The number of Germans studying at universities in the UK has declined for the first time since 2007, according to a new report from German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD).
The Wissenschaft Weltoffen 2015 report states that the 9 per cent drop in the total number of German students in the UK in 2012 compared to 2011 is “most likely attributed to the substantial increase in tuition fees” in the UK, which came into force in the same year.
Lower Saxony became the last German state to abandon tuition fees in Autumn last year.
It means the UK is now the fourth most popular host country for German students, down from third. It was surpassed by Switzerland which saw a 3 per cent increase in the number of German students during the same period. Austria and the Netherlands are still the most popular locations for Germans studying abroad.
Overall 2011 saw the first decrease in the ratio of German students abroad in relation to the total number of German students; in 2010 there were 66 students abroad compared to every 1,000 students in Germany, compared to 64 in 2011 and 62 in 2012.
However, the UK is still the most popular country for German students on temporary study-related visits abroad (14 per cent), followed by Spain and the US (both 10 per cent) and France (9 per cent).
Economics was the most popular subject for German students obtaining a degree abroad (22 per cent), followed by law and social sciences (20 per cent) and language and cultural studies (14 per cent).
The report also reveals that the Erasmus programme affected German students' opinions of the higher education system in the host country and Germany; those students temporarily studying in Spain and Italy generally viewed Germany’s higher education system more positively than they did before the visit, while those who stayed in Sweden and Finland tended to become more critical of it.