Generally, German citizens, citizens of EU or EEA countries, most refugees and students who obtained their higher education entrance qualification (normally the “Abitur”) in Germany or who have obtained a similar qualification from a German school in another country do not have to pay any tuition fees. Moreover, PhD/doctorate students are not liable to pay tuition fee.
Also exempt are students who have built a solid personal relationship to Germany. Basically, there are several exceptions from the liability of paying tuition fees (§ 5 LHGebG). For example
- family members (partner, spouse and children) of EU or EEA citizens according to §3 of the law of freedom of movement and mobility of the European Union (§ 3 Freizügigkeitsgesetz/EU)
- foreigners holding a settlement permission (Niederlassungserlaubnis) or a permanent residency permit (Erlaubnis zum Daueraufenthalt - EU) according to the law on residence (AufenthG).
- refugees living in Germany who are recognized refugees according to the Geneva convention relating to the status of refugees and who are not just temporarily allowed to stay in Germany.
- displaced persons according to the law relating to the status of displaced persons in the Federal Republic of Germany Gesetz über die Rechtsstellung heimatloser Ausländer im Bundesgebiet
- foreigners who are permanent residents in Germany and are holders of a residence permit because of humanitarian reasons, international law, political reasons, family reasons or other reasons offering a fair chance to be granted permanent residency (e.g. persons eligible for asylum, recognized refugees according to the Geneva convention relating to the status of refugees and/or in case of subsequent immigration of family members of German citizens or those foreigners with settlement permissions in Germany). This rule applies to all persons who have §§ 22, 23 Absatz 1, 2 oder 4, §§ 23a, 25 Absatz 1 oder 2, §§ 25a, 25b, 28, 37, 38 Absatz 1 Satz 1 Nummer 2 or according to § 104a AufenthG or persons who have a residence permit according §§ 30 oder 32 bis 34 AufenthG because thy are either spouses or partners of foreigners already holding a settlement permission in Germany.
- foreigners residing permanently in Germany who are holders of a residence permit according to § 25 Absatz 3 oder 4 Satz 2 oder Absatz 5 or § 31 AufenthG or who hold a residence permit according to §§ 30 oder 32 bis 34 AufenthG as a spouse, partner or child and have uninterruptedly been staying in Germany legally (or tolerated) for at least 15 months.
- foreigners with exceptional leave to remain (§ 60a AufenthG), with permanent residency in Germany and an uninterrupted legit (or tolerated) stay in Germany for at least 15 months.
- foreigners who have been living in Germany for a total of 5 years and who have been part of the local (and legal) labour force
- children of foreigners who have been in Germany for a total of three years in the past six years preceding the beginning of their children’s studies and have also been a part of the local labour force.
Reasons for an exmption from tuition fees are also (§ 6 LHGebG):
- during a leave of absence according to § 61 LHG, if the request was filed before the start of the lecture period
- during the year of practical medical training according to § 1 Absatz 2 Satz 1 Nummer 1 der Approbationsordnung für Ärzte.
- during a practical semester in your study programme according to § 29 Absatz 3 Satz 2 LHG.
- students with exceptional leave to remain according to § 55 Absatz 1 Asylgesetz who are citizens of a country that has been classified by the federal office for migration and refugees with a quota of protection of 50 or more per cent based on statements from the federal ministry of the interior. Currently, the list of countries comprises Eritrea, Iraq, Iran, Syria and Somalia.
- disabled students whose disability is severely inhibiting their studies according to § 2 des Neunten Buches Sozialgesetzbuch are exempt from tuition fees.
The Ministry of Science, Research and the Arts Baden-Württemberg (MWK BW) can plan for further exemptions and reductions of tuition fees by further law bills. However, currently no such law bills are in existence