German Students Without Abitur Are Enrolling at Universities More Than Ever


More German students than ever, without an Abitur, are choosing to attend a university in the last three years.

Approximately 64,000 people without an Abitur, a qualification granted at the end of secondary education in Germany to students who pass their final exams, have enrolled in German universities in 2019, marking an increase of 1,750 people compared to the previous year, reports.

According to CHE Center for University Development, among newly enrolled students, women were predominant, with a 49 percent rate.

The new students are usually up to ten years older than their counterparts with an Abitur. On average, the freshmen without an Abitur are 30 years old, and their choice of study is applied sciences, inlay, economics, or social sciences.

Based on the study, Hamburg has the most first-year students without an Abitur, at 5.3 percent out of the total. The second and third are Thuringia and Bremen’s states with 4.9 and 4.5 percent of students with professional backgrounds. Schleswig-Holstein and Baden-Württemberg follow with 1.4 percent and Saarland listed the last with 1.3 percent.

The freshmen’s favorite national universities to earn a bachelor’s diploma at are eight private colleges and two public institutions. The Fern Universität in Hagen still leads the list.

In 2019, two-thirds of all freshmen without an Abitur picked a university of applied sciences, 29 percent attended a university.

Abitur is a qualification certificate granted by college-preparatory schools in Germany. The document is granted to students after they have passed the final exams of their high school.

It is approximately equivalent to A-levels, the Matura or the International Baccalaureate Diploma. For students to complete an Abitur, they need to attend 33 hours of classes per week, with difficulty depending on the student’s courses. Estonia and Lithuania provide their students with Arbitur, too.

Recently, the German government has stated a positive impact of the Bologna Process in a national report. The Bologna Process effect has been most evident in science, research, and innovation, teaching education.

During a meeting on March 10, the federal and state government praised the progress, announcing student enrollments have increased by 50 percent and brought new international students, the number of which is about 400,000.

A significant increase in student enrollments has occurred between the winter semester 2017/18 and the summer semester 2020, despite the COVID-19 pandemic.

Students’ continuous interest in German universities showcases that they have maintained their professionalism and adapted to digitalization.

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