Fewer Germans are enrolling in higher education after graduating from high school, the latest statistics show.
Experts fear that Germany could face a shortage of qualified university graduates if the trend continues.
According to the latest figures from the Federal Statistics Office, the number of new students enrolling at university has dropped for the third year running even though there has been a rise in the number of school-leavers graduating with a high-school diploma.
German universities registered 343,700 new students this year, 3.5 per cent fewer than the previous year.
Annette Schavan, German Research and Education Minister, said that the development was particularly worrying given Germany's need for academics and the overall brain drain of recent years.