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Study in Germany

Political scholarship foundations

Supporting international students is also in the interests of German political parties. They recognize that those who have studied here establish strong ties to German companies and organizations.

Three pigs painted in Germany's colors

Political foundations look for students that are going to make a difference

Political foundations look not just for great grades but also for social engagement. In turn, those selected for a scholarship can expect more than material support. Political foundations often offer special training and supervision programs to help advance students' education and careers.

The Konrad Adenauer Foundation is closely affiliated with the Christian Democratic Union party in Germany. Students from abroad have the opportunity to receive financial support while either earning a German degree, completing postgraduate studies or earning a doctorate. The foundation expects that those it selects will take on responsibility in a range of fields within the public and social spheres in their home countries. However, the foundation does not support those studying medicine or those studying at a university of applied science.

The Friedrich Ebert Foundation is associated with Germany's Social Democratic Party and supports undergraduate and graduate students pursuing a degree or doctorate program at German universities. Undergraduate applicants must have already begun their studies at the time of application, while graduate students just need to demonstrate that they've been accepted at a university. Applications from abroad are not accepted, and good German skills are a requirement.

The foundation offers up to 40 scholarships annually, particularly to students from countries in Africa, Asia, Latin America and Central and Eastern Europe.

The Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom is associated with Germany's Free Democratic Party and offers support to foreign students for a first degree or for two years of postgraduate studies. Scholarships for PhD candidates also exist, provided the doctoral dissertation deals with a topic of social and scholarly significance.

Excellence in the chosen field, reliability, motivation, and the willingness to take on social responsibility are the most important criteria. Social and political engagement for causes associated with classical liberalism is also desired. The foundation seeks students that will use the knowledge they acquire in Germany to improve conditions in their home countries upon returning.

The Heinrich Boell Foundation is affiliated with the Green Party in Germany and concentrates its work in the areas of democracy, ecology, international solidarity and nonviolence.

It offers 80 to 100 annual scholarships and gives aid to accomplished and socially engaged German and international students in a variety of fields. Applicants are asked to demonstrate their willingness to take on responsibility and their commitment to the organization's goals.

Those who want to apply for a scholarship must be enrolled at a German university and have completed the first portion of their studies. Students pursuing a doctorate or other graduate credential must demonstrate they have been admitted to a program.

The Hanns Seidel Foundation is associated with the Christian Social Union party in Bavaria, a sister party to the national Christian Democratic Party. The foundation supports highly-qualified postgraduate students (up to 32 years of age) with excellent grades, strong German skills and a record of socio-political engagement.

The foundation expects applicants to share a Christian worldview. Applicants from abroad can get more information from the Hanns Seidel Foundation's partner organizations abroad.


The Rosa Luxemburg Foundation is a political education institution affiliated with Germany's Left Party. Its goals include promoting democratic decision-making and social justice.

For more than 10 years, the foundation has offered support to foreign students pursuing a degree or doctorate in Germany. High academic achievement and strong social and political engagement in accord with the organization's goals are important, and preference is given to women and disabled students, provided their credentials are on par with other applicants. Preference is also given to students in scientific and technical fields, as well as in engineering.

The Hans Boeckler Foundation is associated with the German Federation of Trade Unions and also offers support to socially engaged students. One of the organization's goals is promoting the exchange of knowledge between scholars, unions and workers. The foundation looks for students that have shown academic achievement but who are also unable to finance their studies themselves. Those who worked prior to starting their degrees have particularly good chances at receiving a scholarship.


Author: Claudia Unseld (gsw)
Editor: Kate Bowen

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