Ukraine–Germany Program

Mentoring and financial support for students displaced from Ukraine who want to complete a Bachelor’s or Master’s program in Germany

The 2022 attack of Russia on Ukraine has led to the displacement of millions of people. This includes many thousands of students, who are now facing an uncertain future. Malengo’s Ukraine–Germany Program offers these students financial and mentoring support to continue their studies at a university in Germany. Specifically, it supports students who want to complete an English-taught Bachelor’s or Master’s degree at a German university by providing financing for the first year of living expenses, as well as mentoring. Selection is based on academic achievement, extracurricular activities, and financial need. We aim to fund as many students as possible.

On this page

Who can apply?
What does the program provide?
Which courses can I study?
Details of the Income Share Agreement
How to apply
What you need for the application
What happens after you apply
Frequently Asked Questions
List of eligible countries

Who can apply?

You can apply if:

  • You are a student who was enrolled in a college or university in Ukraine as of February 24, 2022
  • You obtained your secondary school degree in a low-income or lower-middle income country. (This includes Ukraine.) Your citizenship does not matter. A list of low-income and lower-middle income countries is below.
  • You have limited financial means.
  • You want to complete a full Bachelor’s or Master’s program at a university in Germany. (You have to be eligible for the program based on your previous educational experience; we will help you figure this out.)

What does the program provide?

If you are selected as a Malengo Scholar, the program will provide the following:

  • Malengo staff and mentors guide you through the process of completing the TOEFL (a test of English) and applying to your Bachelor’s or Master’s programs of choice. You can also apply if you have already been admitted to a Bachelor’s or Master’s program in Germany.
  • Once you have been admitted to a program, Malengo provides you with EUR 10,332, which is paid into a locked bank account in your name. This is required to obtain a residence permit in Germany for your studies. The money is paid back out to you in monthly installments of EUR 861 over the course of your first year of studies to support your living costs. After the first year of studies, you have to cover your living costs yourself, e.g. by getting a part-time job. (Malengo will support you in finding such jobs.)
    The funding is provided to you on the basis of an Income Share Agreement (ISA), which means that once you earn a sufficiently high income, you commit to sharing a percentage of your income with future generations of Malengo Scholars. If you earn a low income, e.g. because you continue to further studies or have a low-earning job, you make no contributions. Details of the ISAs offered as part of the Ukraine–Germany Program are below.
  • Malengo staff and mentors will support you in finding accommodation, starting your studies, and finding a part-time job that will help you finance yourself after the first year of studies. We will also support you in navigating your first months at a German university by providing advice and mentoring.

Which courses can I study?

In principle we are willing to support any Bachelor’s or Master’s program in Germany. However, we expect that the majority of successful applicants will apply for zero-tuition, unrestricted admission, English-taught programs at public universities.

You can search for programs at mygermanuniversity.com. We recommend the filters “without admission restriction”, “no tuition fees”, and “English only” (unless you are fluent in German and can prove it).

To make life easier for Bachelor’s applicants, we have compiled a list of all the zero-tuition, unrestricted-admission, English-taught Bachelor’s programs here: malengo.org/eligible-bachelors-programs. To search for Master’s programs (of which there are hundreds), please use mygermanuniversity.com.

Unfortunately we don’t support language classes or medical studies.

Details of the Income Share Agreement

Malengo provides you with EUR 10,332, paid into a locked bank account in your name, to support your application for a residence permit in Germany. This money is then paid back to you monthly installments of EUR 861 over the first year to support your living expenses.

In return for receiving this support, Malengo asks you to support future generations of Malengo Scholars by entering into an Income Share Agreement (ISA). This means that, once you earn a sufficiently high income, you commit to paying a percentage of your income to future Malengo Scholars.

Specifically, once you earn at least EUR 27,000 per year, you contribute 15% of your income for up to 10 years if you completed a Bachelor’s program, and 10% of your income for up to 5 years if you completed a Master’s program. The specific conditions are as follows:

Bachelor’s programs:

  • If your yearly income is at least EUR 27,000 and you live in Germany or another high-income or upper-middle income country, you share 15% of your pre-tax income for 10 years. (All income thresholds are adjusted for inflation on an ongoing basis.) You also pay a EUR 10/month stay-in-touch payment as long as your yearly income is at least EUR 10,332.
  • However, you never share more than 2.5 times what you received from Malengo, i.e. EUR 25,830. In addition, if you do not reach 10 years of repayments in the 30 years after you became a Malengo Scholar, you don’t owe Malengo any more repayments.
  • If you live in a low-income or lower-middle income country and your yearly income is at least EUR 27,000, you share 7.5% of your pre-tax income for 5 years (instead of 15% for 10 years). You also pay the EUR 10/month stay-in-touch payment as long as your yearly income is at least EUR 10,332. Note that the income thresholds of EUR 27,000 and EUR 10,332 are the same in low-income and high-income countries.
    Again you never contribute more than 2.5 times what you received, and if you don’t reach 5 years of repayment in the 30 years after you became a Malengo Scholar, your obligations end.

