The move would mean multiple German higher education institutions would have to reduce mobility and scholarships funding “significantly” without much notice, with around 6,000 scholarships slated to be cancelled.
“The planned cuts as well as the global underspend would have a negative impact on the international attractiveness and competitiveness of Germany as a top destination for students and researchers from abroad,” Joybrato Mukherjee, DAAD president, told The PIE News.
Mukherjee is referring to tthe global underspend for the year 2022 that was announced by the Federal Foreign Office.
“The underspend is likely to be significantly higher than in previous years, and the DAAD does not know at this time whether the global underspend will be resolved by the end of the year,” he continued.
“We do hope that the budget cuts for the DAAD that the government has envisaged for 2023 can be reduced in the course of budgetary negotiations in parliament,” he added, pointing to the proposed cuts across the next few years.
On top of the €9m cut to the budget from €204m to €191m in 2022, the cabinet “forsees a further cut” to €191m in 2023 – a total loss of €13m of core funding for the DAAD in just two years alone.
“As for the global underspend in 2022, we are currently still negotiating the details with the Federal Foreign Office,” Mukherjee confirmed.
DAAD has already asked universities to withhold 10% of the approved funding “until a final decision has been made”, preparing institutions for a possible “cutback scenario”.
In detailing the cuts, the DAAD said it was informing all German universities about budget constrictions in areas such as long term study and doctoral scholarships for foreign students, doctoral candidates and researchers – a reduction of a staggering 50% – as well as the funding of lecture and congress trips, summer and winter courses.
“We trust that these reductions will be withdrawn in further parliamentary process”
Worryingly, the budget cuts would also result in the cancellation of all other short-term funding, affecting around 5,000 people in a year.
“[The cuts] counteract the conceptually correct stipulations and financial commitments in the federal government’s coalition agreement,” said Mukherjee.
He said that he “trusts” the government will make the right decision about the proposed cuts, which adds to a substantial core funding reduction that has already forced the DAAD to make “painful cuts” in its central activities.
“We trust that these reductions will be withdrawn in further parliamentary process… and hope and expect this too for our fellow partner organisations, the Alexander-von-Humboldt Foundation and the Goethe Institut, which are also affected,” he added.