Financial Tips for Starting College | press portal

Consumer Center North Rhine-Westphalia eV

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Financial tips for starting college

The NRW Consumer Advice Center offers easy wallet advice in everyday university life

With the start of the summer semester, a new phase of life begins for many young people, in which for the first time they have to manage their finances. From food and entertainment to telecommunications and insurance, you have to browse through numerous offers. The NRW Consumer Advice Center explains where students should look closely and how they can save money.

  • What financial help is there? Depending on their parents’ income, students can apply for BAföG to finance their studies. Although the grant is a loan, only half has to be repaid. Those who cannot obtain BAföG have the option to apply for a scholarship. The offers are varied and not only intended for exceptional talents with full marks. Loans are a relatively expensive way to finance your studies. Any student loan must be repaid with interest. If you don’t find a well-paying job right away after your studies, you risk getting too much debt. Therefore, loans should only be used for short-term financial bottlenecks if possible. For example, at the end of your studies, when BAföG is no longer available. Also important: during the first degree up to the age of 25, there is the right to family allowances. In principle, parents still have the right to payment. If the child leads an independent family and the parents do not pay any maintenance, the adult children can also be paid directly the dependent child allowance.
  • What insurances are needed? In many areas, students do not yet need their own insurance, as they are still insured through their parents until the age of 25. This applies, for example, to health insurance and liability insurance. If the study visit takes place in a non-European country, private travel health insurance is highly recommended, as the statutory health insurance company does not pay there. It is recommended that young people take out occupational disability insurance. The younger you get into insurance, the cheaper your premiums are. Studying is therefore a good time to take out such insurance, provided you can pay the insurance premiums.
  • How to save on groceries? The basic rule is: cooking yourself is often cheaper than buying ready-made meals or going to the canteen. Snacking for a long day at university and carrying coffee in their insulated mug can save money and waste. You can create a weekly program for orientation while shopping. This gives you an overview of the food you need and cuts down on often expensive spontaneous purchases. If you choose seasonal foods, you can also save money and eat more sustainably. The NRW Consumer Center Seasonal Calendar provides an overview. The market is also worth a visit – especially just before the end of the market day, groceries are often cheaper than in the supermarket.
  • Do comparison portals really always offer the best price? It doesn’t matter if it’s a laptop, tablet or smartphone – many people need basic technical equipment for their studios, which can get quite expensive. Comparison portals promise to always offer the best prices. However, the rankings on these sites are not always neutral as they benefit from commission payments and business relationships. Prices should therefore always be checked critically and compared with the supplier’s price. Psychological means of pressure such as the number of visitors to the site or an alleged low availability can be safely ignored, as these are sales gimmicks.

Further information and links:

NRW’s Consumer Advice Center provides further information on study financing at

For more information

NRW Consumer Center Press Office

Telephone (0211) 38 09-101

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