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Information for universities

The free uni-assist review procedure for refugees

Universities and other institutions promote the integration of refugees who would like to study in Germany. As a competence centre for the evaluation of international university applications, uni-assist contributes to the integration process:



The initiative is supported by the DAAD with means of the BMBF.



> How uni-assist's preliminary assessment for refugees works

> University entrance qualification certification (HZB certificate)

> Self-report form for refugees

> Special study programmes for refugees

> You are not yet a member of the uni-assist e.V.?

> Contact

> Information material to download

How uni-assist's preliminary assessment for refugees works


uni-assist assesses the university entrance qualification of prospective international students for its approx. 180 member universities. uni-assist offers extensive certification and documentation of international school reports and provides universities with key data for their admissions procedures and further selection. Further information can be found under uni-assist.

University applications via the free uni-assist assessment procedure for refugees are made in two steps:


First, a free application must be requested through the portal for cost exemption.

Secondly, applicants can apply for up to three universities per semester via uni-assist.


After these steps, we will review and verify submitted documents and school reports.  Then, we will inform prospective students of the review results and provide information on the submitted documents to the universities. The universities use uni-assist's review results as part of their admission process.


The application for cost exemption

The application for cost exemption must be submitted only once and only online in the portal for cost exemption.


For your free application, you require a certificate of refugee status and proof of your intent to study at a German university.




The portal for cost exemption can be used by prospective students to provide proof of their refugee and residency status. Prospective students should also familiarise themselves with the study requirements within Germany. The TestAS-certificate is one way of doing so.


TestAS is a scholastic aptitude test which assesse a students' qualifications for university, but also offers prospective students a first impression of the skills required for university.

The free application does not require any minimum TestAS scores.


There are constellations and educational circumstances in which the TestAS certificate may be unnecessary. In these circumstances, the university may issue a special certificate supporting a free preliminary assessment via uni-assist without a TestAS certificate. This university certificate may be awarded on completion of a university's own aptitude test and/or other orientation procedures.


We can provide templates for the university entrance qualification certificates. This can be requested via email from hochschulservice@uni-assist.de.


It is also possible to submit the passed assessment exam certificate (Feststellungsprüfung (FSP)) instead of the TestAS-certificate or the university entrance qualification certificate.


Validity of cost exemption until 2019

The cost exemption will be granted once and will be valid until the end of 2019 (due to funding support).
If the application for cost exemption has been granted in the past and an applicant would like to reapply in a new semester, they will apply directly via the uni-assist Online-Portal. The cost exemption will still be valid.

Applicants are asked to contact uni-assist via the contact form if their residency status changes. uni-assist will then check, whether the cost exemption is still valid.

Apply for free using uni-assist in three steps


  1. Please submit your application for refugees here on the portal for cost exemption
  2. uni-assist will review your application and send you a confirmation email with your uni-assist application number.
  3. You can then apply for up to three universities per semester free of charge via the uni-assist online portal.


Review results


uni-assist reviews application documents and verifies submitted school/university reports. uni-assist may also evaluate educational biographies using a self-reporting form. If all university criteria is met, the application will be forwarded to the university/ies. The respective university/ies will then decide over admission. Alternatively, and if a university so requires, uni-assist will issue a Vorprüfungsdokumentation (VPD) or preliminary review documentation, in case of a positive review result. The VPD is a certificate containing the essential HZB university entrance qualification data. The VPD is used to apply directly to a university until the end of the application period.


University entrance qualification certification (HZB certificate)


Unlike uni-assist's normal review procedure, people receiving the free procedure, will receive a HZB certificate, if this information can be determined. This certificate documents one's university entrance qualification based on school reports/ self-reports and can be used for all further applications. Non-uni-assist universities can have information in HZB certificates verified by uni-assist upon request and use this data in their admission process.


Important notice: Starting from 15th May 2017 we will issue the HZB certificate upon request only. Applicants who wish to receive the HZB certificate can inform uni-assist via the contact form.


Verifying one's educational biography without education documents: self-report form for refugees


Due to circumstances, some people may not be able to provide important study documents. Under these conditions, a self-reporting form can be used to declare the missing information. 


In several circumstances, uni-assist uses the self-reporting forms to review and document university entrance qualifications. Through this procedure, uni-assist supports universities in implementing the resolution of the German Standing Conference of the Ministers of Education and Cultural Affairs on persons who are unable to provide evidence of higher educational entrance qualifications obtained in their home countries due to their flight as well as German federal state requirements.


Universities then decide if applicants will be admitted to reviewing procedures and on what basis. Depending on the German federal state law, the Feststellungsprüfung entrance examination, a scholastic aptitude test conducted by the university or other internal university examinations may be used.

Special study programmes for refugees


More and more universities are offering German language classes and orientation programmes for refugees. Many universities provide prospective students with a refugee background easier access to their courses.


Universities are increasingly making the path towards higher education easier for refugees through preparatory measures prior to enrolment. However, to ensure a smooth transition into studies, universities require early assessment of entrance qualifications for these programmes. Therefore, uni-assist offers universities the opportunity to create so-called "placeholder programmes" for early HZB assessment in addition to regular study programmes with fixed deadlines and entry requirements. Such placeholder programmes may feature various special courses for the target group, such as German language classes or propaedeutics.


Universities can decide whether these placeholder programmes should require certain deadlines or language criteria or whether only university entrance qualifications should be assessed irrespective of regular deadlines or other criteria.


Placeholder programmes have certain advantages: they allow universities to simplify HZB certifications for their desired candidates. They can also provide advice to persons who specifically apply to such programmes and place them in study programmes suitable to them.

If you would like to establish a special studies programme for refugees, we would be glad to assist you. Simply write to us at hochschulservice@uni-assist.de.

You are not yet a member of the uni-assist e.V.?


If it’s the case that you as a university don't yet work with uni-assist, but would like to have school and university reports of refugees reviewed by us, a limited membership is available specifically targeting these needs. As an alternative to free membership, we also provide a cooperation agreement with uni-assist, however, this requires a fee.




Would you like to learn more? Do you have questions?

We look forward to your emails!



Would you like to receive our semi-annual uni-assist newsletter "Flucht & Studium"?

Subscribe via FS@uni-assist.de


Take look at the already published issues:

1. Edition May 2017

2. Edition November 2017


Information material to download


Would you like to receive information on the free review procedure for refugees?

If you would like to order the following information material, please send us an email (hochschulservice@uni-assist.de) with the respective information (your name, your desired print product, quantity and your address).


1. uni-assist flyer with an insert
2. Info card: Step by step applying through uni-assist
3. Info card: The Portal for Cost Exemption
4. Info card: Checklist
5. Info card: HZB-certificate