Interview: Dr Stephanie Nau about our scholarships
by Dr. Stephanie Nau
An insight into Salem's scholarship programme: criteria, offers and the special commitment of our scholars.

What do I need to bring with me as a scholarship holder, who is the programme aimed at?

The idea of Salem's founders was to have an international and social mix of students. Children from low-income families should also have access to a Salem education. Today, Salem's scholarship programme is the largest of its kind in Germany. There are two different types of scholarship:

You can apply for a basic scholarship, which is completely independent of your parents' income and is generally awarded in recognition of special academic achievement or personal commitment. This is a classic merit-based scholarship in the broadest sense of the word (i.e. it can be for academic achievement as well as for excellence in sport, music, theatre or the arts). The basic scholarship is a reduction of 500€ per month from the regular tuition and boarding fees. We are looking for bright minds and outstanding talents to join our school community.

Partial scholarships are higher than the basic scholarship. They are intended to enable children to attend Schule Schloss Salem even if their parents are unable to pay the full fees themselves. Partial Scholarships are therefore based on income. Each family is required to pay a monthly contribution as well as any additional costs incurred. We assume that this monthly contribution is one per cent of the family's gross monthly income. In relative terms, this means that all beneficiary families are charged the same amount.

As the demand for partial scholarships is very high, competition is fierce and so are our selection criteria. Basically, ‘everything has to be right’ for a partial scholarship: academic performance for a start, but not just that. The aspect of personal commitment to others is almost more important. Salem is looking for young people who want to get involved, active citizens concerned about social issues and our future. Finally, someone with interests and talents that fit our activities.

We are regularly asked about full scholarships. These are not part of our scholarship programme, which means that you cannot apply for a full scholarship to Salem. However, there are a very small number of full scholarship holders in our school community, for example orphans who have come to us through the Youth Welfare Office, or children who have fled war. The school decides on these on a case-by-case basis.


What does that mean in concrete terms? 

I would like to emphasize that the scholarship holders should not put themselves under any additional pressure. We see these young people as equal members of the Salem school community, without any additional obligations per se. Of course, we hope that the commitment that was decisive for the award of the scholarship and that the good grades will be maintained. Whenever Salem celebrates or organizes something special, such as an Open House or receptions for parents or important guests, we count on the help of our students and, of course, our scholarship holders. The contribution can be a tour of the campus, a musical performance, or helping to organize the event. I know that we don't necessarily have to ask our scholars to get involved. Almost all of them do it of their own accord, taking on responsibilities in the classroom or in the boarding wings, or holding political office, even becoming school representatives. And when, at some point in the future, an alumnus, or alumna is firmly established in his or her professional life, i.e. has made it big, we are delighted that so many of them give something back to the school. Some donate and support scholars after them, many send their own children or provide opportunities through careers advice.

What other formal/academic requirements do I need to meet?

Scholarship applications are no different from regular applications in this respect: We are a G8 school in Baden-Württemberg. I therefore need an academic qualification for this school. An academic qualification for this type of school is therefore required. As part of the admissions process, we look at each applicant's academic record and what we may need to look for in the next academic year. Where appropriate, we may use assessment tests in a range of subjects.

Is the scholarship application process complicated? What does the school need to know? How do they handle sensitive information?

A scholarship application is not much more complicated than a regular application for a boarding place at Salem. An additional cover sheet asks for the amount of the partial scholarship requested. Parents' income tax returns for the last two years should also be included. We also expect a letter of motivation from the applicant explaining why they wish to attend Salem.

Sensitive data, such as income tax returns, will not leave the Admissions Office or the Headmaster's Office of Schule Schloss Salem and will be destroyed at the end of the process. Scholarship holders are known as such within the school community, although the scholarship amount is not disclosed.

It is possible to apply for a scholarship at Salem throughout the year. An early application will have more chance of success than one submitted late in the school year. We gradually fill up the available places and at some point the beds and teaching places for the coming year are taken, with or without a scholarship, so that we are generally unable to accept anyone else. I can only invite any young person to give it a try.