International applications down by 20% on last year

Applications from international students for stays at German universities have fallen but still amount to 80% of last year’s total, according to the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD).

Uni-assist, an administration and service organisation which handles preliminary assessments of international student applications, states that, by the deadline of 20 August, just below 60,000 prospective international students had applied for a bachelor or masters degree programme in Germany.

The non-profit organisation uni-assist was founded in 2003 by DAAD, the German Rectors’ Conference (HRK) and a number of German universities. On average, uni-assist processes some 300,000 university applications from over 180 countries and regions around the world each year.

“In order to give as many applicants as possible the opportunity to study in Germany in spite of corona[virus], many of our member universities contributed to making the application process more flexible right from the beginning of the crisis by participating in the online system and extending application deadlines,” said Jens Strackeljan, chairman of the board of uni-assist.

“It is thanks to centralised collaboration through uni-assist that it has been possible to coordinate this at such short notice.”

Joybrato Mukherjee, president of DAAD, said: “In times of crisis such as these, German universities can be seen to have a very solid standing thanks to public funding – not least in terms of their international competitiveness.

“Germany has become a top destination for international students. This is a great opportunity for us: in these difficult times in particular we are able to offer talented young people the prospect of studying at our excellent universities, thereby further increasing our competitiveness as a hub of science and industry.

“We must seize this opportunity now – through speedy admissions and visa procedures as well as by providing sound support for international students at the beginning of their studies and during their stay in Germany.”

The top three source countries for the winter semester of 2020-21 are India, at 8,300 applications for bachelor or masters degree programmes, China at 4,750 and Syria at 3,100.

International applications as a whole had increased from 46,100 from 187 countries for the winter semester 2016-17 to 73,800 from 191 countries for the winter semester 2019-20.

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