Applying for a student loan from KfW
The Kreditanstalt für Wiederaufbau (KfW) offers a long-term loan by means of its KfW student credit facility. This is intended to help students with the financing of living expenses during their course. For this, the KfW-Förderbank pays the loan amounts monthly in advance.
You can obtain the KfW student loans on the following terms:
- Monthly payment of between 100 euros and 600 euros,
- regardless of income, assets and course of study
- No security is required
- Payment of the loan can take place up to a maximum of 14 semesters
- The repayments start six to a maximum of 23 months following the final loan payment.
- Flexible repayment over a maximum of 25 years.
- Non-scheduled free-of-charge repayment possible in repayment phase.
- Fixed rate interest option in the repayment phase.
Note: The interest rate of the loan is variable. The adjustment to the current capital market interest rates takes place every six months, on 1 April and 1 October. However, a maximum interest rate which is set for a respective term of 15 years at the time of conclusion of the contract may not be exceeded. You can find an overview of the current interest rates on the Internet pages of KfW.
Tip: Please check before making your application as to whether you absolutely need the loan or whether other financing options are available to you (requirements calculator). Please simulate a loan process in order to see what debts you would incur by means of taking out a loan (repayment calculator). Please make enquiries as to whether you can take out a low interest loan from the Federal Government (BaföG state sponsored loan, BaföG bank loan, higher eduction loan).
The KfW Banking Group - Förderbank - Beratungszentrum Frankfurt am Main
The requirements are as follows:
- possess German citizenship or
- are a relative of a German citizen and reside with him or her in Germany. Your citizenship is not of importance.
- are an EU citizen and have been regularly resident in Germany for at least three years
- are a relative of such a person with EU citizenship and are resident in Germany. Your citizenship and duration of your residency in Germany up until now is not of importance.
- are a foreign student with a German education.
- You are studying for a first, second, additional, supplementary, postgraduate, Master's or PhD degree at a state or state-recognised institution of higher education in Germany on a full time or part time basis.
- Distance learning degrees are also possible. In addition, individual semesters abroad can be included, should you continue to be registered at the institution of higher education in Germany.
- You are studying at an institution of higher education which is eligible for support.
- You may not be younger than 18 or over 44 years of age at the time of taking out the loan. Semesters of the current course of study will be taken into account in respect of the maximum age.
KfW does not finance:
- Courses of study at universities of co-operative education or dual universities or
- Courses of study which are completed entirely abroad
You must apply for the KfW student loan. An application form is available for this purpose. On the basis of the entered data, a contractual offer will be produced, which you must print out. This is comprised of parts A, B and C.
With the contractual offer and, if applicable, further forms, you are directed to a sales partner of your choice which participates in the programme.
Sales partners can be accredited credit institutes and students' unions. You can find an overview of the sales partners of your choice which participates in the programme.
- will advise you concerning
- your personal finance requirements
- and the terms of the loan
- will check whether you fulfil the formal application requirements.
You may only sign the automatically produced contractual offer in the presence of an employee of the sales partner.
The sales partner will send the signed contractual offer to KfW in electronic form and by post. Should KfW accept your application, you will receive a written acceptance. Only KfW can take a decision concerning the granting of the loan. The loan account at KfW is then only managed via the online loan portal.
You do not have a legal entitlement to the KfW student loan.
- For the application to your sales partner (accredited credit institute or students' union):
- Contractual offer parts A, B and C
- Valid student ID for the applied start of the loan: (Major) subject of study, number of semesters and expected date of completion must be visible.
- Additionally in the case of foreign students: the fully filled in Form for non-German applicants.
- Proof concerning your own bank account in Germany (for example by submission of a Maestro card).
- In the advanced first or second course of study: the fully filled in "Proof of achievement" form.
- Plus, in case of an additional, supplementary, postgraduate or PhD degree: the fully filled in form "Proof of academic qualification".
- Official ID which states the address (for example personal identity document or passport together with a registration confirmation of the local residency registration office).
