What do I have to pay as a career changer?
Students who matriculate to enter into a period to finish an ongoing study have to pay the full contribution for the period the matriculated into (first or second period).
The full degree programm is divided into two periods. The degree of the first period is defined as the obtaining of the Ersten Abschnitt der Ärztlichen Prüfung, the obtaining of the Zahnärztlichen Vorprüfung or the obtaining of the Bachelor. The second period ends with the obtaining of all requirements for the Praktische Jahr (Scheinfreiheit), the obtaining of the Zahnärztlichen Prüfung or the obtaining of the Master. Fees for a finished period or full degree can be found on the page of contribution rates.
Do I have the option of early or faster repayment?
Early or faster repayment is possible during the repayment period. You may terminate repayment before the repayment period expires by paying the contractually established maximum amount, including the repayments effected up to that time. The maximum amount is twice the direct payment rate at the time of your immatriculation at UW/H.
If I am out of work after graduation, will the UGV be converted to a loan, as is the case with some commercial providers?
No. As a basic rule, repayment is not linked to your employment status but to your income level. Theoretically, the ten years of repayment may fall within a period of 25 years after your exmatriculation. But if your income remains below the minimum level defined for repayment for 25 years, you need not repay anything at all. If, for example, your income is above the minimum in only three out of those 25 years, repayments are due only in these three years. No payments are due after 25 years.
What is the targeted rate of return for the SG?
The SG is a non-profit association. There are no investors with a right to expect a return from repayments after graduation. The concept of the inverse contract between student generations is based on the equivalence in present values of direct payment and repayment after graduation. This means that the SG does not strive to make profit from your tuition payments.
Do I have to apply for the UGV?
No. We want to offer free access to higher education, independent of a young person’s financial background (see three principles: free access to higher education, free independent study organization, free choice of a professional career). At the time of registration you may therefore choose between three payment options (fixed direct payment, payment after graduation, or a combination of both).
Is it possible to receive BAföG parallel to the UGV?
Participation in the UGV does not constitute any form of income, scholarship or officially recognized sponsorship. You may therefore receive BAföG without difficulty if you have opted for payment after graduation or for the combination with direct payment. Tuition fees are not credited to your BAföG payments. But you must expect to be charged BAföG repayments and UGV repayments after graduation, which might amount to a particular financial burden. We therefore urgently recommend to contact your BAföG office for any effects the UGV might have on your BAföG rates. We cannot give definite information in this respect.
What is the percentage of UW/H students who make use of the UGV?
The actual quote varies of course, but we have registered an average percentage of approximately 50 %.
Which version is more economically advantageous: direct payment or payment after graduation?
The SG cannot determine the economic advantage of one or the other version in individual cases. The overall calculation shows equivalence in present values of both payment versions. If your future income is far above the expected average for the degree program of your choice (e.g. senior physician in a US-American hospital) then your repayments may exceed the equivalent of the direct payment rates – up to a defined maximum (see maximum limit).
If your income is notably lower, i.e. if you work for Medécins sans frontières or Greenpeace, then your repayments after graduation may be lower than the equivalent of direct payment rates.
What happens if I drop out?
The amount to be repaid for the semesters spent at UW/H, including the dropout semester, is calculated in proportion from the regular repayment rate for this stage of the program, taking the standard period of study into account. The amount to be repaid thus calculated must not exceed the regular repayment rate for this stage of the program.
The full degree programm is divided into two periods. The degree of the first period is defined as the obtaining of the "Ersten Abschnitt der Ärztlichen Prüfung", the obtaining of the "Zahnärztlichen Vorprüfung" or the obtaining of the Bachelor. The second period ends with the obtaining of all requirements for the "Praktische Jahr (Scheinfreiheit)", the obtaining of the" Zahnärztlichen Prüfung" or the obtaining of the Master. Fees for a fixed direct payment for a finished period or full degree can be found under "contribution rates".
How long is the repayment period?
After your exmatriculation we assume a period of 25 years during which you will potentially effect repayments. The minimum net-income (your gross income less compounded social security contributions and professional allowance) required for you to effect repayments is currently € 21,000. This amounts to approximately 78 % of an employee’s before-tax income. Therefore, you repay during the first ten years in which your income exceeds € 21,000 until you reach the maximum amount, more than 25 years have passed or the ten years of repayment are over. Thus, the maximum duration of repayments is 10 years.
Can I make direct payment immediately to the university?
No. The contractual relationship between Witten/Herdecke University and the SG stipulates that only payments made to SG have a discharging effect.
From which date are payments due?
The potential repayment period starts on January 1 of the year following exmatriculation at UW/H. Actual repayment starts as soon as your income exceeds the defined minimum level.
