On 3 April 2003, the Thuringian State Parliament decided to introduce long-term study fees changing the Thuringian Higher Education Act (ThürHG). According to it, the Thuringian institutions of higher education are expected to check obligations to pay and, if necessary, request payment of the fee during enrolment or re-registration. Long-term study fees are due if students exceed a specific number of university semesters. This does not depend on the subjects being studied, but merely on the period during which studying takes place at German institutions of higher education. If the standard time of study for an initial professional qualification is exceeded by 4 semesters, the student then has to pay €500 for every additional semester. The same rule applies to consecutive study programmes consisting of a bachelor’s and master’s degree. However, exceptions may be requested. Information, templates, and forms for your current situation can be found below.
Charging fees is in accordance with the section 4 of the ThürHGEG.
The income generated from the long-term fees belong to the University in their entirety in order to carry out its tasks. This means that the University does not transfer the income to any external institutions, but allocates the funds for study-related expenses.
The standard duration of study is determined according to the relevant examination regulations or regulations for registration of the current study programme.
In the case of a further undergraduate study programme after a completed degree, the standard duration of study for the first undergraduate study programme and the second must be combined if:
If a student enrols for two or more study programmes simultaneously, the fee must only be paid for one of them, namely for the one with the longer standard duration of study.
The final grade must be among the top 20% of all final grades of the relevant graduation year.
A graduation year comprises all students of the relevant study programme who graduated between 1 October and 30 September of the following year (i.e. academic year/year of study).
Provided that examination regulations stipulate a standard duration of study without examination periods, you should apply another term for standard duration of study which is stricter than the one defined in the ThürHG. The decisive factor is therefore not what examination regulations set out as the standard duration of study, but what corresponds to the legal definition instead, i.e. the standard duration of study frequently includes examination periods.
When defining the fee-free study period, all study periods at German institutions of higher education within the scope and application of the German Basic Law (Grundgesetz, GG) are taken into consideration. However, there some exceptions: neither a change of study programme until the completion of the second semester is taken into account nor a leave of absence.
There are: study periods at public administration colleges, foreign institutions of higher education, and institutions of higher education in the former German Democratic Republic. In the case of private/non-public institutions of higher education and professional academies, demanding issues of definition must be clarified first.
Students must not pay the fee for the periods in which they are on leave of absence, and for the semesters in which they receive the benefits in accordance with the Federal Act on Support for Education and Training (Bundesausbildungsförderungsgesetz, BAföG).
The obligation to pay may be postponed, upon formal request, for the times:
You may request a leave of absence for childcare for your own children, foster children, and stepchildren or grandchildren living in your household. The regulations are based on the BAföG.
Generally, the extension is available to both parents provided that they live with the child in the same household.
These are the university bodies defined in the Thuringian Higher Education Act, e.g. Senate, faculty councils, and the student representative bodies (student council, student representatives). If you are member of a committee for least one year, one semester may be recognized; if your membership lasts at least two years, you are granted two semesters. Your proof should be provided in a suitable manner, for example as a certificate issued by the committee management.
In cases of undue hardship, the fee can be partially or fully waived. These are the examples of undue hardship:
To start with, the disability etc. must be primarily causal. This means that other reasons (e.g. changing courses, re-sitting examinations) must not have led to the extension of studies. Delaying studies must therefore exist for a prolonged period. Medical reports must confirm the exact duration of the disability. Furthermore, they should present the reasons and the degree to which the ability to study was affected or not possible clearly. What is important is that a doctor—or a therapist if necessary, identify a specific restriction in the capacity to study. Sweeping statements mean it is not possible to determine a personal extension of the course from a disability etc.
As the fee-free period is calculated based on the standard duration of study in which all examination periods are contained, an examination semester, which takes place after the fee-free period has elapsed, is generally subject to payment of fees.
A sweeping statement is not possible due to the varied, different examination procedures in Diplom, Magister, and state examination study programmes. In individual cases, the specific examination process should be checked based on the relevant examination regulations to see which part of the examination can be defined as the “final” one. If this part is in a semester for which an application was submitted to waive the fee, it can be considered as suitably close. In the case of bachelor’s programmes and master's programmes, the time aspect of the financial hardship rule is only applicable for the semester in which the final thesis is both written and submitted.
For single students living in their own household (independent of parents) and are liable for contributions in the public health and long-term care insurance system, the highest support cap as per BAföG can be seen as the upper limit. If resources are available that do not exceed this limit, then financial hardship—provided that no other assets are available—can be assumed. For single students who still live with their parents and/or are not liable for contributions in the public health and long-term care insurance system, the correspondingly reduced rates as per BAföG are applied. In the case of needs-based communities (students with children and/or spouses), no fixed income limits have been applied up to the present. Financial hardship should be determined in accordance with specific circumstances in individual cases.