Seven in ten foreign students plan to stay in Germany after graduation

Short on time? Here are the highlights:

  • A survey of prospective students finds that affordability is key factor for those considering study in Germany
  • In particular, the country’s free-tuition policies for higher education continue to play an important role in student choice
  • So too does the option to stay and work in Germany after graduation, with a clear majority of respondents intending to stay on after their studies

Germany is one of the world’s top study destinations – the sixth largest by foreign enrolment, in fact, after only the US, UK, Australia, China, and Canada. During the 2016/17 academic year, the country reached its long-term goal to host 350,000 international students by the year 2020, and a full three years ahead of target at that.

Earlier this year, the online student guide Studying-in-Germany.org surveyed nearly 4,400 prospective students to learn more about the decision making and goals of foreign students planning to study in Germany.

As the following chart illustrates, more than a third of the survey respondents (35.3%) said that the main reason they chose to study in Germany was the free-tuition (or low-tuition) fee policies of the country’s universities. Germany higher education has been tuition free since October 2014, and remains so in most states today. The exceptions are the states of Baden-Württemberg and North-Rhine Westphalia, where tuition fees have since been reintroduced for non-European Union students. A third state, Saxony, allows each of its universities to decide whether or not they will charge tuition fees to non-EU students.


Top reasons why international students choose Germany. Source: Studying-in-Germany.org

The survey found as well that nearly four in ten prospective students (37.5%) plan to finance their studies, in part, through part-time employment in Germany. Another 29% plan to cover their study costs from personal funds, with the balance financing their studies in Germany through scholarships or loans.

When asked to indicate their plans following their studies in the country, almost seven in ten (69.2%) said that they would seek full-time employment and stay for a period of time after graduation. Roughly 17% (16.5%) intend to return to their home countries after finishing their studies.


International student plans after concluding their studies in Germany. Source: Studying-in-Germany.org

For additional background, please see:



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