Foto: Juraj Varga / Pixabay, Montage: CHE

It is often the costs that deter would-be students from embarking on an executive degree. A new CHE information brochure outlines the funding options available and explains why it is always worth asking your employer for support.

Those wishing to continue their education at a higher education institution in Germany now have a wealth of different formats to choose from. The options range from individual courses and certificate courses to executive degree programmes. However, continuing education programmes are usually fee-based, incurring tuition fees ranging from several hundred to tens of thousands of euros.

In its latest guide on financing an executive degree, published in the “CHE kurz + kompakt” series, CHE recommends four-step planning: the first step should be to draw up a realistic cost plan that includes not only tuition fees, but all other costs too. These include, for example, study materials, travel and accommodation costs, field trips, semester fees, and registration and examination fees.

After that, prospective students should ask their employer for financial support and find out about available scholarship opportunities. A student loan should only be considered once all other funding options have been exhausted, CHE recommends in its service brochure. This brochure contains information such as key facts about state and private funding opportunities, and an annotated list of links and checklists on the topic.

Ulrich Müller believes that contacting the employer at an early stage is one of the most important aspects: “It is always worth asking your employer to help fund your professional academic development. The better employees can justify how their work can benefit from their studies, the better their chances of receiving financial assistance or time off from their employer,” explained CHE’s expert on student funding.

In certain cases, employers can even arrange for the costs of an executive degree programme to be covered by the Federal Employment Agency under the Skills Development Opportunities Act (QCG). An example of such a case is when the student risks losing their current job due to new technologies or structural change.

As a general rule, CHE recommends that students only embark on an executive degree programme once the funding is in place. Although it is also possible to apply for scholarships during the programme, funding is usually only awarded for the coming semester. This can lead to funding shortfalls, which may be a threat to academic success.

“If funding is uncertain, it may be worth choosing a shorter certificate programme first, which is much easier to finance. This can then usually be credited towards a full degree programme at a later date,” stated Ulrich Müller.

In light of the coalition agreement of the new Federal Government, one of CHE’s hopes is that the planned extension of BAföG student grants to lifelong learning will open up more financing options for would-be students of continuing education. The current BAföG excludes funding for part-time degree programmes pursued while in employment or for students with a non-negligible income of their own.

About the publication:

In the “CHE kurz + kompakt” series, each six-page edition provides answers to the key questions regarding the issue. The information package, available in pdf format, is rounded off with an annotated list of links and checklists for taking the next steps and investigating further.