In Germany, the family is initially responsible for financing a course of study. Only if their financial resources are insufficient the state contributes to the financing of their studies. In this case, students should apply for BAföG.
According to the German Civil Code (§ 1601 BGB), parents are generally obliged to support their children of full age up to a professionally qualifying degree. Therefore a study is included. However, the amount of maintenance depends on the financial ability of the parents. They are granted an appropriate amount for their own subsistence level. Child benefit and tax allowances help parents to pay support to their children. Students who do not live with their parents can generally require 860 euros per month as maintenance from their parents. The costs for the students' health and nursing insurance and any tuition fees are not yet included.
However, income (e.g. from jobbing), an inheritance or money saved by students reduce the parents' obligation to support their studying children. As a rule, parents are only obliged to pay maintenance up to the first degree qualifiying them for their profession. The students are free in the choice of their subject and can change their place of study and field of study to a limited extent without the right to maintenance from their parents disappear.
In return, students are obliged to provide their parents with information and proof of the progress of their studies. Students must study quickly and goal-oriented in order to keep the maintenance burdens of their parents as low and calculable as possible. If this obligation is violated, the claim to maintenance from the parents can be reduced or even cease.
Students who live outside their parents' household can generally demand 860 euros per month (as of 2022) as maintenance from their parents. This is the standard rate of the Düsseldorf Maintenance Table. This table is drawn up by the Higher Regional Court of the city Düsseldorf and is the most recognised recommendation for the amount of maintenance.
Contributions to students' health and long-term care insurance and any tuition fees are not included in the standard rate. Parents who live apart from each other must pay the standard rate proportionally to their respective incomes.
Students' income (for example, from regular employment), an inheritance or money saved can reduce the parents' obligation to pay maintenance. Decisions on this always depend on the concrete individual case.
The parents can also pay maintenance in kind (accommodation and food) instead of money (§ 1612 paragraph 2 BGB). This can be changed by a court at the student's request.
As a rule, parents are only obliged to pay maintenance up to the first professional qualification. There is no rigid age limit. Students are free to choose their field of study and can change their place of study and field of study to a limited extent without forfeiting the right to maintenance from their parents.
In return, students are obliged to inform their parents about the progress of their studies and to provide evidence of this. This also applies if there is no longer or never was any contact with one of the parents.
Attention: Students must always study quickly and in a goal-oriented manner in order to keep the maintenance burden on their parents as low and calculable as possible. If this obligation is violated, the claim to maintenance from the parents can be reduced or even be cancelled.
Maintenance for the past
Maintenance can only be claimed retroactively if the parents or one parent have previously been put in default (§ 1613 BGB) or their whereabouts were unknown.