In Germany, if a person (a German national or not) receives a public scholarship (i.e funded by the government), they cannot earn more than 400Euros addition to the money they are getting from the scholarship.

Now, I have made some savings prior to getting a public scholarship from the German government, and I would like to invest that money into the stock market.

Does this mean that if I, for example, buy distributing ETFs, the dividends should be less than 4800Euros in a given year? What about the unrealized capital gains. For example, with some miracle if I double my savings in a single year, will I lose my scholarship?


It is a DAAD scholarship.

  • 1
    It is hard to say. It depends on the rules around scholarships. Typically income is divided into different categories, such as Employment Income, Capital Gains Income, Dividend Income, Interest Income, etc. and the rules may only be addressing Employment Income. It may be that money "earned" is employment income, or it may be all of the above - you would have to check the rules.
    – xirt
    May 21, 2020 at 20:10
  • 2
    Which scholarship system are you asking about? BAföG? If so, it uses the income concept from EstG which includes capital gains, and I think also unrealized gains. But given the wealth limits, it would be difficult to get such high returns. AFAIK the 400€ limit isn't a hard limit , but reduces the payments you're eligible for.
    – amon
    May 22, 2020 at 7:45
  • @amon So, for example, if the scholarship was BAföG, then doubling the price the investments would make the scholarship holder lose it scholarship, am I right?
    – Our
    Jun 4, 2020 at 20:37
  • 1
    @amon it is a DAAD schoalarship.
    – Our
    Jun 9, 2020 at 12:28
  • 1
    @onurcanbektas I might be best to ask the DAAD about this because they don't seem to have full information online. From what I can see, income above 450€ will reduce the scholarship grant, so not a hard limit.
    – amon
    Jun 9, 2020 at 16:04

1 Answer 1


Different (public) scholarships in Germany have different conditions.

  • Some of them, e.g. Bafög are explicitly tied to being in financial need. These scholarships may have limits both on the wealth of the applicant and on income (applicant's and possibly also their parents' income). Income here will be taxable income which includes capital gains.

  • There are also scholarships that do not consider wealth. However, AFAIK most if not all scholarships limit employment (Nichtselbständige Arbeit). I think it is more usual here to have a limit on the hours worked rather than the income generated, so capital gains are not considered here. (The reasoning here is that the scholarship is given in order to give the scholarship holder time to study)

You should have received some terms and conditions for the particular scholarship usually when you applied or latest together with the approval letter. If not, ask DAAD to email them again.

If these conditions do not explicitly mention a limit on wealth or income, the scholarship is granted independent of your wealth and income.

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