Not charging students
The final German province to scrap their tuition fees was Lower Saxony. This means that all German universities are not charging students, and this applies to overseas students as well.
“Tuition fees are socially unjust,” Dorothee Stapelfeldt, senator for science in Hamburg, told the Times. The state scrapped fees in 2012. “They particularly discourage young people who do not have a traditional academic family background from taking up studies. It is a core task of politics to ensure that young women and men can study with a high quality standard free of charge in Germany.”
All this has come about after German universities were allowed by law to start charging fees in 2006. It was decided via constitutional court that moderate fees combined with loans did not violate the country’s commitment to universal higher education. Whereas most schools charged relatively low amounts of around €1,000 a year (£845) – this didn’t stop state governments from changing their ruling after eight years.
“There is a tradition here that education is free from beginning to end, and that is very difficult to change,” Hamburg University vice-president Dr Holger Fischer explained.
According to Fischer, the fees allowed universities to “improve the teaching and infrastructure” and abolishing them was a “catastrophe”. All this is however good news for university students who are starting the new autumn term in Germany without charge.
While back in Britain, fees have gone up by almost 8%, with students now facing bills of £54,000 for a three-year undergraduate degree. For some it may be time pursue their degree in Germany.