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Private scholarships

September 30, 2010

Funds for studying aren't just available from universities and the government. Private foundations and church-affiliated groups offer support to students - often with specific target groups and goals in mind.

EU currency
More scholarships exist for international students from the EU than from elsewhereImage: picture-alliance/dpa

Many non-political foundations in Germany offer scholarships to qualified students. Below is an overview of some of the foundations, which are financed by sources ranging from German companies, to scholarly organizations, churches and private individuals.

German National Academic Foundation

Students who earn a scholarship from the German National Academic Foundation graduate with excellent career opportunities, partly due to the additional seminars and internship opportunities available. The foundation is rich in tradition and prestige. Previously, those considered for a scholarship had to be nominated by a high school teacher or principal. As of 2010, students can also apply without a nomination. The foundation offers funding to students in their first or second semester of studies. Applicants must be from Germany or have completed a high school degree in the country. Students from other EU member states are also eligible to apply. For those who apply independently, a test is administered, and the highest scorers are invited back for interviews along with the candidates recommended by teachers. Political, social and religious views play no role in the selection process.

Rochus und Beatrice Mummert Foundation

The Rochus and Beatrice Mummert Foundation supports future managers specifically from central and south-eastern Europe. The yearly program targets high-potential individuals in the fields of economics and engineering, and the intent is to offer students an excellent educational opportunity to prepare them to take on high-level management responsibilities in companies and public organizations.

Otto Benecke Foundation: Refugees and asylum-seekers

The Otto Benecke Foundation offers education and scholarship programs to refugees, German repatriates and those who have received asylum in Germany. The non-profit organization was founded in 1965 and assists the students it selects with planning their education and starting their careers alongside the financial support it offers.

Fulbright Commission: German-American exchange

The Fulbright Program was founded in the US to promote exchange between Americans and people from more than 180 countries worldwide. The German-American arm of the program is the largest and most diverse. Student exchanges are the core of the program, along with year-long stipends for professors, teachers and foreign language assistants.

Evangelisches Studienwerk e.V. Villigst (Evangelical Scholarship Program)

The Evangelisches Studienwerk is affiliated with Germany's Evangelical churches and offers support to gifted students from all disciplines, but not at the master's level. Students from EU member states and states associated with the EU in eastern and central Europe may apply. Students who receive funding are asked to get involved with various areas of the organization.

Evangelischer Entwicklungsdienst (Church Development Service)

The Church Development Service is another project supported by Germany's Evangelical churches. Each year, it sponsors around 1,500 projects and programs worldwide, and the organization offers scholarships to experienced individuals from developing countries to advance their education or earn doctorates. The aim is for scholarship winners to deepen the knowledge they've gained at home through praxis in order to help fight poverty. In some cases, the Service offers support to individuals who want to do work or research in developing countries.

Cusanuswerk: support for Catholic students

The Catholic Church in Germany also supports outstanding Catholic students of all disciplines. Alongside the financial support, there is an expansive, interdisciplinary program that promotes leadership and communication skills among selected students. Foreign students can apply, provided they belong to an EU member state, are Catholic and have strong grades in the subject they wish to pursue.

Foundation of German Business

The Foundation of German Business offers support to students from any discipline and at any educational level, including doctoral students. The scholarships are financed by federal funds, and the foundation works together with other important bodies like the German Research Association (Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft), the Max Planck Society, the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation and the German Academic Exchange Service. Foreign students from an EU country or Switzerland can apply, along with immigrants to Germany who have received an unlimited residence permit. Those interested in a doctorate, however, can apply from any country.

Author: Gaby Reucher (gsw)
Editor: Kate Bowen