Stay in the loop! Subscribe to our mailing list

Germany, attracting ever more talent from abroad

In the academic year 2010/11 Germany registered further growth in the number of foreign degree-seeking students it hosted, according to the most recent Wissenschaft Weltoffen report (2012 edition), which was jointly released earlier this month by the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) and the HIS Institute of Higher Education Research (HIS-HF). As the report shows, the 2010/11 total – 252 032 foreign students, i.e. more than a quarter of a million – represented an all-time-high for Germany, and corresponded to 11.4% of the total student population in the country. However, in line with the report’s tradition, this total figure includes both foreign nationals who were previously educated outside of Germany (the so-called Bildungsausländer), as well as those educated within the country (the Bildungsinländer). Naturally then, the group of foreign students that actually came to Germany for higher education studies (the Bildungsausländer) is smaller than the grand total, counting 184 960 students. Nevertheless, one in ten university students in Germany continues to be a Bildungsausländer, while their share of students at universities of applied sciences (Fachhochschulen), which registered impressive overall growth, stood at 5.9%. Also, one in four foreign students in Germany is enrolled in postgraduate (mainly masters level) degree programmes.

As for the countries of origin of Bildungsausländer, we find China, Russia, Bulgaria, Poland, and Austria at the top. Turkey only comes sixth, probably because most Turkish students enrolled in German higher education had pursued their prior education in this country, many of them actually being born in Germany. The number of Eastern Europeans at German higher education institutions continues to drop (by 3%), while that of Western Europeans continues to grow (by 10%), although the first group still outnumbers the second. As in the past, engineering remains the subject field with the highest foreign enrolment at Fachhochschulen, but is also the field of study with the highest growth rate among all at universities, i.e. 11% compared to last year.

Regarding the outflows, 115 000 German students went abroad in the same academic year, in the pursuit of a higher education degree, i.e. 8% more than in the previous year. Close to half of them were to be found in three countries alone, namely Austria, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom (UK). German students seemed to prefer the Netherlands for bachelor level studies, the UK for masters’ and Switzerland for doctorates.

The 2012 edition of the report also includes a special section which focuses on the largest group of foreign nationals attending higher education in Germany – the Chinese students.

Wissenschaft Weltoffen