What happens if I find employment outside Germany after graduation?
The principle of free choice of a professional career (see three principles: free access to higher education, free study organization, free choice of career) is intended to ensure that you are free in shaping your professional future, which also means you are free to work in another country. In this case you need to submit the income tax return notice of the country in question or equivalent documentation if you have opted for payment after graduation.
What happens if – having opted for payment after graduation – my income is extremely high?
The contractually established maximum amount applies to graduates who have opted for payment after graduation and who earn an extremely high income. A maximum of twice the fixed direct payment rate (of the time of your immatriculation at UW/H) is due over the entire repayment period. In addition, there is an annual ceiling which guarantees that earners of very high incomes pay not more than one fifth of the maximum amount within one repayment year.
How do I contact the SG personally?
You may send us an email to "kontakt@studierendengesellschaft" and arrange an appointment for individual consultation.
What happens if I opt for a lower income, such as part-time work?
Free choice of a professional career is a core principle for the SG (see three principles: free access to higher education, independent study organization, free choice of a professional career). This means that the UGV will not hinder you from accepting a low-income occupation. So if your income remains below the defined minimum for a specific year you will be exempt from repayment for that year. For an employee this minimum is currently around € 30.000 (annual before-tax income). If your income exceeds this minimum the repayment rate will be calculated from your before-tax income, less compounded social security contributions and professional allowance. This is the relevant income for repayment and amounts to approximately 78 % of an employee’s before-tax income.
Is claiming the UGV attached to any conditions?
No. The UGV is open to all UW/H students. Upon registration you are free to opt for any of the three payment versions (fixed direct payment, income-related repayment after graduation, or a combination of both). Your or your parents’ financial background is not an issue, nor is means testing.
What is the minimum limit income?
The minimum income acts as a safeguard for those who opt for income-related repayment after graduation. If your income does not exceed this minimum you need not effect repayments in the pertinent calendar year. The minimum income is regularly adjusted to take account of price increases/inflation and currently amounts to approximately € 30,000 (annual before-tax income) for employees.
Can I change from one payment version to another during my studies?
Our concept is designed to be as socially acceptable as possible; you are therefore free to change over from direct payment to payment after graduation or to a combination of both, at any time during your studies up to exmatriculation and without stating reasons.
A change from payment after graduation to direct payment or a combination of both is possible up to the middle of the standard period for your program or period of study (e.g. Bachelor).
Are tuition fees tax-deductible?
We can only provide information regarding taxation in Germany. For questions of tax deductibility see our leaflet on taxation of tuition fees on our German page.
Can I be the recipient of a scholarship if I opt for payment after graduation?
The same rules apply to the recipients of BAföG and of scholarships: you may apply for scholarships independent of the UGV (see BAföG).
Does the amount of my income-related repayment have to correspond to the direct payment rate?
The basic principle of the UGV is solidarity: all participants make contributions in proportion to their financial means. If you opt for payment after graduation or for the combination of direct and later payment, you will not be confronted with a fixed debt burden, as is the case with conventional student loans. Having made annual repayments above the stipulated minimum amount over a period of ten years, you are released from any further payments, irrespective of the total amount actually paid. The current minimum amount for a regular Economics program is € 2,540 per year.
Will the university profit if I effect direct payment?
No. The SG makes direct payments to the university on behalf of all students and pays the same amount for all students, whether these have opted for direct or for later payment.
What is the income basis for payment after graduation?
Repayment rates are calculated on the basis of before-tax income, less compounded social security contributions and professional allowance. This is the relevant income for repayment and amounts to 78,7 % of a before-tax income for employees, trainees and the non-working (deduction amounts to 21.3 % with a maximum of € 12,100 per year), and 62,7% of a before-tax income for non-employess (deduction amounts to 37.3 % with a maximum of € 20,900 per year).
What type of collateral is required?
You need not offer any type of collateral.
When do repayments start if I start doctoral studies, a traineeship or an internship after graduation?
Repayment starts as soon as your income exceeds the stipulated minimum after your exmatriculation. This applies independent of any advanced studies you might start.
Which tuition fees become payable if I start a second degree program in addition to my original program? (Example: a BA in Philosophy & Culture, and simultaneously a BA in Economics)
If you pursue double degree studies you are requested to pay tuition fees only for the program with the higher rates for direct payment. This option does not apply to consecutive studies such as a Bachelor and a subsequent Master. This means you may pursue two BA programs simultaneously (or two MA programs), and you only pay fees for the program with higher fixed direct payment rates. Full tuition fees for both programs are due if you pursue a BA and a MA.