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7% rise in international students at German universities propelled by ‘above-average growth’ in Asian students

The number of international students at tertiary institutions in Germany increased by seven percent in 2015, continuing the upward trend.

According to the annual “Wissenschaft Weltoffen” report, documenting the mobility of international students in the country, the total number of international students currently stands at 321,569.

The report, published by the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) and the German Centre for Research on Higher Education and Science Studies (DZHW), said that overseas students accounted for 12 percent of the country’s entire student population.

Though students from European countries made up the largest proportion of foreign students at 44 percent, the reported noted an “above-average growth” for students from Asia, with a proportion of 38 percent.

Up to 177,949 Bildungsauslaender (foreign students who went to high school outside of Germany) were enrolled in German universities last year – an increase of 10,815 from the previous year, while there were 57,909 students at universities of applied sciences, reported The PIE News.

The most significant jump came at postgraduate level, with the number of international Master’s students rising to 61,448 in 2015 from 53,406 the year before – an increase of 15 percent, or 8,042.

At Bachelor’s level, international student enrolment rose by eight percent, coming to a total of 47,577.

Jan Kercher, senior researcher for external studies and statistics at DAAD, told The PIE News that Master’s programs were more popular than Bachelor’s programs among foreign students as there were more programs taught in English at postgraduate level.

“There are much more English-taught Master’s programs in Germany, currently 984, than Bachelor’s programs, currently 192,” he said.

The only instance where there were more foreign students in Bachelor’s programs compared to Master’s programs was at universities of applied sciences, with 35,319 undergraduates to 15,814 Master’s students.

As for the country which supplied the most international students to German universities, China remained at the top.

However, 2015 set a couple of new precedents – for the first time, the number of Chinese students exceeded 30,000, accounting for one in eight overseas students.

Another Asian country overtook Russia to become the second highest source of foreign students – India inched ahead with 11,655 students compared to Russia’s 11,534.

According to Kercher, more Indians were interested in pursuing their studies at German higher education institutions due to their good reputation, as well as low costs.

Kercher also attributed the rise in international students to the Excellence Initiative, which was created by the Ministry of Education and the German Research Foundation to attract more foreign students to German universities, as well as to encourage more research collaborations between German and international universities.

Image via Wikimedia Commons 

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