TUM charges “Tuition Fees” for International Students

Learn all about the tuition fees for international students at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) in this comprehensive guide. Discover why TUM charges tuition fees, who is exempt from paying them, how much they cost, and what they are used for. Get ready to embark on your study abroad adventure with confidence and clarity!

TUM charges “Tuition Fees” for International Students
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Sep 5, 2023 10:05 AM
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After a decade of tuition-free education in the Free State of Bavaria, the Technical University of Munich (TUM) is making headlines by reintroducing tuition fees, but with a unique twist. This time, the prices are directed towards students coming from countries outside the European Union (EU). This transformative change was confirmed by TUM's President Thomas Hofmann in a recent conversation with the Süddeutsche Zeitung. Let's delve into the details and implications of this decision that's set to impact the educational landscape.

Why TUM Charges Tuition Fees

In early 2023, Bavarian universities received a notable mandate through the 'Higher Education Innovation Act': the ability to levy tuition fees on non-European Union (EU) students. This change has been embraced solely by the Technical University of Munich (TUM), with the Technical University of Deggendorf showing similar intentions.

The Need for Funding

To maintain these high research, teaching, infrastructure, and student support standards, TUM relies on public funding mechanisms within Germany and the European Union (EU). However, these mechanisms are primarily designed for students within the German educational system or EU citizens. International students from third countries who are not part of this system are charged tuition fees.

Who Has to Pay Tuition Fees

Now that we understand the "why," let's delve into the "who." Who exactly has to pay tuition fees at TUM? The rule of thumb is that all international students from third countries will be subject to tuition fees starting from the winter semester of 2024/25 if they enrol in a new degree program at TUM. However, there are several exceptions to this rule, and here's where you may find yourself exempt from the obligation to pay fees:
  • Current TUM Students: If you are already enrolled in your degree program at TUM before the winter semester of 2024/25, you are in luck. You won't have to pay tuition fees for your ongoing studies in this degree program.
  • German Education Graduates: If you acquired your higher education entrance qualification within the German education system, such as the Abitur, or completed a degree program with a standard period of study of at least six semesters at a German university, you are exempt from tuition fees. The final examination at the Studienkolleg does not count as a German university entrance qualification.
  • Specific Citizenship: Citizens of Germany, all countries in the EEA (EU + Iceland, Liechtenstein, and Norway), and countries with corresponding agreements are not required to pay tuition fees.
  • Established Domestic Connection: If you've resided in Germany for a total of at least five years before beginning your studies, or if at least one of your parents has been in Germany for a total of at least three years during the last six years and has been regularly employed, you are exempt.
  • Exceptional Cases: Students with disabilities, asylum seekers, doctoral students, guest students, students attending the Studienkolleg (preparatory course), students in exchange programs based on corresponding regulations, and students in degree programs leading to a state examination, module studies, or other studies are also exempt from paying the tuition fees.

Tuition Fee Amounts

You're curious about how much these tuition fees amount to. Well, you're in luck because we've got the details. TUM tuition fees are based on the subject you choose to study and are typically announced in October of each year for both Bachelor's and Master's degree programs.
  • Bachelor's Programs: For Bachelor's programs, the tuition fee per semester will usually fall in the range of 2,000 to 3,000 euros. This amount is your investment in a top-notch education and the world-class resources TUM offers.
  • Master's Programs: As for Master's programs, the tuition fee per semester typically ranges from 4,000 to 6,000 euros. It's a bit higher than Bachelor's programs, reflecting the specialized nature of Master's education.
However, it's essential to remember that these tuition fees are not the only costs you'll encounter. In addition to tuition, you'll also be required to pay the respective semester fees. These fees vary, so check the specific costs for your program.

When Do Tuition Fees Apply

Now that you know what to expect regarding costs, let's clarify when these tuition fees come into play. Tuition fees for international students from third countries will be charged from the winter semester of 2024/25 onwards for new enrollment in a degree program at TUM. This means that if you're starting your studies at TUM from this point forward, you should be prepared for tuition fees.
But here's the good news: if you're already enrolled in a degree program at TUM before the introduction of the tuition fees, you won't have to pay them for your ongoing studies in that program. TUM values its current students and wants to ensure their educational journey remains uninterrupted.

