Prospective students should check whether private universities are accredited by the state. Those that are offer some unique opportunities like partnerships with major firms or companies, but they come at a price.
Germany's first private university opened its doors in 1983
Around a fourth of Germany's over 400 universities are private, but not every institution can come through on the promises in its brochures. If a university is accredited by the state, that's generally a way to be sure its degrees are of good quality. Private universities that aren't accredited by the state may not offer curricula that meet the research and teaching standards found at accredited German universities.
Private comes with a price
There are more than 80 private, state-accredited universities in Germany, and they are financed and supported by various parties including businesses and foundations. They may also receive some support from the government. But they all have one thing in common: Students have to pay tuition. That varies from around 15,000 euros for an entire degree at the University of Witten-Herdecke to 4,000 euros per semester at the Leipzig Graduate School of Management.
These tuition rates lead to the perception that private schools are primarily for the children of the wealthy. However, nearly every private university also has scholarships available.
Leipzig's School of Management is a leading business school in Germany
Well-equipped, with a 'job guarantee'
Private universities are generally small and well-equipped with materials. When they partner with companies, they often offer internships and other opportunities that are tailored to landing a job with the company in the future. Some private institutions even offer a "job guarantee." Many private universities also have partner schools abroad where students can do internships and work closely with companies whose specialities interest them.
Small, but on the rise
The number of students at private universities is much lower than at public universities, and the teaching and mentoring are more personalized. More than two million students are currently studying in Germany, with around 4.5 percent at private schools. The percentage at private universities is increasing, though. Generally, these institutions look for students with excellent academic records as well as volunteer commitments or special skills.
Author: Claudia Unseld, Gaby Reucher
Editor: Kate Bowen