In 2014, Germany’s 16 states abolished tuition fees for undergraduate students at all public German universities. This means that currently both domestic and international undergraduates at public universities in Germany can study for free, with just a small fee to cover administration and other costs per semester.
This good fortune may not last however. In autumn 2017 the south-west state of Baden-Württemberg reintroduced tuition fees for non-EU students, and it’s possible other states will follow suit in the coming years. Non-EU students in Baden-Württemberg must now pay tuition fees of €3,000 (~US$3,500) per year, while those gaining a second degree pay a reduced fee of €1,300 (~US$1,600) per year.
For now, the low fees certainly help to make studying in Germany an attractive option for prospective students, and the country has previously been ranked as the fourth most popular destination for international students in the world (after the US, UK and Australia).
Facts and figures on Germany’s higher education system
Germans somewhat ironically call their own country “the country of poets and thinkers”. Nonetheless: There are around 400 institutions of higher educations in Germany, many of which offer English-taught study programmes - about 1,000 in total. Many German universities score high in international rankings.
Not only can you expect a world-class education when you study in Germany. At most universities, it is even for free. That’s right: No matter what country you come from, most schools offer their education completely free of charge. There are, of course, some exceptions: mostly private schools, or study programmes for students with prior professional experience. Good to know: If you decide to stay and work in Germany after graduation, you can often deduct previous tuition fees from your income tax.
Job market for graduates
Germany is a large economy with countless opportunities for foreign graduates. Unlike many other European nations, Germany's economy is not centered around one or two specific locations. Industrial hubs are scattered across the country: Hamburg is home to trade and media companies; Munich and Stuttgart are strong in automotive and manufacturing; Frankfurt is the leading financial capital. Strangely, Berlin does not have strong industrial presence but has developed into Europe's startup capital over recent years.
Speaking German is almost always a prerequisite especially for entry-level jobs. The common exceptions are jobs in tech/IT, and jobs at internationally oriented startups - particularly in startup hubs like Hamburg or Berlin.
Getting in and out of Germany is uncomplicated: Two of its airports, Frankfurt and Munich, are among the world’s largest, together serving several hundred connections in Europe and the world. Within Europe, both train and bus connections are also a viable option due to Germany's central location and thanks to dense networks of rails and highways.
Germany is located at the heart of Europe, bordering on nine other countries. Clockwise from the North, those are: Denmark, Poland, Czech Republic, Austria, Switzerland, France, Luxemburg, Belgium, Netherlands. That makes Germany an ideal destination if you're eager to explore other parts of Europe, as well.
Within Germany’s cities, you can expect a high standard of public transportation. Most large cities have a subway system, and extensive bus and streetcar line networks are the norm.