German Academic Scholarship Foundation, Headquarters, Bonn
|Scholarship foundation overview|
|Annual budget||€103 million|
|Scholarship foundation executive|
The German Academic Scholarship Foundation (German: Studienstiftung des deutschen Volkes, or Studienstiftung for short) is Germany's largest and most prestigious scholarship foundation. According to its statutes, it supports "the university education of young people who, on account of their exceptional academic or artistic talents and their personalities, can be expected to make an outstanding contribution to society as a whole". The Studienstiftung is non-political, non-denominational and ideologically independent. Its headquarters are located in Bonn; it also has an office in Berlin. The current president is Reinhard Zimmermann, and the President of Germany, Frank-Walter Steinmeier, is patron (Schirmherr).
The Studienstiftung, like 12 other scholarship foundations (Begabtenförderungswerk), is funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research, with funds from the federal government, the German federal states and local authorities, numerous foundations and businesses as well as numerous private donors. In 2015, the Studienstiftung's budget was over €103 million. Between 1925 and 2015, it has supported over 65,000 students and doctoral candidates; it currently has over 60,000 alumni worldwide.
The selection process is extremely rigorous and only those students who show outstanding academic and personal promise are chosen. The Studienstiftung awards scholarships to fewer than 0.5% of German students. It is often referred to as Germany's "secret elite university".
Initially founded in Dresden in 1925 as a department of the Deutsche Studentenschaft, an amalgamation of German student committees, the Studienstiftung des deutschen Volkes was dissolved in 1934 under National Socialism and replaced by the "Reichsförderung", a department of the newly founded Reichsstudentenwerk. The Studienstiftung des deutschen Volkes was newly formed as a registered association in Cologne in 1948.
The Studienstiftung offers a general scholarship for bachelor's and master's studies that consists of both financial and academic support. Eligibility is based on the criteria for BAFöG, the German state support system for students. The Studienstiftung scholarship accepts only applicants that study full time at university. A part of an applicant's university studies must be at a university in Germany, in another EU country, or in Switzerland. German or EU citizenship are not required, and there are no age criteria.
The Studienstiftung accepts exceptionally talented students and doctoral candidates selected in accordance with its mission statement, which is based upon the principles of "excellence, initiative and responsibility". Scholars are admitted through various channels:
- Nomination by a school: The principal of a high school or school with an upper secondary level can nominate one in 50 senior students for admission to the Studienstiftung. This student must excel both academically and in terms of social commitment. Nominated students attend a three-day selection seminar where their eligibility for funding is assessed in individual interviews and group discussions. 23.8% of students nominated in 2015 were offered admission to the Studienstiftung. There is no set admissions quota for the number of students admitted each year.
- Nomination by professors: Students at universities and universities of applied science can be nominated directly by university teachers. Again, candidates attend a selection seminar. In 2015, 48.3% of students nominated by their professors were offered admission to the Studienstiftung.
- Nomination by an examination board: Just as students can be nominated by schools, one in every 50 students in the second academic year in his/her respective study programme can be nominated by universities and universities of applied science. The nomination must be supported by a professor. The selection seminar is organised along the same lines as the selection seminar for students nominated by schools. In this case, however, the candidate's proven academic achievements at university also carry weight. In 2015, 28.8% of nominees were offered admission.
- Winners of a national or federal competition or nomination by select cooperation partners: Winners of or participants in various competitions on a national, federal or international level (e.g. Bundeswettbewerb Informatik, Bundeswettbewerb Mathematik, Bundeswettbewerb Fremdsprachen, Jugend forscht, Jugend debattiert, Internationale Mathematik-Olympiade, Internationale Physik-Olympiade, Altsprachenwettbewerb des Landes Baden-Württemberg) may be offered admission to the Studienstiftung. Select cooperation partners (e.g. START-Stiftung) may also nominate potential sponsorship candidates.
- Since February 2010, candidates can also put themselves forward for a scholarship. First and second-semester students can sign up for the Studienstiftung assessment test in January/February/March each year. The test is held at test centres throughout Germany. The applicants with the best results are invited to attend the selection seminar. While the assessment test determines applicants' cognitive abilities, the selection seminar focuses on motivation, extracurricular interests, social commitment and social skills, which are assessed in personal interviews and group discussions.
- Nomination by alums: Studienstiftung alums may also nominate students who they consider appropriate, having taught them personally in school or university courses.
- Support of musicians and artists: After an internal pre-selection procedure, universities can nominate students of the fine arts, music and the performing arts for participation in a Studienstiftung selection seminar.
If admission occurs before the end of the fourth semester, sponsorship is usually granted until the end of the sixth semester. An extension of the scholarship beyond the sixth semester usually depends on academic performance in the first four semesters. In borderline cases, aspects other than academic achievements – such as exceptional social engagement or particular personal circumstances – may positively influence the decision to approve further funding. After an application has been approved, funding is awarded from the 6th semester until studies are completed (for example, until the master's degree or state examinations have been completed). In 2014, 91% of requests for further funding were approved.
The Studienstiftung also offers a doctoral scholarship for highly qualified and prosocial PhD students. The doctoral scholarship accepts applications from doctoral candidates at universities in Germany and at universities worldwide under certain conditions.
General scholarship for undergraduate, graduate and PhD students
The general Studienstiftung scholarship consists of both financial and academic support.
Financial support includes an allowance (€300 monthly). Scholars can receive a need-based basic scholarship, which is calculated according to the BAföG (Federal Training Assistance Act) and can be up to €744 per month.
PhD scholars receive a monthly award of €1,350 plus a research allowance of €100. Additional funds are provided for students and PhD students with children. Financial support is regulated by the guidelines of the German Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF). Visits abroad are also supported by grants or overseas allowances and the partial payment of tuition fees. Under the terms of No. 11 Einkommensteuergesetz (EStG – German Income Tax Law) scholarship payments are tax-free.
The Studienstiftung's academic support includes summer schools, research groups, language courses, workshops and mentoring by local tutors, academics who carry out this task for the Studienstiftung on a voluntary basis. Scholars are required to submit a report on their studies and other activities every semester during the first semesters (usually until the end of the fourth semester), and once a year thereafter. Scholars can also apply for funding in order to organise their own conferences and other events.
Internal scholarship programmes
In addition to its regular scholarship scheme, the Studienstiftung offers internal scholarship programmes for selected scholars and alumni. Examples include the KAUST-Studienstiftung programme, a joint partnership between the Saudi Arabian King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) and the Studienstiftung under the patronage of the German Federal Foreign Office which allows scholars from the STEM disciplines to join KAUST for research internships or to enrol in Master or PhD programs. In the musical field, for example, in cooperation with the Beethoven House residence scholarships are awarded for young composers.
Open scholarship programmes
Moreover, the Studienstiftung offers open scholarship programmes, which are run and financed in cooperation with other organisations. They include the McCloy Academic Scholarship Program, the ERP-Stipendienprogramm and the Carlo-Schmid-Programm. Participation in these scholarship programmes does not require previously holding a regular scholarship by the Studienstiftung.
Since 2005 the Studienstiftung has also been running the Max Weber scholarship for students in Bavaria, introduced by the regional (Land) administration via the Bavarian Elite Support Act (BayEFG).
- In 2020, the Studienstiftung approved 2,898 scholarships and 362 doctoral scholarships.:109,120
- As of 2020[update], 71.1% of scholars received a study expense allowance of €300, 18.8% received a partial need-based scholarship, and 10.1% the maximum need-based scholarship.:114
- 52.7% of scholars in 2020[update] were women.:112
scholars as a share of students[a]
|2020||13,402||1,393||14,795||not available||not available|
scholars as at
scholars as a share of students
|Heidelberg University||public university||639||27,818||2.30%|
|Hannover Medical School||public university||74||3,465||2.14%|
|University of Freiburg||public university||336||24,028||1.40%|
|University of Lübeck||public university||70||5,331||1.31%|
|University of Tübingen||public university||289||26,842||1.08%|
|University of Mannheim||public university||122||12,088||1.01%|
|Bucerius Law School||private university||74||858||8.62%|
|Hertie School||private university||22||651||3.38%|
|Witten/Herdecke University||private university||42||2,617||1.60%|
|Zeppelin University||private university||12||903||1.33%|
|Cusanus Hochschule||private Fachhochschule||6||113||5.31%|
- Martin Beneke, physicist, Leibniz prize 2008
- Manfred Eigen, Nobel prize chemistry 1962, former president of the Studienstiftung (1982–1993)
- Gerd Faltings, mathematician, Fields medal 1986
- Reinhard Genzel, Nobel prize physics 2020
- Magdalena Götz, biologist, Leibniz prize 2007
- Robert Huber, Nobel prize chemistry 1988
- Joachim Frank, Nobel prize chemistry 2017
- J. Hans D. Jensen, Nobel prize physics 1963
- Wolfgang Ketterle, Nobel prize physics 2001
- Christian Keysers, neuroscientist
- Wolfgang Lück, mathematician, Leibniz prize 2008
- Jochen Mannhart, physicist, Leibniz prize 2008
- Erwin Neher, Nobel prize medicine 1991
- Felix Otto, mathematician, Leibniz prize 2006
- Peter Scholze, mathematician, Fields medal 2018
- Bernhard Schölkopf, computer scientist, Leibniz prize 2018
- Detlef Weigel, biologist, Leibniz prize 2007
- Ulrich Beck, sociologist
