TestAS, uni-assist and onSET for refugees

Norbert Hüttermann/DAAD

By waiving examination and processing fees for TestAS, uni-assist and the online assessment test onSET-Deutsch and onSET-English, the DAAD has taken an important step towards successfully integrating refugees in Germany’s higher education system.

Academically inclined refugees arrive with widely varying language abilities and skills. Precisely determining what these abilities are, whether they qualify them for study and where support is needed, facilitates integration into regular degree programmes and contributes to academic success.

Therefore, the DAAD in cooperation with its partners uni-assist e.V. and the TestDaF Institute of the Society for Academic Preparation and Test Development (g.a.s.t.) has implemented important measures to assess the skills and determine the level of academic qualification of the refugees.

Recognising skills and qualifications

The first component “Recognising skills and qualification” serves as the basis for admission to a degree programme and is comprised of three key measures:

  • Accelerating the university admissions process
  • Determining scholastic aptitude
  • Assessing subject-specific language proficiency

Accelerating the university admissions process

Applicants who hold a foreign school-leaving certificate and wish to gain admission to one of the 170 member universities of the uni-assist association are required to submit their application materials through uni-assist. This also applies to refugees. In addition to providing academically interested refugees with the information they need, universities are faced with an enormous demand for advising services.

Therefore, the capacities of uni-assist have been expanded and applications submitted by refugees will now be processed at no charge, provided the applicants hold a TestAS certificate or “consultation certificate” issued by the respective university. Uni-assist is simultaneously developing a special information and registration portal for refugees.

Click here for more information on the uni-assist application process for refugees.

Determining scholastic aptitude

The Aptitude Test for Academic Studies (TestAS) measures a candidate's general and subject-related cognitive abilities and can be used to assess scholastic aptitude. It helps the universities integrate students directly into degree programmes or provide them with specific preparatory measures. It also allows selection committees to evaluate candidates whose application documents are missing or lost. Applicants who pass the TestAS are eligible to apply for university admission through uni-assist at no charge.

The responsible TestDaF Institute offers both fixed and flexible testing dates on which refugees may take the TestAS for free. The test has also been translated into Arabic to provide the largest group of refugees the chance to take the test in their native language.

Click here for more information on the TestAS for refugees.

Assessing subject-specific language proficiency

Prospective students need very good German language skills to study at a German university, as well as knowledge of English for English-language degree programmes. For this reason, most refugees are required to complete a language course before being admitted to their desired degree programme. For years, the TestDaF Institute has administered the onSET-Deutsch (previously called OnDaF) and the onSET-English tests to assess candidates’ language proficiency and determine their placement in a preparatory language course. The testing fees are paid by the German federal government.

Click here for more information on the online placement tests onSET-Deutsch and onSET-English for refugees.

Contact partners at the DAAD

If you have any questions about these procedures, the following contact partners would be happy to assist you.

Katharina Fourier

Head of section
Telefon: +49 (228) 882-259
E-mail: fourier@daad.de

Tina Bauer

Programme advisor
Telefon: +49 (228) 882-442