What Tuition Fees Are Used For

TUM's President, Thomas Hofmann, justifies this move by stating that the university is in a competitive race to attract the best global talent. To maintain high teaching standards and invest in education, TUM requires additional funding that cannot be solely provided by state resources. Here's a breakdown of what your tuition fees support:
  • Teaching Staff and Supervision: Your fees help in maintaining a talented pool of teaching staff and personnel for the adequate supervision of students.
  • Equipment and Learning Spaces: TUM strives to provide state-of-the-art equipment and optimal learning spaces to enhance your educational experience.
  • Teaching Formats and Materials: Funds go into creating innovative teaching formats and providing essential learning materials.
  • Student Services and Advisory Services: You'll benefit from comprehensive student services and advisory services designed to support your academic journey.
  • Infrastructure Expansion: TUM continues to expand its infrastructure to ensure your stay at the university is comfortable and conducive to learning.
In essence, your tuition fees pave the way for your personal growth and contribute to the overall excellence of education at TUM.

Other Universities

While the Technical University of Munich (TUM) has taken the lead in reintroducing tuition fees for non-European Union (EU) students, other major universities in Munich are cautious. As confirmed by a spokesperson, the Ludwig Maximilian University, with over 52,000 students and a notable percentage from non-EU countries, currently has no intentions of imposing such fees. Bavarian universities, in general, are engaged in discussions on this matter, contemplating the potential impact and implications.
Similarly, the University of Applied Sciences Munich, with around 18,500 students and a significant portion from non-EU countries, has no immediate plans to introduce fees for non-EU students. They are open to considering fee-based education in the future, possibly for specific programs like language courses. As the situation evolves, these institutions are carefully evaluating their options and the needs of their diverse student bodies.


In conclusion, Germany's bold step forward in introducing tuition fees for non-EU students could reshape its global education reputation. It's worth watching to see if other universities will adopt TUM's approach. While it may present challenges for some international students, it is a necessary step to maintain and enhance the quality of education at TUM. By investing in teaching staff, infrastructure, and student services, TUM aims to continue attracting the best global talent and providing a world-class education.


Q: Why is TUM reintroducing tuition fees for non-EU students?
A: The decision to reintroduce tuition fees for non-European Union (EU) students at TUM stems to maintaining and enhancing the quality of education. To achieve this, additional investments are needed, which cannot be solely covered by state resources.
Q: When will the tuition fees come into effect?
A: Starting from the winter semester of 2024/2025, non-EU students enrolling in new degree programs at TUM will be required to pay tuition fees. Current students enrolled before this period will not be affected and will continue their studies without tuition fees.
Q: How much are the tuition fees for international students at TUM?
A: Tuition fees for non-EU international students vary based on the program. For bachelor's programs, fees range from 2,000 to 3,000 euros per semester, while master's programs range from 4,000 to 6,000 euros per semester.
Q: Are there any exemptions from paying tuition fees?
A: Yes, certain groups of students are exempt from paying tuition fees, including those who have acquired their higher education entrance qualification within the German education system, students with citizenship from specific countries or regions, students with established domestic connections, doctoral students, and more. It's important to check the specific criteria for exemptions.
Q: What happens to the revenue generated from tuition fees?
A: The funds generated from tuition fees are exclusively allocated to improving teaching quality and educational infrastructure, benefiting all students. This includes investments in teaching staff, equipment, learning spaces, teaching formats, student services, and infrastructure.
Q: Are scholarships available for international students to offset tuition costs?
A: Yes, TUM offers waiver scholarships for up to 20 percent of students who face special hardship due to social or family reasons. Additionally, strong academic performance may be considered for scholarship awards. More details on scholarships are typically provided by TUM.
Q: How do other Munich universities respond to these changes?
A: While TUM is taking the lead in reintroducing tuition fees, other major Munich universities, such as Ludwig Maximilian University and the University of Applied Sciences Munich, have varying responses. Some have no immediate plans to introduce non-EU fees, while others are in discussions to evaluate potential impacts and needs.

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