Germany is the home to some of the world’s prestigious colleges making it the favorite study destination of international students. As of 2021, there are about 380 officially recognized universities in Germany offering around 17,000 study programs.

Contrary to popular opinion, not every university in Germany is public. Instead, the majority of universities in Germany are private. Though both public & private universities are controlled & accredited by the same central agencies, there is a lot of difference between them.

It is important that international students like you have a clear understanding of the differences before you decide to enroll in them.

This article will discuss in detail the major differences between private & public universities in Germany based on 6 parameters.

1. Scholarships

What makes Germany a preferred study abroad destination is the option to study for free. While public universities offer a full waiver to low tuition fees, many scholarship programs help international students fund their studies.

So, if you were to compare private & public universities based on options for scholarships, public universities have an obvious edge over private universities. But that being said, there are some scholarship options for private universities too. It’s just that the options are more for public universities.

Not all German scholarships are based on your academic performance, there are scholarships disbursed based on your nationality, financial stature, and more.

So yeah, if you are looking forward to funding your studies through scholarships, public universities have a greater chance.

2. Tuition Fee

As said in the previous section, a low to a full waiver of tuition fees is what makes Germany the favorite of international students. But note that this free education is only with public universities and private universities charge a tuition fee. This is because the public universities are funded by the government whereas, private universities have to rely on private funding and they will need to collect tuition to fill their budget and maintain their day-to-day operations.

That being said, the cost of studying in German private universities is still significantly less when compared to other popular international locations like Canada, The US, and The UK. To give you a better understanding, completing a postgraduate course in a German private university will still cost you less than the annual fees in the countries mentioned previously,

To sum up, private universities in Germany are not free and students will have to pay tuition fees.


3. Ease of Getting Admission

Irrespective of whether you apply to a private university or public university, you must always remember that German schools apply high academic standards. It’s just that private universities tend to be a bit lenient because they mostly rely on fees collected from international students.

Owing to which private universities will admit you even if your academic qualification doesn’t meet the requirements that are in place.  But that being said, you can’t take admission to private universities for granted as you will still have to show excellent knowledge if you want to enroll in a course and you have to work hard to complete your degree.

When it comes to public universities, there will be high competition to secure admission as public universities are popular due to their tuition fee waiver. In most cases, the cut-off marks for entry into public universities tend to be higher and they also apply “numerus clausus” which means only a proportion of excellent applicants are admitted.


4. Application Process & Deadlines

Both private & public universities have more or less the same application process except for some minor differences. But that’s not the case with deadlines.

Each university (both public & private) has different deadlines for submitting applications. In most cases, public universities have application deadlines around the same time because most of them run a joint online application platform.

There are two application deadlines:

·       Mid-July for the upcoming Winter Semester

·       Mid-January for the upcoming Summer Semester

5. Number & Diversity of Courses

Private universities in Germany started gaining attention by 2014 owing to which the number of international programs offered by private universities tends to be on the lower side. Also, because public universities have a long history and easier access to funds, public universities lead in the number of international courses.

And when it comes to the diversity of courses offered, private universities have an upper hand over public universities.

6. Student-Teacher Ratio

Because of the huge intakes to public universities, public universities have a low teacher to student ratio. Whereas, it is the other way round for private universities. So, if you are looking for more individual attention, we recommend you apply to private universities.

7. Global Ranking & Reputation

When it comes to global ranking and reputation, public universities in Germany rank way better than private universities. Some of the top universities in Germany are consistently gaining top positions in the international ranking of universities.

So, if you are looking forward to doing your bachelor’s or master’s from top-ranked universities, we recommend you apply to the public universities in Germany!

We hope you found this article helpful, for more information on the comparison of public & private universities or other information regarding German migration, reach out to us.