- Following the start of payments: For each further semester, you must provide a sales partner (credit institute or students' union) with the following information by 15 April and 15 October for the next and previous semester:
- Valid student ID
- Proof protocol: You can produce this by yourself in the online loan portal by entering the data on your student ID
- If applicable, form for the proof of achievement to be submitted to the KfW in case of the financing of a first or second degree: once, by the end of the 6th semester at the latest.
- If applicable, proof of academic qualification (for example German Diplom, Bachelor): You require this proof in order to obtain payments for an additional, supplementary or postgraduate degree.
- Finance agreements over 14 semesters: As a rule, you will only receive a monthly payment until the 10th semester. For a continuation to the 14th semester, you must supply a confirmation of your institution of higher education in the 10th semester, which states that your degree is expected to be successfully completed in 4 further semesters. Note: Should you have already provided proof to KfW of the completion of a financed first degree and should you complete a further course of study, you do not require this proof.
You can apply for a payment of the amounts by KfW a maximum of three months in advance.
For example: You submit the application in July. KfW pays the first instalment on commencement of the studies in October.
On 1 April and 1 October of each year, you can have changes carried out in the online loan portal on the so-called "roll over dates", for example:
- to the payment phase
- change the amount of the monthly payments,
- end the payment phase,
- apply for the interest postponement,
- change the monthly repayment amount
- in the repayment period,
- make non-scheduled repayments,
- apply for a fixed rate of interest.
Financing of a course of study which leads to a first degree (undergraduate course):The length of the payment phase depends on your age. Your age on 1 April or 1 October before taking out the loan is decisive.
If you are of the following maximum ages, you will receive the following approval:
- 34 years of age, up to 14 semesters.
- 39 years of age, up to 10 semesters
- 44 years of age, up to 6 semesters. Should you be applying for the financing of a postgraduate course of study or a PhD, as a student who is of a maximum age of 44 years on 1 April or 1 October prior to the commencement of the loan, you will receive approval of up to 6 semesters.
No repayments need to be paid in the subsequent grace period of 18 to 23 months. In this phase, you merely pay the interest on the paid out loan amount, unless you have chosen an interest postponement. Should you so wish, the grace period can be reduced to up to 6 months.
In the subsequent repayment phase you repay your loan in monthly instalments (annuities consisting of interest and repayment) within a maximum of 25 years or by the age of 67. The minimum instalment is 20 euros.
KfW will provide you with a repayment plan in good time before the repayments start in the online-loan portal.
Assuming that the interest remains the same, this prescribes a regular repayment period of 10 years. You have the option,
- to accept this
- or to choose a different monthly instalment and to therefore bring about a different repayment period.
You can also apply for a fixed rate of interest via the online loan portal:
- during the last roll over period of the grace period at the beginning of the repayment phase or
- during the repayment phase on the next 1 April or 1 October (roll over dates).
Here, you are free to determine the monthly instalments.
Note: The repayment plan of the fixed interest agreement is binding for the phase of the interest lock-in period. This means that you cannot change the monthly instalments.
Unplanned repayments must amount to at least 100 euros. You can carry these out in each loan phase on the roll over dates. This also applies in case of a fixed interest agreement.
Should you wish to change the amount of the instalments, you must provide notification of such by the next 15 March or 15 September via the online loan portal.
KfW will inform you regularly in the online portal with statements concerning the loan development.
KfW will not, as a rule, change the monthly instalments set by you. Interest rate changes will be taken into account for the remaining term of the loan. Increases in interest rates will extend the remaining term. Falls in interest rates will reduce the remaining term.
Exception: Should you exceed the maximum repayment period of 25 years, or should you be unable to repay the loan by the time you reach the age of 67, KfW will increase the monthly rates in order to comply with these guidelines.
KfW will collect the amounts due by direct debit on the first of the month. For this purpose, you must issue KfW with a SEPA direct debit mandate.
A cost compensation of 238 euros is payable for the co-operation of the sales partner which is absolutely necessary. This amount will be paid to your sales partner directly and automatically charged to your loan account. No further expenses will be incurred.
The German original version of this text was drafted in close cooperation with the relevant departments. The KfW released it on 11.07.2013. Only the German text is legally binding. The Federal State does not assume any liability for the translated texts.
In cases of doubt or if you have any questions or problems, please contact the relevant authorities directly.