Funding through charities and foundations

A very attractive way to finance your studies is to receive funding from one of the many scholarship organizations and foundations. As a scholarship holder, you will not only receive financial support, but can also benefit from numerous other offers of support from the scholarship providers.

Scholarship to finance your studies

In Germany, only comparatively few students finance their studies with a scholarship (4 percent). However, it is always worth applying, because you have nothing to lose!

Scholarships at the college

Germany Scholarship (application deadline March 1 to 31, 2023)
State scholarship (expired)

At a glance

  • What is a scholarship?
  • Who can apply for a scholarship?
  • How to apply?
  • The 13 large gifted promoters

At a glance

What is a scholarship?

A scholarship provides financial and non-material support for students and young academics and serves to promote talented students. The best-known scholarship providers are the 13 large foundations for gifted students. However, there are also a large number of smaller and larger foundations that support students from a wide variety of backgrounds. There are over 2,000 scholarship providers in Germany alone.

Financial support
The 13 major foundations for gifted students are funded by the state and must adhere to certain rules when providing financial support. As a scholarship holder, you can receive a basic scholarship and a book allowance.

The basic scholarship is based on the BAföG and amounts to 735 euros. In addition, you may have to pay health and long-term care insurance contributions of 73 euros. How much money you actually receive each month is calculated based on the BAföG rules and depends on your income and the income of your parents.

You will always receive the book allowance of 300 euros per month. Regardless of how much you or your parents earn.

The funding arrangements are usually quite different for smaller foundations. They often do not support you in the same way as BAföG. They set their own funding rates, funding conditions and funding targets.


Non-material support
In larger foundations in particular, you will also receive non-material support as a scholarship holder bybenefiting from a broad program of support and events. Each organization has a different focus based on the different ideological orientations and objectives of the foundations.

For example, you can obtain individual advice from the employees or liaison lecturers of the respective sponsoring organizations on topics such as study progression or career planning.

Many foundations offer you a varied program of seminars and events on cultural, political and academic topics. You can network with students from all over Germany and with scholarship holders from your university and learn more about interesting topics.

Who can apply for a scholarship?

In principle, all students and school leavers can apply for a scholarship. There is a misconception among students that scholarships require particular success at school and university and a high level of talent and are therefore only available to a small group of people.

However, scholarship providers in Germany award their scholarships according to very different criteria. In addition to academic performance, some foundations consider it positive if you identify with their political values or are socially involved in various areas.

Other foundations award scholarships to students with certain personal characteristics, for example with previous professional training, a migration background, certain subjects or to students who have disabilities or chronic illnesses.

You too can find scholarship offers that match your personal profile.

How to apply?

How you can apply for the various scholarships varies greatly from one funding organization and foundation to another.

You often have to write a letter of motivation in which you explain why you are applying for the scholarship. Your CV and certificates are also required. Some foundations require reports from professors or teachers who assess your performance at university or school. Find out in advance which application documents are required by the foundation of your choice.

Applying to the German National Academic Foundation is more complicated. Here you must be nominated by your school principal (directly after your Abitur) or by university lecturers. You can also apply to the Studienstiftung yourself, but you will then have to pass a selection test.

As many scholarship providers can accept you for funding at an early stage, you should apply early. Pay attention to the deadlines set by the scholarship provider.

The 13 large gifted promoters

There are 13 major funding organisations in Germany that award scholarships to suitable students. Among the most important are the six political foundations, each of which is orientated towards a political party.

If you are looking for a foundation that you feel close to politically, you can apply to the relevant party-affiliated foundations. You can also apply to denominationally orientated foundations and to the foundations of the German Trade Union Confederation (Hans Böckler Foundation) and employers (Stiftung der Deutschen Wirtschaft).



Funding OrganizationPolitical/ ConfessionalInternet Presence
Evangelisches Studienwerk
Ernst Ludwig Ehrlich Studienwerkjü
Stiftung für die Freiheit
Heinrich-Böll-StiftungBündnis 90/die Grü
Stiftung der deutschen
Studienstiftung des
deutschen Volkes

Finding the right Scholarship

  • Finding a Scholarship
  • Lux like Studium - A great support
  • Further Scholarships

Finding the right Scholarship

Finding a Scholarship

If you are interested in a scholarship, you should take the time to research exactly which programmes are best suited to you.

The Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) offers you the Scholarship Guide for this purpose. You can search this extensive database according to various criteria.

Scholarship guide

Lux like Studium - A great support

Lux like Studium is a scholarship programme of the Rosa-Luxemburg-Stiftung that supports, advises and accompanies pupils and prospective students without an academic background on their way to and through their studies.

It is not uncommon for financial difficulties or a lack of information about funding options to be an obstacle on the path to university. The Lux like Studium scholarship programme aims to motivate students to take up a course of study and facilitate access to university.

The scholarship programme
The financial support from the Rosa Luxemburg Foundation gives you the opportunity to concentrate on your studies. In addition to financial support, the Foundation offers a varied accompanying programme with seminars, workshops and personal advice. In this way, you can train skills that are important in everyday university and college life and that will strengthen you in your studies.

Socio-political issues are discussed and jointly reflected upon in thematic events and possible courses of action for social change are developed.

The foundation also offers educational trips in Germany and abroad so that you can think outside the box. Together with other scholarship holders, you have the opportunity to exchange experiences and network!

Scholarship: Lux like study

Further Scholarships

In addition to the major funding organisations, there are numerous other foundations to which you can apply. To give you a small insight into the variety of funding priorities, we would like to introduce you to a few scholarship providers and programmes.

Career advancement scholarship
If you want to start a first degree programme from your professional practice, you may be interested in the advancement scholarship from the "Stiftung Begabtenförderung beruflicher Aufstieg".

The foundation is funded from the budget of the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) and aims to enable professionally qualified people to study at university and increase the permeability between vocational and academic education.

If you are studying full-time, you will receive an income-independent grant of 735 euros plus an 80 euro book allowance. You can also receive a childcare allowance for children under the age of ten. The childcare allowance is 130 euros per child. The grant is a lump sum and is therefore independent of income.

Advancement Scholarship

Dr Arthur Pfungst Foundation
Under the motto "Education is not a privilege, but a fundamental right", the Dr Arthur Pfungst Foundation supports students who would not be able to complete their studies without financial assistance. Prerequisites for funding are good to very good grades, straightforwardness and goal-orientation. If your application is successful, you will receive financial support depending on your personal situation. It is also possible to apply for a book scholarship.

State scholarship
At Leuphana and other universities in Lower Saxony, you can apply for so-called state scholarships at irregular intervals. These scholarships consist of a one-off payment of 500 euros.

In the last round of funding, students who were the first in their family to study, who were able to demonstrate special social reasons or who were involved in voluntary and social work were particularly targeted. You will be informed about future state scholarships on the websites of the universities in Lower Saxony.

State scholarship