Visa Crunch

International Students Enrolment In German Universities Increased In 2020-21

The latest Wissenschaft Weltoffen 2021 analysis from the German Academic Exchange Service (or DAAD) and the German Centre for Higher Education Research and Science Studies confirms the positive number of international students in Germany this year.

The DAAD projects a total enrolment of little under 3,25,000 at that time, using the 2020/21 winter semester as a baseline. This reflects a roughly 1.5 per cent year-over-year surge and a cumulative gain of nearly 7.5 per cent from (pre-pandemic) enrolment in 2018/19 to 2020/21.

Despite this general development, the number of students graduating declined by around -20% year-over-year. Approximately seven out of ten international students in Germany attend universities, with the rest 29 per cent attending a university for scientific disciplines.

Approximately seven out of ten international students in Germany attend universities, with the rest 29 per cent attending a university for scientific disciplines.

The repercussions of Covid-related deferments over 2020 and 2021, the significant drop in visa approvals for short-term studies (and a corresponding rise in the number of students pursuing degrees in Germany), and the rising numbers of students studying remotely via online programs offered by German institutions are all factors driving those contrasting developments in total enrolment and commencements.

As per the DAAD, German higher education institutions have significantly expanded their online study programs, and the proportion of first-year overseas students pursuing online studies from outside of Germany has climbed from 14% in 2019 to 24% this year.

“The current figures show that international students continued to trust Germany as a study location, also during the Covid-19 pandemic. In addition to our member institutions’ great commitment, this was due to the fact that higher education institutions have made significant progress with regards to digitization in the past year. This puts them in an excellent position to compete for the most talented minds around the world, once the coronavirus pandemic is over”, said DAAD President Professor Dr. Joybrato Mukherjee while commenting on the latest updates.

Nonetheless, the drop in the starting will be a matter of concern for German educators, as the overall international student population is now more heavily weighted in upper-year courses. Barring a more substantial increase in commencements for the forthcoming intakes, the current imbalance may put greater downward pressure on the aggregate enrolment in the coming years as more students complete their studies.

Asia continues to be the greatest source region for German higher education and, along with North Africa and the Middle East, the primary driver of overall enrolment increase in Germany.

According to the DAAD, China (approximately 41,000 students) was the major country sending students to Germany in 2020, followed by India (25,000), Syria (15,000), Austria (12,000), and Russia (10,500). Since 2010, the number of overseas students in Germany has increased by more than 80%.

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