Master’s programs:

  • If your yearly income is at least EUR 27,000 and you live in Germany or another high-income or upper-middle income country, you share 10% of your pre-tax income for 5 years. (All income thresholds are adjusted for inflation on an ongoing basis.) You also pay a EUR 10/month stay-in-touch payment as long as your yearly income is at least EUR 10,332.
  • However, you never share more than 2.5 times what you received from Malengo, i.e. EUR 25,830. In addition, if you do not reach 5 years of repayments in the 30 years after you became a Malengo Scholar, you don’t owe Malengo any more repayments.
  • If you live in a low-income or lower-middle income country and your yearly income is at least EUR 27,000, you share 5% of your pre-tax income for 2.5 years (instead of 10% for 5 years). You also pay the EUR 10/month stay-in-touch payment as long as your yearly income is at least EUR 10,332. Note that the income thresholds of EUR 27,000 and EUR 10,332 are the same in low-income and high-income countries.
    Again you never contribute more than 2.5 times what you received, and if you don’t reach 2.5 years of repayment in the 30 years after you became a Malengo Scholar, your obligations end.

These summaries give you an overview of the conditions of the Income Share Agreements; the full set of conditions is contained in the actual agreement that we will ask you to sign.

How to apply

If you think this program is for you, here are the next steps:

  1. Check if you are eligible: Apart from the eligibility criteria listed above, if you are applying for Master’s programs, you must have completed a Bachelor’s degree or equivalent at an accredited university. If you are applying for Bachelor’s programs, you need a qualifying secondary school degree and/or prior university experience. You can find out if you are eligible to study in Germany by using the tool at https://www.uni-assist.de/en/tools/check-university-admission.
  2. Choose your programs: Find three Bachelor’s or Master’s programs that you would like to study. We recommend searching for tuition-free, English-taught programs at www.mygermanuniversity.com.
  3. Apply to become a Malengo Scholar at https://students.malengo.org.

Deadline: We do not have a firm application deadline, but we urge you to apply as soon as possible because time is running out for university admission in the Fall 2022 semester. We expect to make the first round of offers based on the applications that have come in on or before May 10, 2022.

What you need for the application

Documents

  1. Your CV. If you don’t have one yet, here are some tips on how to create one.
  2. PDF or picture of your passport picture page.
  3. PDF or picture showing enrollment in a college or university in Ukraine as of February 24, 2022.
  4. PDF or picture of your secondary school degree, including the transcript of grades.
  5. PDF or picture of your most recent university transcript. For Master’s applicants, PDF or picture of your Bachelor’s degree and transcript.

If you have already been admitted to a Bachelor’s or Master’s program in Germany, we will also ask you for a PDF or picture of your offer of admission. Note, though, that we expect that most students will not have been admitted already, and we will guide them through the application process.

If you would like to apply for a Bachelor’s or Master’s program that does charge tuition fees, we will ask you to prove that you can afford these fees by uploading a bank or income statement. However, most Bachelor’s and Master’s programs in Germany do not charge tuition fees, and we expect to mainly support students in these programs.

If you have already complete the TOEFL or IELTS, we will ask you to upload a PDF or picture of those results as well. If you have not yet taken these tests, you can still apply to Malengo; we will help you complete these tests.

Essay questions

We also ask the following questions; you can write up to 500 words for each:

  1. Please explain, for each of your chosen programs, what motivates you to study this subject. Let us know what (if any) exposure you have already had to related topics.
  2. What kind of profession would you like to practice in the future, and how will your chosen degree help you reach it?
  3. Please share some experiences and examples of situations that highlight your achievements and qualifications that are relevant to your chosen programs.

What happens after you apply

After we receive your application, we will screen it and decide if your qualifications and plans make you a promising candidate for funding from Malengo. We will take into account your academic achievement, your extracurricular activities, and your financial need. We aim to fund as many students as possible, and if we have money and believe you can succeed at a German university and are in financial need, we will fund you. We plan to fund both students who are academically excellent, and those who have average grades. This program is intended to reduce hardship and create opportunities; it is not a program only for the elite.