- Dirk Kaesler, sociologist
- Ulrike Malmendier, economist
- Ulrike Müßig, legal historian
- Stephan Reimertz, art historian
- Ernst-Ludwig von Thadden, economist
- Reinhard Zimmermann, legal historian, Leibniz prize 1996 (Studienstiftung president 2011–)
Business and NGOs
- Andreas von Bechtolsheim, co-founder Sun Microsystems
- Wolfgang Bernhard, member of the board of management of Daimler AG
- Alexander Dibelius, managing director, Germany, Goldman Sachs
- Frank Mattern, head of the German Office, McKinsey and Company
- Fritz Kuhn, politician, co-chairman of Bündnis 90/Die Grünen, the German Green Party, from June 2000 to December 2002
- Andreas Paulus, judge at the Federal Constitutional Court of Germany
- Frauke Petry, politician and former chair of the Alternative for Germany
- Karl Schiller, politician and scientist
- Gesine Schwan, professor, SPD-candidate for the office of the federal president, 2004
- Steffen Seibert, journalist, current government spokesman and head of the Press and Information Office of Germany
- Robert Tillmanns, politician
- Christine Teusch, politician
- Antje Vollmer, politician, until 2005 vice-president of the German parliament
- Mechthild Bach, soprano
- Hans-Jürgen von Bose, professor, composer
- Hans Breder, professor, artist
- Christa Dichgans, writer
- Moritz Eggert, composer, pianist
- Hans Magnus Enzensberger, writer
- Justus Frantz, pianist
- Anna Gourari, pianist
- Horst Janssen, artist
- Bas Kast, writer
- Heinz Rudolf Kunze, singer and composer
- Michael Kunze, librettist and translator
- Igor Levit, pianist
- Frei Otto, architect
- Matthias Pintscher, composer
- Philipp Tingler, writer, journalist and economist
- Juli Zeh, writer
- Petra Gerster, journalist
- Claus Kleber, journalist, anchor of the "heute-journal"
- Ulrike Meinhof, editor, subsequently member of the Red Army Faction (RAF)
- Frank Schirrmacher, journalist
- Swiss Study Foundation (Schweizerische Studienstiftung)
- National Merit Scholarship Program in the United States
- The percentages would be lower if one only counted the scholars studying at universities in Germany
- Universities with more than 5 Studienstiftung scholars
- "Begabtenförderungswerke: Die 13 Stipendiengeber im Überblick". myStipendium (in German). 2016-04-12. Retrieved 2021-07-09.
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Eine Förderung durch die Studienstiftung des Deutschen Volkes ist nicht nur wegen des monatlichen Förderbetrages attraktiv. Das Stipendium gilt auch als höchste Auszeichnung im Feld akademischer Begabtenförderung.
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- BMBF-Internetredaktion. "Die Begabtenförderungswerke - BMBF". Bundesministerium für Bildung und Forschung - BMBF (in German). Retrieved 2021-05-09.
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- "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2015-09-24. Retrieved 2015-06-28.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
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- Lehn, Das Gespräch Führte Birgitta Vom (2008-04-13). "Elite sein wird einfacher". DIE WELT. Retrieved 2021-05-09.
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- "Selbstbewerbung Test". www.studienstiftung.de. Retrieved 2017-03-07.
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- "KAUST-Programm der Studienstiftung des deutschen Volkes - Forschung, Sprache und Kultur im Königreich Saudi-Arabien" (in German). Studienstiftung des Deutschen Volkes. 2017-02-26. Retrieved 2018-06-03.
- "Förderung für Studierende - Komponistenresidenz" (in German). Studienstiftung des Deutschen Volkes. 2018-06-03. Retrieved 2018-06-03.
- "Offene Stipendienprogramme | Studienstiftung des deutschen Volkes". www.studienstiftung.de. Retrieved 2021-05-09.
- "Zehn Jahre Max Weber-Programm". www.studienstiftung.de. 2015-06-16. Retrieved 2021-05-09.
- "BayEFG: Bayerisches Eliteförderungsgesetz (BayEFG) Vom 26. April 2005 (GVBl. S. 104) BayRS 2230-2-3-WK (Art. 1–11) - Bürgerservice". www.gesetze-bayern.de. Retrieved 2021-05-09.
- "State of Bavaria: Max Weber Programme". Deutscher Akademischer Austauschdienst (DAAD). Retrieved 2021-05-09.
- "Jahresbericht 2020" (PDF). Studienstiftung (in German). Retrieved 2021-07-09.
- "Jahresbericht 2015" (PDF 4,35 MB). Studienstiftung (in German). p. 212 (Tabelle 1 Geförderte in Studium und Promotion). Retrieved 2016-01-15.
- "Studierende insgesamt und Studierende Deutsche nach Geschlecht". Federal Statistical Office of Germany (in German). Retrieved 2021-07-09.
- Nik Afanasjew: RAF und die Studienstiftung: Aus Stipendiaten wurden Terroristen. In: Der Tagesspiegel. 3. Oktober 2011.
- Anant Agarwala: Wie sich die Stipendiaten der Studienstiftung ändern. Die Spitze wird bunter, in: Die Zeit 21/2016.
- Zentrum für Evaluation und Methoden (ZEM) der Universität Bonn: Evaluierung des Auswahlverfahrens der Studienstiftung des deutschen Volkes e.V., Bonn 2012.