Finance further education properly
Anyone who has decided on further training is faced with the question of how they can bear the costs. There are several possibilities for this, whereby it must always be looked at the individual case, which could be the best in each case. Particularly in the case of smaller educational programmes, extensive support options should be avoided where repayment is due. For large undertakings, recourse to education loans is a good idea, because here one should assume that an investment has been made, so that after successful completion, further education can be maintained in such a way that significantly better salaries can be achieved.
The trend is clear: In 2018, the Federal Institute for Vocational Education and Training (BiBB) stated that people would spend nearly 18 billion euros on continuing vocational training every year. Most employers provide financial support for their employees’ continuing training. This shows that continuing training is highly valued and many benefit from it.
Getting the employer on board
Apart from the sum calculated by the BiBB, it can be stated that further training courses can often only be financed in part independently. Employers are happy to financially support the further training of their employees, especially when they realise that further training is also in the interest of the company.
The BiBB states this in figures:
In 2015 there were approx. 381 € per person as self-supporting costs.
This corresponds to about one percent of the average gross annual earnings of fully employed persons.
The majority of the individually borne funds were spent on formal education and advanced training courses.
However, these forms of continuing training are rarely co-financed by employers (see BiBB 2018).
In addition, individual financing options are available in companies – even indirectly. Popular options are, for example, educational leave and applied for subsidies from companies, which in turn are taken over by the federal states. Companies can also make their own financial resources available.
Support through funding programmes
There are several programmes in Germany to finance continuing education. These can be used depending on the individual case. It is important to inform yourself about all modalities in advance in order not to use programs whose benefits are not in proportion to the (financial) expenditure.
The most important financing possibilities are:
Continuing Education Grant,
Programme “Further training of low-skilled and older workers employed in enterprises”.
These programmes are funded by the federal government. There are also other programmes provided by the individual Länder. For example, these include the education voucher in Brandenburg or the further education bonus 2020 in Hamburg. So it is best to find out more from your respective federal state.
The IRS, too!
The tax office makes financing possible, albeit rather indirectly, because perceived further education programmes can be tax deductible. This means that you can save taxes if you take part in further education and present the corresponding proof of this.
Investments that pay off
The financing of further education is usually not a problem. First of all, you should ask your company about the possibilities of funding. In further steps you should look at the programmes of the federal and state governments. Last but not least, you can also contact relatives and acquaintances and perhaps get a loan from them. There are also educational loans that are provided by banks. But you should be careful here. Such a loan has to be paid back over a longer period of time. You should only use this possibility if you have no chance with the other perspectives or if the further education should be so expensive that a bank loan is inevitable. Small loans could also be considered in this way. But as I said: As a rule, the financing programmes described above are sufficient.
In all cost calculations, bear in mind that you are not only paying for courses or examinations. You must also have money available for other things than what you have:
Also remember that you have no right to training if it affects your work. Therefore, it is necessary to sound out the prospects together with the responsible managers beforehand.
It is best to focus on the benefits of further training in the discussions that the company will draw from the training. The employer can also be a potential lender. The main advantage of this is that repayment is usually arranged in such a way that the monthly instalments are deducted directly from the salary.
Always remember that the effort and benefit should at least be in proportion. It is of course best if the benefits clearly outweigh the effort – in the long term, of course.
One more note: If the initiative for further training comes from the employer, the employer has to bear all costs.