How many students from the Ukraine are already in Berlin, how many are still coming as war refugees and how many of them want and are able to start or continue their studies here? All of these are open questions – and the plans of the administrations and universities are provisional accordingly. This became clear on Monday in the Science Committee of the House of Representatives at a hearing.

Kornelia Haugg, State Secretary in the Federal Ministry of Education, said that the DAAD programs for students from Syria should now be tailored to Ukrainians. “Although we don’t know how many will go back to Ukraine,” said Haugg. Herbert Grieshop, Head of the International Department at Freie Universität, also said: “We don’t know what the needs will be for the winter semester.”

In the applications for master’s degrees that have already been received, the proportion of Ukraine has not increased significantly compared to the pre-war period. A slight increase is expected for the preparatory college, which Ukrainian school graduates have to attend in order to acquire an equivalent to the Abitur.

However, according to Grieshop, experience from the language courses shows: “Many go back to the Ukraine.” Other interested parties could take their place. Three new intensive courses for 75 participants are to start in autumn.

At the Studierendenwerk Berlin, there is now a great need for advice from the refugees and the Ukrainians who have been living here for a long time. 15 percent of the entire consulting time is currently dedicated to this group, reported Managing Director Petra Mai-Hartung.

The talks, which last an average of 90 minutes, deal with basic questions about residence status, access to higher education, student financing – and very often also about finding an apartment. More students from Ukraine have recently been accepted into their own dormitories – instead of 140 before the war, there are now 160. At the same time, the number of young Russians who flee for political reasons or do not want to return is increasing.

The advisory services are brought together in an information and coordination office at the Studierendenwerk, said Science Senator Ulrike Gote (Greens). “Whether Ukrainian or Russian – we don’t differentiate between nationalities,” Mai-Hartung emphasized her line with the offers.

However, such a distinction was very important to the Ukrainian side. Danylo Poliluev-Schmidt from the Alliance of Ukrainian Organizations in Berlin urged students to be treated “in a way that is sensitive to colonialism”. “No shared accommodation with Russians and Belarusians,” demanded Poliluev-Schmidt.

There is still a lot to coordinate, and not just on this issue. Also with the employment agency: They refer to Bafög as a source of financing, but only those who have a regular place at university receive it, as Petra Mai-Hartung reported.