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DESTATIS - Federal Statistical Office

What do the university statistics describe?

The official university statistics provide basic information for the planning and political shaping of the university system. The established non-monetary university statistics include:

  • the student statistics (students and first-year students)
  • the examination statistics (graduates)
  • the guest student statistics
  • the habilitation statistics
  • the university staff statistics.

The monetary side of higher education is recorded and presented separately in the higher education finance statistics.

All universities recognized under state law, regardless of their sponsorship, are designated as universities. They serve to maintain and develop the sciences and the arts through research, teaching and study and prepare for professional activities that require the application of scientific knowledge and methods or the ability to create art. Universities include all state-recognized universities, comprehensive colleges, theological and pedagogical colleges, art colleges, universities of applied sciences and administrative colleges.

At the center of the student statistics are information on the students (e.g. age and gender) and their subject orientation (subject (s)). Students within the framework of the university statistics are those who are enrolled (enrolled) in a specialist course - excluding those on leave, participants in preparatory courses and guest auditors. First-year students in the 1st semester (first enrollment) are students who have enrolled at a university in Germany for the first time in the semester under consideration. The students in the 1st semester are students who have enrolled in a particular course for the first time. First-year students in the 1st semester are usually in the 1st semester at the same time.

For the purpose of nationwide student and examination statistics, a subject system is used in which university-specific subjects are assigned to a corresponding key position. Several related subjects are grouped into study areas and these are grouped into eight major subject groups.

The final academic examinations taken by the students are recorded in the examination statistics. A basic distinction is made between (university) diploma examinations (including corresponding final exams), doctorates, teaching examinations, artistic degrees, technical college degrees, and bachelor and master degrees. The individual exams are recorded in a nationwide system of final exams. Students who pass their final exams are referred to as university graduates.

The survey of staff at universities includes all persons working full-time and part-time at universities on the reporting date (December 1). A basic distinction is made between academic and artistic staff and non-academic staff (administrative, technical and other staff). The personnel statistics are based on a nationwide system of job titles and subject areas. In this system, several related subject areas are grouped into teaching and research areas and these are combined into subject groups that correspond to the subject groups of the student statistics.

The legal basis for university statistics is the "Law on Statistics for Higher Education" (University Statistics Act - HStatG) of November 2, 1990 (Federal Law Gazette I page 2414), which was last amended by Article 1 of the law of March 2, 2016 (Federal Law Gazette I page 342) has been changed. With the latest amendment to the HStatG, statistics on doctoral candidates, university councils, the course of studies as well as students, examinations, personnel and finances at professional academies recognized as providers of tertiary education according to state law were introduced for the 2017 reporting year. The characteristics recorded in the individual university statistics are finally listed in the HStatG.

How are the data for the university statistics collected?

The university statistics are secondary surveys with individual data delivery by the universities to the state statistical offices. The heads of the universities are obliged to provide information. The data is delivered by the university administrations and examination offices on the basis of the existing administrative documents. After a comprehensive plausibility check in the state statistical offices, the state results are sent to the Federal Statistical Office, where they are processed into the federal result. The results of the student statistics are processed and published every semester, those of the other university statistics annually.

When are the university statistics published?

Current results of the university statistics are published in a press release. Key data on the various university statistics can be found in the subject area available in the GENESIS-Online database.

The detailed final results for the individual university statistics are regularly published in the Universities section:

  • Students at universities (for the winter semester also contains information on guest students)
  • Exams at universities
  • Non-monetary university statistics
  • University staff (also contains information on post-doctoral qualifications and university councils)
  • Professional academies

The publication dates, as well as the new doctoral candidate statistics, are in the 3rd and 4th quarter of each year. Irrespective of this, preliminary and final results from individual university statistics, which were already available earlier, are made available to customers in a timely manner.

In addition, the statistical offices of the federal states publish university statistics on the respective federal state.

How accurate are the university statistics?

The university statistics are secondary statistics, which are each carried out as total surveys. To ensure high data quality, extensive plausibility checks are carried out regularly in the state statistical offices. In this respect, the results are of high informative value and quality.