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Anyone who embarks on academic studies must give thought to the matter of how to finance this period in their lives. Of course, there is always the option of making some extra money with a side job as student employee at the University or in an enterprise. However, there are also many other possibilities, of which we would like to name a few here.


Students whose parents cannot afford to pay for their studies may apply for BAföG support – government funds granted under the German Federal Law on Support in Education (Bundesausbildungsförderungsgesetz – BAföG). The BAföG Office (officially: Amt für Ausbildungsförderung) is based at the public student-service organisation Kölner Studierendenwerk. For more information on BAföG and pertinent calculation examples, please visit the webpages of the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research or see under .

Academic Foundations and Scholarships

As a rule, the advantage of financial support granted by academic foundations – vis-à-vis loans, credits and BAföG – is that it need not be repaid. Such grants, however, are generally subject to application procedures with highly varied eligibility requirements, depending on the foundation. The best way to go is to enquire directly at the websites of the respective scholarship institutions. The University of Cologne has created a specific portal with an overview of university foundations, and also offers the option of applying for a scholarship under the NRW grant programme: NRW-Stipendienprogramm. Then there are several pro-university foundations that also afford numerous possibilities for gaining scholarships. For an up-to-date list, please click here. A comprehensive survey of national and international scholarships is moreover available under International students will swiftly find all they need to know on the webpages of the Deutschen Akademischen Austauschdienstes (DAAD).

Graduation loans from the "Studierendenwerke"

The Loan Fund of the Students' Unions in the State of North Rhine-Westphalia e.V. (DAKA) grants an interest-free loan for the final year of studies in case of need. Needy students must be able to prove that they have studied properly and must be in the examination phase. BAföG is not a prerequisite, but other financing possibilities must be exhausted. In order to obtain a student loan for the final year of studies, an application must be submitted which clearly states the described emergency situation. Confirmation of your preparation for the exam (exam registration is not required) as well as a guarantee from a third party (in exceptional cases, a bank guarantee is sufficient) must be enclosed with the application. There are waiting lists for obtaining the loan. Information and advice on the maximum amount and repayment can be obtained from the Kölner Studierendenwerk. You can find your personal contact person here under Finances -> Contact sorted by university and name.

Aid fund of the "Werk"

The "Kölner Studierendenwerk" grants students in financial need and in demonstrably justified cases an interest-free loan (guarantor required). In financial need, students can also apply for a short-term bridging loan of 250 € (guarantor is not required). In addition, the Kölner Studierendenwerk can, in individual cases, grant a subsidy towards uncovered medical costs incurred for medical treatment, dentures and aids. Information and advice is provided by the Psycho-Soziale Beratung of the Kölner Studierendenwerk. Appointments can be made via the secretariat:, Tel. +49 (0)221 168815-0. Information on online and chat counselling can be found here.

Loan AStA

The General Students' Committee (AStA) of the University of Cologne provides financial support for students in need with an interest-free short loan of up to 300 € for one month. The application is submitted to the BAföG and social counselling services of the AStA. Further information on counselling hours can be found here.

Grant from the university communities

The university communities support students in need through no fault of their own, regardless of their religious affiliation, especially if the course or completion of their studies is at risk. As a rule, a one-time, non-repayable grant is awarded. The applications are discussed in a personal counselling interview. In addition, the university communities have a limited contingent of canteen free tables, which are provided by the Studierendenwerk. Further information is available from the Catholic University Parish at or at

The Protestant Student Community primarily supports foreign students from Africa, Asia and Latin America who do not receive scholarships or BAföG in Germany and are in need through no fault of their own. Contact via : Contact person: Mr Klaus Brieskorn,

Education Loan

The Federal Government offers students in advanced stages of education the opportunity to take out a low-interest loan in accordance with the funding regulations of the Federal Ministry of Education and Research. The aim here is to secure and accelerate training that could otherwise be discontinued due to a lack of funds. Funding is provided irrespective of the applicant's assets and income and that of the parents. The available financial framework is limited and is set annually by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research. There is no legal claim to the granting of the education loan. The loan application is to be submitted to the Federal Administrative Office, where it is then checked whether the conditions for granting an education loan are met. Detailed information is available at: . Education Loan Hotline: Tel. +49 (0)228 99358-4492 or by e-mail at:

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