Access to education


Country Report: Access to education Last updated: 06/04/23


Paula Hoffmeyer-Zlotnik and Marlene Stiller

Persons with refugee status and beneficiaries of subsidiary protection are entitled to take up vocational training as well as school or university education, if they can prove that they have the necessary qualifications. They can also receive support for the costs of living for the duration of training or studies under the same conditions as German citizens. Furthermore, adults with a protection status are entitled to participate in the ‘integration courses’ which in their general form consist of 600 language lesson units and 100 lesson units in an ‘orientation course’ where participants are meant to learn about the legal system as well as history and culture in Germany and about ‘community life’ and ‘values that are important in Germany’.[1] Participants have to cover part of the costs themselves, unless they receive unemployment benefits or social assistance. Next to the general integration courses, there are special courses e. g. courses for women or parents, literacy courses or intensive courses for experienced learners.

According to the brief analysis mentioned in Access to the labour market, 23% of persons surveyed (i.e. persons who arrived in Germany as asylum seekers between 2013 and 2016) had attended one of the following educational institutions:[2]

  • Schools, further education: 8%;
  • Vocational training institution: 14%;
  • Universities, colleges: 2%.

As noted above, the study does not distinguish between the protection status (and/or the residence status) of people surveyed, but it can provide an indication to the situation of persons with protection status. More recent data is not available.

Concerning the access to higher education (more extensively discussed, see Access to education) while there have been some improvements, the lack of sufficient language skills, discrimination and the recognition of former degrees, continue to hinder access to higher education for beneficiaries of and applications for international protection.




[1] See BAMF, ‘The content and stages of the procedure’, available at

[2] Ibid.

Table of contents

  • Statistics
  • Overview of the legal framework
  • Overview of the main changes since the previous report update
  • Asylum Procedure
  • Reception Conditions
  • Detention of Asylum Seekers
  • Content of International Protection
  • ANNEX I – Transposition of the CEAS in national legislation