Studying abroad with financial support from the Bundesausbildungsförderungsgesetz - BAföG (Federal Training Support Act)

BAföG (Bundesausbildungsförderungsgesetz) financial aid for a study abroad is not restricted to students who already receive BAföG for their studies in Germany. Because of the higher rates for studying abroad, students who normally are above the threshold for BAföG due to their parents' income could possibly be funded by BAföG for a study abroad.


You can apply for BAföG funding for studying abroad (min. 12 weeks, max. 12 months) and for completing a compulsory internship abroad (min. 12 weeks, max. 12 months) - this is valid for all countries world-wide.

Additionally, a complete course of study abroad (Bachelor or Master) can be funded - in this case, only for a European contry or Switzerland.

Financial Benefits

The amount of the financial support depends partially upon the income of the student's parents.  Please contact the BAföG Office (see below) for more detailed information. We are only able to provide a general overview of BAföG because the regulations are sometimes very complicated for each individual case.  


Tuition Abroad

BAföG will cover study abroad tuition fees (worldwide) for up to 4600 euros if needed. For example, you could receive financial support if you organized your study abroad independently (this would make you a so-called "free-mover"). According to current regulations, this form of BAföG financial support is a grant and therefore does not need to be paid back. 



General Benefits

The following benefits are granted half in the form of a grant and half as an interest-free loan for a study abroad (worldwide):

  • Traveling costs for a one-time roundtrip.
  • Where applicable, benefits for health insurance. 
  • An additional monthly rate (Auslandszuschlag), depending on the country. 


Important Tip:

It is also possible for Master students to apply for the study abroad-BAföG if they have also received BAföG for a study abroad during their bachelor studies. A student can take advantage of  study abroad-BAföG twice (max. 12 months in Bachelor studies and max. 12 months during the Master studies).



Responsible BAföG Office

Although you can receive general information concerning BAföG at the Mannheim BAföG Office, this office is not responsible for the specific study abroad-BAföG.  The applications for the study abroad-BAföG are processed nationwide in 17 Studentenwerk BAföG offices that are responsible for specific regions. You can find an overview here.


You should submit your application for the study abroad-BAföG several months before the commencement of your study abroad in order to ensure that the financial support is available on time.  



More information can be found on the official BAföG website: http://www.bafoeg.bmbf.de/.



Combination with other means of funding.

Financial aid from other public institutions (for example from Erasmus, Promos, DAAD, Baden-Württemberg Stipendium, Deutschland Stipendium) amounting up to 300 euros do not affect the study abroad-BAföG. However, financial aid from private sources have different regulations. Students who have received financial aid from the Organization for the Promotion of Young Talent ("Begabtenförderungswerke") are excluded from receiving BAföG. Please contact the BAföG Office for specific information.



Regulations for attaining host country language skills

Depending on the programme through which your study abroad semester is organized, the BAföG office not only requires proof of your language ability for the course language, but also for a basic knowledge of the local language.  This often poses a problem for countries with languages that are not often taught in school (e.g. South Korea, Thailand). Students who apply for the study abroad-BAföG and who complete their semester abroad as part of the Erasmus-Programmes, DAAD Scholarship or Scholarship from the Fulbright Commission, must not prove basic knowledge of the local language. All students who go abroad as a Free Mover or via a partner/state programme, should ask about the individual policy at the relevant BAföG office (see link to the 17 responsible offices located above in the text).

In case a basic knowledge of the local language is necessary, you have the following options:

a) Acquisition of the language before beginning your semester abroad

- A course with Studium Generale (e.g. Swedish, Dutch, Polish,...) or at any other night school

b) Obtain the language while studying abroad:
It is possible to obtain knowledge of the language when you arrive at the host university. Almost all universities offer language courses for exchange students at the beginning of the semester. In order to receive BAföG, a student's language skills must correspond at least to level A1 of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages.  The proof of language skills can be submitted directly following the completion of the language course. This document may be submitted informally, but it must prove that the language skills were acquired within the first 2 months of the beginning of the study abroad. Your monthly payments from BAföG are made "with reservations" until you submit the proof of language skills. 


You can find more detailed information under http://www.das-neue-bafoeg.de. (>Einzelfragen der Förderung>Auslandsförderung).

(Last Update: May 2011)


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