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International enrolments stagnate in German higher education

The enrolment of foreign students in Germany is developing somewhat disappointingly. The 2008 edition of Wissenschaft weltoffen, Germany’s equivalent to the US Open Doors publication, reports 246,000 international students in 2006/07, down by about 2,000 on the previous (and so far best) year.  With this figure, and a 12.4 percent share of international students, Germany still remains one of the world’s top ‘exporters’ of higher education. But growth has come to an erstwhile halt, and particularly the number of new entrants, with a drop of 12 percent compared to two years earlier, does not bode well.

China is the no.1 market for German universities and colleges, followed by Turkey, and a host of countries from central and eastern Europe, Germany’s ‘backyard’. But it is above all in these ‘strongholds’ (with the exception of China) that the country lost students in 2006/07. Overall, about half of the country’s foreign students come from Europe (east and west), and about one third from Asia. Africa and the Americas play a relatively small role, with shares of 11 and 6 percent respectively.

In the same year, foreign enrolment in the UK rose by 5.5 percent and by about 3 percent in the US.

Wissenschaft weltoffen 2008