If you are selected as a Malengo Scholar, the following steps await you:

  1. We will look at your chosen programs together with you, and if necessary refine the list. For example, if you only chose programs with tuition fees, we might ask you to add a program without fees; or if you only chose highly competitive programs, we might ask you to add a “safety” program.
  2. We will help you register for and complete the TOEFL test. We will also help you prepare for it (this will be relatively rudimentary though, and you are largely on your own). You need to pay the test fee yourself.
  3. We will help you apply to the programs of your choice. We cannot guarantee that you will be accepted, but we’ll do our best to support you. You are responsible for any possible application fees.
  4. If you get admitted to a program, we will help you set up the locked bank account that is required to obtain a residence permit in Germany, and provide you with the EUR 10,332 that are required as proof of funds during the application. If you are not in Germany, we will help you apply for a student visa. Note that it is easier to obtain a residency permit if you are already in Germany. You are responsible for any possible visa application fees.
  5. Once you start studying, Malengo staff and mentors will help you get settled, find your way around your new university, and find an apartment and a part-time job. We will accompany you throughout your time at university and help you succeed.

Frequently Asked Questions about the Ukraine–Germany Program

Q: Do I need to be a Ukrainian citizen?
A: No; your citizenship does not matter. You must have obtained your secondary school degree in a low-income or lower-middle income country. This includes Ukraine (which is a lower-middle income country), but it also includes a large number of other countries which are listed here.

Q: Do you support medical studies / language courses / doctoral studies?
A: Unfortunately we only support Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees as part of this program.

Q: Do I have to be in Germany to apply?
A: No; you can apply from anywhere as long as you meet our eligibility criteria. Note, however, that it will be easier to obtain a residency permit for Germany if you are already in the country.

Q: I’m still in Ukraine. Can I apply?
A: Yes.

Q: I’m a student who was displaced from Ukraine, and I’m now back in my home country. Can I still apply?
A: Yes.

Q: I’m a student who was displaced from Ukraine, and now I’m in Poland. Can I still apply?
A: Yes.

Q: What is the application deadline?
A: We do not have a firm application deadline, but we urge you to apply as soon as possible because time is running out for university admission in the Fall 2022 semester. We expect to make the first round of offers based on the applications that have come in on or before May 10, 2022.

Q: Can I apply for a course that charges tuition fees?
A: In principle, yes. However, we cannot pay for tuition fees; this program only covers first-year living expenses. You will therefore have to make a case to us that a) you can afford to cover the tuition fees, but b) you are still in financial need and we therefore should fund your living expenses. This is a fine line to walk, and we therefore recommend going for the tuition-free programs at public universities. If you do want to apply for a program that charges tuition, we ask you to submit evidence that you can afford the fees during your application.

Q: Is the country where I got my secondary school degree on your list of eligible countries?
A: A list of low-income and lower-middle income countries is below.

Q: I am a citizen of a low-income country, but I got my high school degree in a high-income country. Can I apply?
A: No; we fund only students who completed their secondary education in a low-income or lower-middle income country.

Q: I got my high school degree in a country that is not on the list of eligible countries. Can I apply?
A: No. You can only apply if you got your high school degree in one of our eligible countries.

Q: I’m was close to finishing my degree in Ukraine. Can I pick up where I left off at a German university, or do I need to do a whole degree from scratch?
A: Universities sometimes give credit for previous studies. Unfortunately it’s very difficult to find out ahead of time whether any given university will do that in your particular case. If you want to make best use of your previous education, our recommendation is to apply to a course that matches closely what you’ve studied before, and then ask the university to give you credit for your previous studies after you have been accepted.

Q: I was halfway through my degree in Ukraine. Can I apply? Do I have to start from zero?
A: You can apply. Your university application will be for a new program, as if you started over; but once you’re admitted, universities sometimes give credit for previous studies.

Q: I don’t have all the documents you ask for.
A: Please submit what you have. If you’re missing a document that you are required to upload, you can instead upload a statement explaining why you do not have the document, and whether and how you will be able to get it. Your chances of success will decrease if we don’t have all documents, but we will give your application the fullest consideration possible.

Q: Can I study engineering/computer science/linguistics/psychology?
A: In principle we support students in any Bachelor’s or Master’s program offered in Germany. You can search for degrees at mygermanuniversity.com. If a degree is listed there, you can apply to it. If you cannot find your desired degree there, then it’s likely that you cannot study it in Germany, and we therefore cannot support you for it. We anticipate that most students whom we will support will apply for zero-tuition programs at public universities.
Note that we only support Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees. One implication of this is that we cannot support other medicine, dentistry, and language courses.

