Scrapped tuition fees boost Germany’s popularity

The absence of tuition fees at most universities in Germany appears to be the chief aspect international students consider when making their choice of where to study, ahead of the quality of higher education offered. The key consideration in funding their study period abroad is being allowed to work part-time, a recent study found.

A total of 4,339 students from abroad were asked for the international student’s guide, Studying in Germany, why they would prefer German universities. At 35.3%, low fees or no fees at all figured highest as a reason for their choice, followed by high-quality education and professional academic staff (29.3%), an increasing number of programmes in English and the large number of international students already in the country (20.4%), and regarding Germany as a beautiful country to visit and explore (15.1%).

A second question referred to financing costs associated with their studies. Being allowed to work part-time to support one’s studies appears to make Germany more attractive for international students than other countries, and the largest share of students in the survey (37.5%) said they planned to seek part-time employment. A further 29% referred to savings, family support and other personal funds, while 24.3% stated that they would rely on a scholarship and 9.2% wanted to take out a student loan.

Students were also asked what they planned to do after graduating. Germany’s good career options were referred to by 69.2% as a reason to stay on in the country, while 16.5% said they would immediately return to their home country and 14.3% explained that they wished to stay on in Germany for a while to visit interesting places.

Around 350,000 international students were enrolled at German universities in 2017, and their numbers had increased by 37% over the previous 10-year period. Germany’s total student population is at slightly over 2.8 million.

Tuition fees have been scrapped in most federal states, although they were reintroduced for non-European Union students in Baden-Württemberg by Theresia Bauer, Green higher education minister, and also in North-Rhine Westphalia in 2017. In Saxony, individual universities can opt for or against fees for non-EU international students.

See the Studying in Germany site at this link.

Michael Gardner Email: