|# of Students:||2,500,000*|
|# of Int. Students:||250,000*|
|# of Institutes:||420|
|Education Expenditure:||51‰ of GDP|
|Academic Year:||Runs from October to September|
The German higher education system stands out with the wide range of different kinds of higher education institutions that it offers. You can choose from traditional universities (Universitäten), universities of applied sciences (Fachhochschulen) and specialized universities (e.g. for education, arts etc.). Most of these higher education institutions are public institutions. But higher education institutions supported by the church also exist, while recent years have seen the range of private universities grow.
All German public universities charge an administration fee, the so-called 'Semesterbeitrag', which is different from the actual tuition fee. The administration fee is approximately 200 and usually includes a public transportation fee and some social security contributions.
The tuition fee at public universities differs from state to state. Universities in Bavaria, for example, do not charge a tuition fee while universities in Lower Saxony only charge a tuition fee if students exceed the regular duration of their study by more than 3 semesters. As the state law can always change, it is advisable to check the universities' website for the most up-to-date information.
In some federal states you are asked to pay up to 500 every semester (2012: Bavaria & Lower Saxony), while more are less all universities charge about 200 per semester administration fee. If the studies take longer than planned, some universities request approx. 500 each semester from those students.
For private universities and non-consecutive programmes (studies you follow after work experience) fees usually apply.
In general, however, it can be said that the German higher education is belongs to the most inexpensive ones in Europe.
Students that require a visa to study in Germany have to provide a financial statement to the German embassy, proving that they can afford the educational and living expenses. The German embassy approximately requires a proof of 600-700 per month (or 8000@ per year). This proof of financial resources can be provided in various ways, for example through a security payment deposited in a German blocked bank account, or an official document stating the formal obligation of the student's parents to cover the expenses. German universities usually have an international office which will be able to provide further information on this topic.
The basic requirement for admission is a complete secondary education equivalent to Abitur degree, which is awarded by national schools to the 1819-year-old graduates. The maximum age threshold for students is 35 years.
Applicants from EU countries and from the European Economic Area:
In general, if your school leaving certificate (possibly in conjunction with a university entrance exam) entitles you to study in your home country, this is also accepted when you apply for a study place in Germany.
Applicants from non-EU countries (third countries) and stateless persons:
To qualify for admission to studies at a German higher education institution you must be able to prove that you hold a higher education entrance qualification with which you can be admitted to higher education in your home country. This would be a secondary school leaving certificate. This certificate must be recognised as equivalent to the German higher education entrance qualification called Abitur. You can check whether your higher education entrance qualification is equivalent to the German qualification by going to the DAAD Admissions data base or to the KMK database.
If your certificate is not recognised as equivalent, you must take an assessment test called "Feststellungsprüfung".
The first few days in Germany are certainly very interesting, but also very strenuous. Universities offer various support services to help you settle in and feel at home. For example, many Student Services (Studentenwerke) run a Newcomer Service, which, for example, provides you with a tutor or helps you cope with bureaucratic formalities. A special service for newcomers is also offered by the International Offices, the Student Councils and other organisations. They organise excursions, welcome parties and evening get-togethers. Take up such invitations. They are the best way to make contacts quickly.
Students: All students are obliged to have health insurance up to the 14th full study semester (Fachsemester) or up to a maximum age of 30 years. This means that the statutory (public) health insurance fund has to insure you at favorable student rates up to this point in time. Statutory health insurance premiums for students lie at around 280 Euros per semester. You must pay the sum to the health insurance carrier before you register at your institution. If you are older than 30 years of age when you enter Germany, you must make sure that you insure yourself with a private health insurance company.
The Social Counselling Service of your Student Services Organisation (Sozialberatung des Studentenwerks) tells you when you have to pay social security contributions (statutory health insurance, nursing care insurance, accident insurance, unemployment insurance and pension insurance). This is also where you can find out whether your insurance covers you sufficiently when you take up a temporary job or do an internship or work placement. You can also find good advice at the Student Council's Social und Legal Advice Department (Sozial- und Rechtsberatung).
