Private universities show increasing development in Germany

The number of private students rises

Around 95 000 students in Germany have decided consciously to study at a private university – in contrast to more than 1.9 million students at public universities. According to the Association for the Promotion of Science and Humanities in Germany only 4.5 percent of all students who study in state-approved universities are enrolled in privately owned institutions. But there are more and more: ten years ago the rate was only 1.4 percent.

More and more students have recognized that private universities represent an attractive alternative to state institution. Whereas a private university lecturer only has to supervise around 30 students at the same time, a lecturer at the public university takes care of more than twice as many students. Moreover, teachers at private institutions are often paid on the basis of performance, from this arises different possibilities for students, mentions Piret Lee, spokeswoman for the Association of Private Universities.

However, studying has its costs

The annual tuition fees range from 4 000 to 12 000 EUR, according to the relevant university’s characteristics. However, many private universities endeavour to provide scholarships to compensate the financial burden, says Andrea Frank from the Association for the Promotion of Science and Humanities in Germany, head of the most comprehensive study on the role and future of private universities in Germany. That generally only prosperous people can afford a private study seems to be a myth.

The new wave of private universities

The wave of foundation of private universities in Germany began in the early nineties and developed rapidly from 2000: the start-ups were more than doubled to 47 and the number of students at private universities quadrupled in that period of time. “This trend will continue in the future, but it will slow down significantly”, estimates Andrea Frank.

Since tuition fees are the principal source of income of private providers, they can quickly get into trouble if they cannot gain enough students. According to the Association, a university has to manage to attract between 1 000 and 1 200 students to offer and finance a sound education in university.

In average two job offers before graduating

About 60 percent of students at private universities complete an economically oriented study. Many of them base their decision on the promise of better opportunities on the labour market. According to statistics, for example, every master graduates in business studies at EBS, University of Economics and Law, has already signed an employment contract still during the studies and has received at least two job offers.



3 thoughts on “Private universities show increasing development in Germany

  1. It is worth noting that at private institutions very often these same teachers teach what at state universities. It is believed that in these first teachers are often willing to help and better treat students. The word “better” is sometimes synonymous with the word “gently”, which in many cases is not true. At a private university relationships based more often on partnership. A student is treated as a partner or even as a value customer, rather than as a ‘necessary evil’, what can be found at state universities.

  2. It is true that private universities have gotten more popular since the last couple years in Germany. Depending on various factors, like some private universities offer subjects, languages or travel abroad that public universities do not offer. Moreover, there are two different kinds of private universities: the one that does not really care about the numerus clausus and its therefore just aiming for the the quite high study fees. the others have really hard intake procedures like assessment centers to just get the best students. Nevertheless, to participate in these procedures the most universities already charge money from the student for tests, which is just not appropriate because knowledge should count more than money when it comes to education.
    However, students at private universities do learn from the same books like public students. Although, in most of the cases private students will have better job opportunities in the end, based on the broad network of their universities towards high quality firms and just the ‘private name’ of the university itself counts already. I think that it is not fare towards students who come from normal families who can simply not afford around 8000 euro for one semester.


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