Market intelligence for international student recruitment from ICEF
26th Jan 2022

Germany: International enrolments for winter 2022 “much better than expected”

Short on time? Here are the highlights:
  • German universities are reporting stable or increasing total enrolments of international students and there has been a 13%-18% rise in new international students coming to Germany for their first semester of studies
  • Exchange programmes, non-degree programmes, and master’s programmes are seeing the largest increases in international students
  • DAAD President Dr Joybrato Mukherjee commends the hard work of German universities in spurring on the recovery of the sector

German higher education institutions (HEIs) are reporting both a rise in total international student numbers and an increase in new international enrolments for the winter semester of 2021/22.

The German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) reports that at least 330,000 international students are currently enrolled at German universities and colleges of art and music (up from just under 325,000 in winter 2020/21). At least 72,000 and possibly up to 80,000 new international students came to Germany for their first semester this winter, up significantly from around 64,000 in winter 2020/21. This is significantly more growth than was expected before the beginning of the current academic year.

Increases in total and new enrolments in German HEIs. Source: DAAD

The data is based on a DAAD snapshot survey with responses from at least 160 universities spread across Germany’s regions, of which 80% were offering hybrid programme delivery to students. In a press release, DAAD President Professor Dr Joybrato Mukherjee commented,

"The survey of our member universities allows us to look forward to the new year with hope: despite the pandemic, the number of international students in Germany continues to increase. The number of first-year students from abroad has also risen again after declines in the last winter semester. Increases of around 13 percent or more are much better than expected in the summer. These figures are a very good sign for the attractiveness of Germany as a place to study. They also show that the joint commitment of member universities and the DAAD to attracting and supporting international students is paying off, especially during the worst pandemic in 100 years."

Seven in ten HEIs reported that their international student numbers have either remained stable (40%) or grown (31%). Some important source markets contributed to that growth trend – notably, Turkey, Iran, India, Italy, and France – while others sent fewer students in the current semester (China, Syria, and Cameroon).

The notable rise in first-semester international students is especially due to students returning to exchange programs and non-degree programmes, areas that had taken a serious hit in the worst phases of the pandemic and travel restrictions. Of the nearly half of universities saying these numbers have increased, 40% said they have increased by over 10%. Significantly more international students have also begun master’s programmes with German universities this winter.

For additional background, please see:

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