Renewed growth in international students and first-year students in Germany

DAAD Quick Survey

The number of international students at German universities has continued to rise in the current winter semester. According to the quick survey by the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD), around 360,000 to 370,000 international students are currently enrolled, a new high. According to Corona, the number of international first-semester students in particular has grown strongly: according to DAAD projections, it is between 75,000 and 85,000. 180 universities from all over Germany had taken part in the survey. 

"The figures once again prove that the universities in Germany are extremely attractive for international students. The Federal Republic of Germany appears to have settled steadily into fourth place among the most popular study destinations worldwide. This is particularly a credit to the German universities, their staff and students, who are working with persistent commitment on the internationalisation of academia and the welcoming culture in Germany," said DAAD President Professor Joybrato Mukherjee. "Particularly in view of the upcoming Skilled Worker Immigration Act, it is important to provide even more support for international students before they enter university and during their studies, as well as to promote them during their transition into the labour market and to reduce bureaucratic hurdles in employment and residence titles. We must encourage and provide the best possible support to all students who aspire to a career in Germany after graduating from university, also in our own best interest."

70 per cent of higher education institutions report stable or rising numbers

According to DAAD projections based on the survey, around half of the higher education institutions reported increases of at least five or more per cent in the number of international students enrolled with the intention of graduating. At one third of the universities, the numbers remained stable. At 18 percent of the universities, there was a significant decrease, and at nine percent, a slight decrease. Based on the feedback from the universities, the DAAD is forecasting between 355,000 and 365,000 international students for the current winter semester. Compared to the previous winter semester, this is an increase of two to four per cent; last year's growth was around eight per cent. Even the slight decline in growth is a good sign, says DAAD President Mukherjee: "After the delays caused by the Corona pandemic, more international students have again successfully completed their studies in Germany and set off on their professional careers."

First-year students at pre-Corona level

The recovery of student mobility to Germany is particularly evident when looking at international first-year students. According to the DAAD forecast, there were 76,000 to 85,000 international first-year students at German universities, compared to 74,000 in the last winter semester (2021/2022). This represents an increase of between three and 15 per cent. For new Master's students in particular, many universities reported increases of over ten percent. This means that the pre-Corona level has been reached or exceeded for first-year students from abroad. In the winter semester 2019/2020, around 78,000 international students had begun their studies in Germany. 

DAAD Quick Survey for the Winter Semester 

For the quick survey for the winter semester, the DAAD surveyed around 290 state-recognised German higher education institutions from the beginning to the middle of December and received 180 responses. Around 65 per cent of all international students in Germany are enrolled at the universities with feedback. Based on the responses, the DAAD prepared a projection for all German higher education institutions.


DAAD - Deutscher Akademischer Austauschdienst - German Academic Exchange Service