Press release against the DAAD cuts

It is with great dismay and concern that the FAU Student Council views the massive cuts planned by the German government to the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD)

The consequences of the cuts would affect several thousand students and young academics, for example through the loss of around 6,000 scholarships at the DAAD alone. FAU is also suffering greatly from the partial loss of DAAD funds, which are used to finance PROMOS scholarships, Stibet scholarships, and the Integra program to support refugees, for example. As a result, many students will lose the opportunity to gain valuable international experience, to get to know other countries and academic systems, and to establish important networks for teaching, research, politics, and business, for example. They will be deprived of the opportunity to broaden their horizons substantially and globally, gaining important knowledge and skills, which in turn will be lost to our country and lead to a lack of innovation. Often, scholarships make it possible for students to spend time abroad in the first place, making an important contribution to equal opportunity and diversity at universities. The many posts under #IgotfundedbyDAAD impressively show how important these grants are. The cuts now intended will not only massively impair these positive developments, but they will also run counter to the goal of attracting urgently needed international professionals. The global North-South divide will also be fueled by the cuts: important offers of support for the development of high-performing universities in countries of the Global South will be left out, with the consequence that students and scientists who are particularly dependent on international funding will be abandoned and even forced to emigrate.

With its scholarships, the DAAD not only supports university cooperation around the world but also provides student bodies and universities with indispensable knowledge resources in the field of international academic cooperation. The cuts would lead to severe reductions in the DAAD’s global representation and regional expertise, for example by causing a significant reduction in the activities of the German Houses of Science and Innovation (DWIH) or by not being able to fill lectorates and lectureships at universities abroad.

In summary, these and other cuts would lead to serious disadvantages for very many people, for knowledge and training institutions, and thus for university locations and countries. The cuts would thus harm the German science system as a whole, for example through the aforementioned savings in DWIH, in lectorates, through reduced networks and collaborations, and overall less internationalization. As a result, the competitiveness of Germany’s HAWs and universities would drop sharply and Germany would lose its attractiveness as an educational location. The cuts would also have serious disadvantages for German foreign science policy, the economy, and society. Individual scholarships will be missing and thus also very urgently needed international specialists.

As representatives of German student bodies, we are aware of the current difficult budget situation. However, we see it as our duty, especially in the interest of students, who should all have an equal right to internationalize their education, to draw attention to the grievances to which said austerity measures would lead. Given the DAAD’s contribution to the future of students and young scientists, to the future of science, and the contribution to the fight against crises such as the climate crisis, we strongly advocate that the planned unprecedented cuts and their dramatic consequences for German universities and student bodies do not happen.

Especially in the current situation, international exchange and the support of students and scientists from all over the world and especially in crisis areas are particularly important. Therefore, we cordially invite everyone who cares about the prosperous future of science and the sustainability of our society to show solidarity with our cause and to take action against the planned cuts.