Q: Can I apply for a PhD program?
A: We only support Bachelor’s and Master’s programs. If you want to do a PhD, we recommend finding a professor with whom you want to work, and sending them a personal email to see if they can take you on as a student.

Q: Do I have to know German?
A: Germany offers many Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in English; you don’t have to have any German skills to apply for these. We anticipate that a large majority of students we support will not know German at the time of application.

Q: I want to apply for a Bachelor’s or Master’s program taught in German. Can I do that?
A: Yes. Note that you will have to prove German language skills at level C1. Please upload evidence of this in lieu of the TOEFL or IELTS when you apply to Malengo.

Q: Do I need to submit hardcopies or certified copies of my documents?
A: No; electronic copies (PDFs or pictures) are sufficient. Your documents do not need to be certified.

Q: Can you help me cover the cost of the university applications or the TOEFL/IELTS?
A: To support as many students as possible, we don’t cover these costs. Our thinking is that if you were a university student in Ukraine, you can likely find means to cover these costs. If you have a special hardship, you can let us know and we will consider your request.

Q: I don’t qualify for Malengo’s Ukraine–Germany program, but would still like to get help in applying to a university in Germany.
A: We have put together some resources and a webinar here.

Q: How does the ISA work — do I start making contributions immediately? Or only once I graduate?
A: You make contributions as soon as your income exceeds EUR 27,000 per year (adjusted for inflation). Whether or not you are studying is irrelevant; only your yearly income matters. Before that, there is a stay-in-touch payment of EUR 10 per month if your income exceeds EUR 10,332 per year (adjusted for inflation).

Q: Are the ISA contributions monthly or yearly?
A: Monthly.

Q: How much do I make in total contributions for the ISA?
A: Your total contributions are most 2.5 times what you received (adjusted for inflation). Your total contribution will be less the lower your income is. For example, if you do a Bachelor’s degree and later live in a high-income country and EUR 25,000 per year, you make no contributions at all because your income does not exceed the minimum threshold of EUR 27,000 per year (adjusted for inflation). If you do a Bachelor’s degree and later earn EUR 30,000 per year in a high-income country, your yearly contribution is 15% of EUR 30,000, which translates into a monthly payment of EUR 375. In this case, you will reach the maximum repayment of 2.5 times what you received (EUR 25,830, adjusted for inflation) within 5 years and 9 months, and so you will stop making contributions then.

Q: Where can I ask more questions?
A: You can ask a question in the Malengo Student Forum. Alternatively, you can email us at contact@malengo.org. We’ll do our best to respond to emails, but we can’t guarantee it due to the high volume of emails we receive; the Forum is a better place to get a response.

List of eligible countries

To be eligible for the Ukraine–Germany Program, you must have obtained your secondary school degree in a low-income or lower-middle income country. Note that citizenship does not matter.

Low-income and lower-middle income countries are:

Afghanistan; Burundi; Burkina Faso; Central African Republic; Congo, Dem. Rep.; Eritrea; Ethiopia; Guinea; Gambia, The; Guinea-Bissau; Liberia; Madagascar; Mali; Mozambique; Malawi; Niger; Korea, Dem. People’s Rep.; Rwanda; Sudan; Sierra Leone; Somalia; South Sudan; Syrian Arab Republic; Chad; Togo; Uganda; Yemen, Rep.; Angola; Benin; Bangladesh; Belize; Bolivia; Bhutan; Côte d’Ivoire; Cameroon; Congo, Rep.; Comoros; Cabo Verde; Djibouti; Algeria; Egypt, Arab Rep.; Micronesia, Fed. Sts.; Ghana; Honduras; Haiti; Indonesia; India; Iran, Islamic Rep.; Kenya; Kyrgyz Republic; Cambodia; Kiribati; Lao PDR; Sri Lanka; Lesotho; Morocco; Myanmar; Mongolia; Mauritania; Nigeria; Nicaragua; Nepal; Pakistan; Philippines; Papua New Guinea; West Bank and Gaza; Senegal; Solomon Islands; El Salvador; São Tomé and Principe; Eswatini; Tajikistan; Timor-Leste; Tunisia; Tanzania; Ukraine; Uzbekistan; Vietnam; Vanuatu; Samoa; Zambia; Zimbabwe.