GERMANY’S GENEROUS OFFER
table to show that you’re going to be
able to support yourself financially “
You need to put the money on the
Universities are also working to attract international post-docs
and professors to settle in to German campuses – and
by doing so boost research quality. For example, Georg-
August-University’s Welcome Centre in Göttingen – part of
the European Commission’s pan-European EURAXESS -
Researchers in Motion initiative – provides support for those
staying at least one month on matters from banking, pension
rights, day care, schooling and family-related issues to taxa-tion,
unemployment and work permits.
To fee or not to fee
In 2018, the state of Baden-Württemberg introduced fees
for non-EU international students. Per semester, students are
charged around €1,500 – a nominal sum compared with fees
in certain other countries. Immediately international student
numbers dropped in the state as a whole – seven universities
in the region lost a third of their international students and
the state saw a drop of 19 per cent.
For the time being, Germany is not taking its educational
offer as a commercial export product, says Frank Ziegele,
executive director of Centre for Higher Education, one of
the organisations involved in the development of the U-Multirank
index of higher education.
14 | THE PIE REVIEW | ISSUE #24
“In most German states we have a formula-based public
funding of universities. And usually the number of students
and graduates plays a crucial role,” he says. Universities that
lack domestic students due to demographic changes can
look to international students as compensation, he says.
But universities in Baden-Württemberg are confident
that numbers will bounce back, while some recorded little
impact from the introduction of fees. At the University of
Freiburg, 2,952 students from non-EU countries were enrol-led
in 2018/19 up from 2,840 in 2016/17 before fees, while
the University of Stuttgart saw numbers rise slightly from
835 in 2016/17 to 859 students in 2017/18.
With money raised from fees, the University of Stuttgart
has introduced services aiming to “enhance study success
and reduce the drop-out rate of international students”,
while others like the University of Freiburg have brought in
language, intercultural competence training courses and a
mentoring program. The University of Mannheim says its
services prepare students for their studies and their entry
into the labour market via its “Step and Step” program.
Along with subsidies for intensive German language
courses during semester breaks, the University of Hohen-heim
will donate part of €40,000 raised from fees in the last
winter semester to introduce “Tuition Fees Scholarships”
for nationals from African, Caribbean and Pacific states and
“Least Developed” countries.
Still, the introduction of fees have resulted in fears of
diversity on campuses being negatively affected, while some
have suggested students from the global south will be less
inclined to choose to study in the region.
Despite not having to pay tuition fees in other states,
funding the cost of living can be limiting for some students.
“German diplomatic missions abroad ask for money to be
put into a blocked account for students to be issued with
visa,” Bickl explains. “In other words, you need to put the
money on the table to show that you’re going to be able to
support yourself financially for the next three years without
recourse to public funds.”
Smaller towns often provide better
living conditions than larger cities,
according to Schnabel