General information and options for financing studies

Normally the job centers in the region finance the living expenses of recognized refugees during German courses that prepare them for university. However, each case must be clarified individually.

In addition, the Otto Benecke Foundation's Garantie Fonds Hochschule provides offers and support refugees during study preparation.

Refugees can apply for BaföG or scholarships just like German students.

Outside of this, there are few scholarship programs that explicitly target students with refugee experience. Examples are:


Students at Risk - Hilde Domin-Programme

The German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) offers the scholarship programme "Hilde Domin Programme" with funds from the Federal Foreign Office (AA). The programme aims to support students and doctoral candidates at risk worldwide, who are formally or de facto denied the right to education in their country of origin, to take up or continue their studies in Germany in order to obtain a degree or doctorate at a German higher education institution.
The students and doctoral candidates nominated and selected within the framework of the programme are enrolled in degree programmes of their personal choice and individual qualifications and receive a scholarship to cover the necessary costs of the study or research stay.
The long-term goal of the scholarship programme is to enable students and doctoral candidates to study at a university or to spend a research period in a safe environment.
in a safe environment, so that they can make an important contribution to political, economic and social development in their countries of origin (or in Germany or third countries) after completing their studies or research project. All scholarship programme sponsors receive further interdisciplinary training in an accompanying programme in the social sciences in order to increase their prospects for the free development of their personality and their contribution to society.

Students and doctoral candidates worldwide* who are demonstrably at risk of being formally or de facto denied the right to education in their country of origin on the basis of their ethnic, sexual, gender or religious identity or their political or civic engagement. According to the DAAD definition, political, civic and similar engagement includes either membership in groups or individual actions that are based on liberal democratic principles and strive to contribute to positive social change.

*Excluded are the following countries: EU/EEA/EFTA countries as well as Andorra, Monaco, San Marino and the United Kingdom.

Potential candidates cannot apply for the scholarship programme on their own, but are nominated. Students as well as doctoral candidates from all disciplines with the exception of human medicine, dentistry and veterinary medicine may be nominated,

•    who can prove or credibly demonstrate to the nominating institution a threat to their personal well-being or safety (e.g. physical violence, arrest, denial of civil and educational rights, etc.)
•    who are in possession of educational certificates that allow access to a higher education institution and guarantee the completion of an intended course of study or research project according to the anabin database
•    who, at the time of the application deadline, are staying abroad or, in principle, have not stayed in Germany for longer than 15 months.

Important notice:
Nominations for the disciplines Fine Arts, Performing Arts, Design, Visual Communication, Music, Film and Architecture require university admission by the application deadline.

The duration of the funding is usually for a

•   Bachelor's degree: up to 48 months (12 months Studienkolleg, up to 36 months Bachelor's degree)
•    Master's degree: up to 24 months
•    Doctoral degree: up to 48 months

Important notice:
Please note that funding for a double degree (i.e. a second Bachelor's, Master's or doctoral degree) is not provided.

The scholarship benefits include

•    a monthly scholarship instalment of 861 EUR for Bachelor and Master students or 1,200 EUR for doctoral students
•    health, nursing care, accident and personal liability insurance
•    a subsidy for travel expenses, based on the country of origin or current country of residence
•    Participation in an upstream German language course (two, four or six months), depending on the language skills acquired to date and the language skills required for the intended study or doctoral project.
•   other additional services

Potential candidates cannot apply for the Hilde Domin Programme on their own, but are nominated by the management (presidiums/rectorates) of an institution or organisation which is a legal entity based in Germany and which carries out an activity in the field of science, research and teaching and/or the protection of human rights, the promotion of democracy, the rule of law or the promotion of peace.
All nominations are formally made by the respective nominating institutions and organisations.

The further steps are coordinated by the DAAD.


Candidates are eligible to apply,

•    who are of age at the time of nomination (usually at least 18 years old)
•    who, with a Bachelor's degree as their study objective, have a higher education entrance qualification by the closing date for applications
•    who have a recognised Bachelor's degree (or comparable) by the start of their scholarship with the aim of studying for a Master's degree
•    who have a recognised Master's degree (or comparable) by the start of their scholarship with the aim of studying for a doctorate
•    whose last enrolment at a foreign higher education institution or higher education entrance qualification for a Bachelor's degree programme, or whose last higher education degree for a Master's degree programme or doctorate at the time of application was generally no more than two years ago
•    who are demonstrably at risk of being formally or de facto denied the right to education in their country of origin due to their ethnic, sexual, gender or religious identity or their political or civic commitment.

Nominations of suitable candidates by nominating institutions and organisations can be submitted online at any time.
Access to the DAAD portal is open to formally eligible candidates during the application period.
The following periods and deadlines apply for nominations and applications:

    Planned start of studies summer semester 2025 (without guarantee)

        Internal applications (notification to the IO/SuCS): 03.03.2024
        Nominations (of the applications received by the DAAD): until 15.03.2024
        Announcement of results: as of 27.06.2024

    Planned start of studies: winter semester 2025/26

        Internal applications (notification to the IO/SuCS): 03.09.2024
        Nominations (of the applications received by the DAAD): until 15.09.2024
        Announcement of results: from January 2025

    Applicants who already have sufficient German language skills and do not have to take part in a preceding language course can be funded one semester earlier if necessary.

    If no application is received within the application period, the respective person would have to be nominated again at the next deadline.  
    Applications submitted through other channels or via other offices cannot be considered. Incomplete applications cannot be considered either. Applicants are responsible for the completeness of their applications.
    Important notice:
    Please note that applying for a visa and preparing for departure is the responsibility of the scholarship holder. The DAAD as the scholarship provider will provide a basis for this through the funding documents. The arrangement of appointments at the foreign representations, acceleration of procedures, booking of flights and provision of logistical services as well as security services are fundamentally outside the DAAD's mandate and sphere of influence. A systematic special treatment of scholarship holders of the Hilde Domin Programme can therefore not be guaranteed.

    Thank you for your interest.
    Unfortunately, it is currently not possible to apply for this programme.
    The next round will start on April 17th 2023.


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