Student Enrollment at German Universities Sees Decline For 2nd Consecutive Year

Germany Europe Higher Education News International Studies by Erudera News Dec 02, 2023

München, Germany

German higher education institutions have seen a decline in student enrollment for the second consecutive year, recent data by Destatis, the official German statistical office, has shown.

Data reveals that a total of 2,871,500 students were enrolled at universities in Germany in the winter semester of 2023/2024. This represents a 1.7 percent decrease compared to the previous year, when the number of enrolled students was 2,920,300,

A report by, the largest resource for international students seeking information on studying in Germany, shows that the number of students had dropped by 2.5 percent compared to the winter semester of 2021/2022, when 2,946,100 students attended German higher education institutions.

Destatis points out that the decline in enrollment varies between types of universities, revealing that in the winter semester of 2023/2024, there was a 2.4 percent drop in students at universities and equivalent universities compared to the previous year, and a 0.5 percent decrease at universities of applied sciences.

57,800 students enrolled at administrative colleges in the winter of 2023/23, a 3.0 decline compared to the previous year.

Differently, at art colleges, the number increased by 1.9 percent to 37,400 students. The number of first-year students has also slightly increased this winter semester by 1.2 percent.

“In the 2023 academic year (summer semester 2023 and winter semester 2023/24), 479,300 people began studying at a German university for the first time, which was 5,600 more than in the 2022 academic year (473,700) and 6,900 more than in the 2021 academic year (472,400),” the report by Destatis states.

Destatis attributes the surge in first-year students to the influx of international students.

“The increase in the number of first-year students in the 2022 academic year was largely due to an increase in the number of foreign students who came to Germany to start their studies,” Destatis said.

Despite the overall decline in domestic enrollment, the number of international students at German education institutions continues to grow. This year, Germany welcomed a total of 458,210 international students, a notable rise of around 18,000 students compared to the previous year.

Over the past decade, from the 2013/14 academic year to 2023, the number of international students in Germany has witnessed an increase of 52 percent, especially after the introduction of tuition-free education in 2014, which decision led to an increase in the number of international students from 301,350 to 458,210.

The latest data released by the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) showed that Germany has become the third most popular country for international students after welcoming nearly 370,000 international students in the 2022/2023 winter semester.

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