Germany offers international, highly-qualified PhD students, junior researchers and senior scientists outstanding working and career conditions. Some branches are looking for highly-qualified foreigners who can, under certain conditions, immediately receive a residence permit. In this context, highly-qualified means academics, scientists and researchers with particular subject or specialist knowledge plus academic and research staff in key positions. In the field of research and development, in particular, the proportion of foreign staff is already very high at 8% to 10%.
Although the Germany economy is historically based on industry, the service-oriented sector is growing exponentially. In the past thirty years, the service industry grew from a 40 percent share of the gross national product to 65 percent. The German government has been slow to recognize these shifts, and many German industries, such as IT and sales and marketing, are now scrambling for qualified employees.
The national government has begun to reform the general framework of its policies to solve Germanys lack of skilled labor. The Bündnis für Arbeit, or German Federal Labor Office, seeks to decrease non-wage labor costs, promote company tax reform, and reform salary policies to support the growth of employment. The top five German industries are biotechnology and genetics, information technology and multimedia, finance and marketing, general service, and health services.
Despite the countrys lack of trained employees, unemployment rates in Germany are high. Although the average rate is ten percent, the Eastern portion of the country sustains an unemployment rate of 18 percent. This discrepancy is due to the economic gap still present more than a decade after the Berlin Wall fell.
In Germany, there are various amounts of activities for students. It is a wonderful place where students are the one third of the population. Germany has plenty of cafes, restaurants and entertainment centers. Students get a lot of opportunities to socialize with other students. Universities offer lot of activities that includes arts, music, sports and cinema.
Students never have shortage of things to do. Students can form group and move in or around the city to explore Germany. Some activities students can do can be listed as tracking, bowling, to boat tours and museums visit. Students are advised to participate in all the events and programs. This kind of participation would give you enough opportunity to interact and make up your social groups.
Students have internet access from the hostel where they stay, by paying additional fee. Internet cafes are also easily available. Students have full access to internet in their computer labs.
Germany has good transportation system .Students can purchase a valid pass for 50 EUR and travel by buses, subways and trams. Germany has one of the best transportation systems in Europe. Students normally live within walking distance of universities.
Finding a place to live
In Germany there are basically four types of accomodation: student dormitories, shared flats ('Wohngemeinschaft' or 'WG'), one-room flats and individual apartments. Prices vary between 300-1300, depending on the type of accomodation and the city. In major cities, in particular, accommodation can be in very short supply and so expensive. Ask your student services (Studentenwerk) about accommodation as early as you can (at least 6 months before your studies commence). The student services organisations operate their own student halls of residence at student-friendly terms. These often have Hall of Residence Tutors (Wohnheimtutoren) who help foreign students. In addition, the student services maintain a list of who offers private accommodation in and around town.
Living in a shared flat (WG)
Private shared flats (Wohngemeinschaften WG) are the most popular form of accommodation. Several students look for a flat together and each of them has their own room, while sharing kitchen and bathroom. The housemates also share the rent. Depending on where you study, the rent might change from 150 to 350 euros per month.
If you're looking in major university cities like Munich, Cologne or Hamburg, you should allow yourself enough time to find a room in a WG. It's best to start before you leave home. Start by searching the internet. Numerous portals give a good overview plus the opportunity to send an email directly to a WG.
Visa and Residence Permit
Visa regulations for international students taking up studies in Germany vary from country to country. Please determine as early as possible at a German diplomatic representation in your home country (that is, embassy or consulate) if you need a visa for your studies in Germany. You should do so latest two months in advance of your departure for Germany. If a visa is required, you must not enter Germany on a tourist status.
Germany, Bundesrepublik Deutschland, is a country in Central Europe. It is bordered on the north by the North Sea, Denmark, and the Baltic Sea, on the east by Poland and the Czech Republic, on the south by Austria and Switzerland, and on the west by France, Luxembourg, Belgium and the Netherlands.
Germany is a democratic parliamentary federal republic of 16 states (Bundesländer). The country previously consisted of several sovereign states with their own history, culture, and religious affiliation. Germany was first unified as a nation-state after the Franco-Prussian War in 1871.
The Federal Republic of Germany is a member state of the United Nations, NATO, the G8 and the G4 nations, and is a founding member of the European Union. It has the largest population and largest economy of all European Union member states. Germany is both the world's third largest economy and its largest exporter of goods.