your search for scholarships and funding by using German search parameters. If you use Google Chrome as browser, you should be able to auto-translate web pages to English so you can read the results.
To translate your search terms, I recommend using DeepL Translate for your translations. Here are some search terms as examples:
"Stipendien in Deutschland"
"Forschungsstipendium in Deutschland"
"Stipendien in Munich"
...and so on. I think you get the idea.
Additionally, another reason scholarships may be harder for Germany is that it is assumed that most students find student jobs (especially at Master level) and earn some income. So if you don't pay tuition and have an income, you should be alright it is assumed.
This could be another reason.
So yeah, bottom line is that the search for "funding" for studies in Germany is a tough one and you'd be very fortunate to get one in time for your Visa interview. More likely though is that you'll need that blocked account or sponsorship letter.
But don't give up. Still put in that admission application. Just brace yourself for a very long search for the "funding" you need. And by all means if you can, raise money for a blocked account. It's your money to spend in any case.
Author : Kekeocha Justin