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Semester of leave

Semester of leave

What is a semester of leave?

A semester of leave is an official study interruption in which, as a rule, no course work can be completed. It isn’t taken into account in regard to the standard period of study and doesn’t count as a semester.

An official study interruption may be necessary for a variety of reasons, including:

  • Illness
  • Stay abroad
  • Family-related reasons
  • Participation in the student self-administration

You can take semesters of leave for a total of four semesters. During this time, you are not allowed to provide proof of performance and examinations. A leave of absence is not permitted in the first semester. You can submit your leave request until the end of the re-registration period for the corresponding semester – at the latest within one month after the start of lectures.

The formal requirements for a semester of leave may be interpreted differently at the universities. Therefore, you should inquire directly at your respective university!

Effects on study financing

You don’t have student status in all respects during a semester of leave – despite the fact that you are a registered student.


The BAföG office must be informed about the semester of leave that has been taken by all means, as there is no entitlement to BAföG! If you take a retroactive leave of absence and have already received BAföG for this period, the BAföG office will reclaim the money.

Health insurance

If you have family insurance through your parents, you can continue to use this insurance; the same applies to a compulsory student insurance. However, the income limit due to marginal employment must also be taken into account here, otherwise the compulsory insurance for employees will apply.

If you have private health insurance through your parents (allowance), please note the following point about child benefit, since the allowance and child benefit are directly related. This means that if the child benefit ceases to exist, the entitlement to allowance ceases to exist, too.

Child benefit

Initially, there is no entitlement to child benefit during a semester of leave, but there are a few exceptions.

There is no entitlement to child benefit if you take leave for the following reasons:

  • Committee work
  • Parenting
  • Employment

Child benefit is still available if you take leave for these reasons:

  • Illness
  • Internship (study-related)
  • Exam preparation
  • Language acquisition abroad
  • Maternity protection period

The detailed rules can be found in the Directive on Child Benefit, paragraph A 15 (german only).


The working student status doesn’t apply – this means: if you regularly earn more than € 450 from a mini job, the full social security obligation as an employee will apply; a possible family insurance or compulsory student insurance doesn’t apply (Health insurance).

Unemployment benefit I / ALG II / Housing benefit

Since there is no BAföG entitlement, you have the option to apply for either ALG I, ALG II or housing benefit – of course, subject to the respective requirements (e.g. entitlement to ALG I, availability, neediness, ...).

(Half-)orphan's pension

There is no claim. There has to be an actual training; the time must be devoted to studying.

Student loans

Whether you’ll further on receive your student loan during a semester of leave varies from provider to provider (usually not). The decisive factor might be the reason for your leave of absence.