FAQ – Frequently asked questions
How much funding is available and who provides it?
The Germany Scholarship is worth €300 per month. The first half of the total amount, €150, is covered by private sponsors, such as companies, foundations, alumni, and other private persons. The remaining €150 is covered by the Federal Government. The Germany Scholarship is paid to scholarship holders by Universität Hamburg on a monthly basis. Funding is provided for a minimum of two semesters and is not need-based.
What is the maximum duration of financial support for scholarship holders?
Holders of the Germany Scholarship should have the chance to receive financial support as long as possible so that they may concentrate on their studies. Normally, funding is awarded for a minimum of two semesters and continues until completion of the regular period of study. At the end of every year, the university reviews whether scholarship holders are still eligible for funding.
Does funding have to be paid back?
No. In contrast to BAföG (funding from the federal student loan scheme), the Germany Scholarship does not have to be paid back.
Which degree programs are eligible?
As a rule, students of any degree program at a state or state-recognized university are eligible for funding. This includes second degree and supplementary degree programs, master degree programs, and part-time / dual programs (cooperative work-study degree programs).
Who decides on the selection criteria for potential scholarship holders?
Please see the corresponding guidelines on legal provisions. All other details are to be decided by the individual universities.
Is there a legal obligation to offer the Germany Scholarship?
No. Every university decides for itself whether or not to offer the Germany Scholarship. The Germany Scholarship will be introduced to Universität Hamburg in winter semester 2014–15. Scholarship holders will be selected by University committees on the basis of set criteria. The University is required to adhere to the legal provisions during the selection process.
How is “material support” defined in the context of the Germany Scholarship?
“Material support” is defined as financial aid or payments in kind. Awards which may have a monetary value but that are primarily educational and otherwise too expensive for scholarship holders are considered non-material, for example newspaper subscriptions. Financial aid to pay for an Internet connection, however, would be considered material support.
Are students in part-time degree programs also eligible for Germany Scholarship funding? If so, does anything change in terms of the amount awarded or the duration of the funding period?
Part-time students are also eligible for the Germany Scholarship. The value of the scholarship remains the same as for full-time students, i.e., €300. Financial support may continue only until completion of each part-time degree program, providing candidates remain eligible.
Application and selection procedure
How to apply
Students can apply via the online application form on the Germany Scholarship homepage or submit a paper application. First-year students meeting all requirements may apply upon enrollment.
Can prospective students apply while waiting to be admitted through the Stiftung für Hochschulzulassung (Foundation for Higher Education Admissions)?
For places allocated centrally, universities may not conduct a scholarship selection procedure before applicants have been admitted and accepted their place.
Is prior academic performance at school and/or university decisive?
Prior academic performance at school and/or university is an important criteria for assessing an applicant's academic potential and talent.
However, scholarship candidates are also selected based on criteria such as activity in clubs, politics, or the church and whether they are raising children, caring for family members, helping out in a parent's business, or dealing with special personal obstacles. These are all important factors which will affect the decision.
An applicant's overall personality and potential for success is therefore relevant during the application and selection process.
Who selects applicants?
A final decision will be made by the selection committee of Universität Hamburg.
Is it possible to receive additional support concurrently?
This will be decided pending review of the value and type of scholarship. As a general rule, students who are already receiving at least €30 worth of merit- or achievement based material support per month are not eligible for a Germany Scholarship.
Please consult our PDF, accessible in German only, for a detailed overview of other scholarships permitted in addition to the Germany Scholarship.
Is it possible to hold a DAAD Scholarship and the Germany Scholarship at the same time?
Full DAAD scholarship holders may not benefit from a Germany Scholarship at the same time, since both scholarships are based on merit or achievement. However, you may put the Germany Scholarship on hold while receiving a full DAAD scholarship. In case of a partial scholarship from the DAAD, you may continue to receive funding from the Germany Scholarship.
What about University funding programs? Do they qualify as dual support and lead to exclusion?
