Universities in Germany do not charge tuition fees, even from international students, said the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) director in Islamabad, Lars Bergmeyer. He was speaking at the Goethe-Institut which had opened its doors on Monday to students seeking admissions details for Master’s and Doctorate programmes in Germany.
Bergmeyer started his presentation with the history of the country in terms of education and inventions, “Germany is the centre of Europe and also its economic and political centre,” he said. He showed several pictures that gave a glimpse into the various cultural activities that are common to Germany. These include traditional dances, tourist spots and classical music. He also pointed out German inventions, such as refrigerator, motor cars, SIM card and aspirin.
German universities do not charge any tuition fees not even from international students, he said as he listed three advantages of attending a German university. Firstly, international companies prefer hiring students who have studied from Germany, secondly, the quality of education is high, and thirdly, there is no tuition fee throughout the term. Only a few Euros were charged one time for the whole term to provide canteen subsidy and transport facility, he pointed out.
Germany has more than 427 recognised higher education institutes. “We have three types of institutes that offer courses in different faculties,” Bergmeyer pointed out. Universities for technical education, those for applied sciences and colleges for arts, films and music, which offer more than 18,700 courses countrywide. However, only 10 per cent of these are offered in English, he added.
The application process is fairly easy, he said. A student should have only two things to do: one is to apply for the visa and other is to create a blocked account. “A certain amount must be put in the block account, which is 100 per cent refundable and can be used to make withdrawals every month,” he explained.
The core requirements also include a minimum 6.0 band in IELTS and a minimum of 550 points PBT or 213 points CBT for TOEFL. “Learning the German language is not necessary if you are opting for any course in English,” he said, adding that learning the basics of the language do help people communicate easily in the country. Bergmeyer added that there are some scholarships but those are only for PhD programmes.
For students enrolled in university programmes, they are only allowed to work 120 full days or 240 half days.
The student visa for Germany varies on the programme that the student has applied for, said German visa counsellor Klaus Reyl. “You just have to come and show us the admission letter and open a block account while we will do the necessary paperwork,” he said.
The visa request is sent to the town the student has gotten admission in and, within a month, they will receive a reply with a yes or a no. “We provide the students the reasons why their visa application was rejected so they can fulfil the criteria and re-apply again,” he said.
Answering a question from the audience, Reyl said that the blocked account amount can vary from state university to private universities. “A state university will charge 8,040 Euros while a private university can charge up to 20,000 Euros,” he said.