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German Universities Shrinking – Or Not?

Aurora Brief Reviews No. 07 April 25 2019

April 2019


The Expert Council of German Foundations on Integration and Migration has published a report with infographics on “How Germany’s shrinking universities attract and retain international students”. The title may be seen as misleading given what is said in the documents and infographics: 41 out of 263 universities see declining domestic enrolment; out of these, 26 (10% of the total) are seeking compensation through international recruitment – mostly universities that are less well known internationally. With no fee differentiation between EU and non-EU students, this might trigger a renewal of the discussion on costs and benefits of international students for the German society, economy and tax payers. A study commissioned by the DAAD on The Financial Impact of Cross-border Student Mobility on the Economy of the Host Country showed that even in the (almost) tuition free German context, international students have a positive net impact on the host country’s economy and finance (reviewed in VU IN&R 22, February 2014). Let us see if a renewed discussion – if it ensues – will use such evidence-based reports.


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