If funding constitutes merit- or achievement-based material support, soft skills courses, interdisciplinary pursuits, or mentoring programs may also be funded.
Social benefits and living expenses
Does the scholarship count towards funding from the German Federal Education and Training Assistance Act (Bundesausbildungsförderungsgesetz, BAföG)?
No. Funding under the German Federal Education and Training Assistance Act and the Germany Scholarship are two complementary programs. Students may benefit from both funding options at the same time, without deductions.
However, accumulated scholarship funds are subject to the standard principles of capital accounting. That is, scholarship funding does not increase the €5,200 exemption limit.
Can a Germany Scholarship offset social benefits other than BAföG?
No. The Germany Scholarship generally does not count against other social benefits such as German unemployment benefits paid after the initial period of unemployment (Arbeitslosengeld II). One exception is the housing benefit.
Is it possible to receive housing benefits at the same time as the Germany Scholarship?
Yes. However, recipients of housing benefits need to remember that half of the amount received from the Germany Scholarship, just like other scholarships, counts towards annual income. For further questions about scholarships and housing benefits, please contact your local housing benefits office.
Does the Germany Scholarship affect my eligibility for a maintenance claim on my parents?
Yes. The Germany Scholarship will mitigate your maintenance claim. Students who are of age must support themselves independently, before they can claim for further parental support. The Germany Scholarship will be counted as the scholarship holders' own income.
Does the Germany Scholarship affect my eligibility for child benefit?
Since 1 January 2012, all earnings of adult children, including the Germany Scholarship, are exempt from being counted towards child benefits. In accordance with the 2011 Tax Simplification Act (Steuervereinfachungsgesetz 2011), the means of children who are of age will not be assessed before their completion of a first vocational training or degree.
For further information, please refer to the following publication of the German Federal Ministry of Finance (BMF) on Section 32(4) Income Tax Act (EStG ) dated 7 December 2011.
Leave of absence, travel, and hiatus
What happens to the Germany Scholarship if I take a leave of absence?
Scholarship funding is not paid during a leave of absence, for example due to statutory maternity leave, parental leave, or illness. Once studies have been resumed, the funding period will be extended by the period of absence. Different rules apply to internships.
Will the Germany Scholarship continue to be paid during a leave of absence for an internship that is beneficial to my academic program?
We distinguish between mandatory internships in Germany or abroad and other internships. Mandatory internships in Germany are part of the degree program and do not compromise any scholarship claims. Internships abroad are treated similarly, as long as the respective academic regulations for the degree program require them; in this case, they may be considered “subject related stays abroad.”
Should a scholarship holder apply for a leave of absence not provided for in the respective academic regulations, then no scholarship payments are made during this period.
Does the Germany Scholarship continue to be paid during temporary studies abroad, for example via the ERASMUS-program?
The Germany Scholarship may continue to be paid if the program abroad is relevant to the degree subject. The student must go abroad within the funding period.
This is true regardless of a potential leave of absence from the university awarding the scholarship. Students who study abroad via the ERASMUS-program will also continue to receive funding from the Germany Scholarship if they are also receiving a travel allowance for scholarship holders by the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD).
Tax and insurance matters
Is my Germany Scholarship taxable?
In accordance with the Scholarship Program Act (Stipendienprogramm-Gesetz, StipG) the Germany Scholarship is generally not considered tax or social security-relevant income. Certain exceptions may apply within the framework of private, state-recognized universities. For further details, please contact the respective university.
Does the Germany Scholarship affect my statutory health insurance rate?
The Germany Scholarship does not affect contributions to health insurance for as long as scholarship holders are members of the statutory insurance plan. Usually, until they have completed the 14th subject semester or reached the age of 30. In case the scholarship holder subsequently opts to become a voluntary member of the statutory health insurance, different regulations will apply. German legislation requires payment of a fixed minimum contribution. This contribution is currently calculated on an assessment basis of €875. If the assessable income, including scholarship funding exceeds this amount, all excess income will factor in establishing the payable health insurance rate.