For a many years there have been no tuition fees in Germany. In the case of undergraduate studies, such as degree (or bachelor) courses, at many universities this is still true today. Students pay only a small enrolment or confirmation fee. Once they have enrolled students receive their student ID. This provides a wide range of concessions: for bank accounts, sometimes telephone companies, but also for cinema and theatre tickets.
However, due to the federal structure of the German state the education costs in the individual states differ. In some states tuition fees have already been introduced. Especially master's courses are liable for costs. Make sure you get exact details from the university where you have applied. Ask whether they plan to introduce tuition fees! Information on this can be obtained from the students' offices or from the enrolment offices.
Up until completion of your initial degree qualifying you for a profession, you will pay a moderate fee to the Student Organisation and, in some states, an additional administration fee. Currently you must reckon with 100 Euro per term for the enrolment or confirmation fee plus the administration fee (Verwaltungsgebühr).
Semester contribution / enrolment or confirmation fee around 50 Euro per term
You will have to pay a semester contribution at enrolment (Einschreibung) and each semester at confirmation (Rückmeldung). The semester contribution is made up of a contribution to the Studentische Selbstverwaltung (AStA) (student parliament of the university) and a contribution to the Studentenwerk. This helps to support the refectories and student accommodation as well as the advisory services offered by the Studentenwerke.
The enrolment or confirmation fee usually comes to around 50 Euro. Contributions may be higher, however (about 150 Euro), if the Student Organisation fee includes a "Semesterticket". With this ticket students can use public transport (busses and trains) for six months.
Administration fees around 50 Euro per term
For enrolment and confirmation the universities in the federal states of Baden-Württemberg, Berlin, Brandenburg, Bremen, Hamburg, Hesse, Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, Lower Saxony and Thuringia charge a fee to cover administration. This is around 50 Euro.
Students who study longer than the designated number of terms must reckon with increased costs. This is because most federal states charge fees for long-term studies. Whoever notably exceeds the standard period of study has to pay an additional 500 Euro per term! The fees usually become payable after 7 years or the 14th term of study.
Unlike undergraduate studies postgraduate studies such as most Master's or PhD qualifications have been fee-based for some time now. The costs for postgraduate studies are in addition to the enrolment and confirmation fees!
The following federal states have introduced general tuition fees of up to 500 Euro per term: Baden-Württemberg, Bavaria, Hamburg and Lower Saxony. In these states, therefore, undergraduate studies will be subject to charge.