Germany Says No To Tuition Fees, Yes To Free Higher Education

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All German universities will now offer free higher education, after the Lower Saxony region finally changed its policies to fit with the rest of the country. According to German policy makers, free university education for all students is a basic right and that tuition fees would discriminate against and discourage poorer students from receiving a complete education.

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“Tuition fees are socially unjust,” stated Dorothee Stapelfeldt, a senator for science in Hamburg, a region which had stopped charging fees way back in 2012. “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.”

A spokesman for the Social Democrats (the country´s leading political party) said during Germany´s elections last March: “Tuition fees keep young people from low-income families from studying and are socially disruptive.”

 

Dr Holger Fischer, vice-president of Hamburg University, said: “There is a tradition here that education is free from beginning to end, and that is very difficult to change.” This attitude is reflected by students in Germany, who admit to thinking other countries are “crazy” for charging people to learn.”

 

International students also stand to benefit from Germany’s free tuition policy, check out the following link for more info. Masters degrees are not included under this plan, though it should be noted that tuition is still far cheaper than countries like the US.

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Prices may differ between universities and course providers, making it important for prospective students to check ahead of time. In most cases, however, only a small administrative charge is levied. Students outside the European Union may find the largest obstacle to be obtaining visa to study there. There are ways to circumvent this though.

 

Germany is following in the footsteps of leading EU countries like Denmark, Finland and Sweden which all provide free higher education.

 

One counterargument exists to free campus education is that it would be paid by higher taxes.

 

So, should education be considered a basic human right? Have any of our readers had to make the choice between food and knowledge? Is it worth the taxes, or does it encourage universities to increase their fees? Is university education even worth the time anymore, even if it were given free? Feel free to let us know in the comments.

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22 COMMENTS

  1. I am 26 years old and live in the US. I have had what some may consider a hard life and what others would consider normal. I tried my hand at college and wanted very much to continue my journey to a higher education but, rent and food took over and I couldn’t continue. Now, the want is still in me…
    I believe that you can not put a price on knowledge and, it should be free! To charge money to learn is wrong… Because I don’t have the money doesn’t mean that I should be restricted to a low income life. As a U.S. citizen it is said that I have the unalienable right to Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. Unless your happiness is achieved by a higher education…. I FEEL that MY LIFE, MY LIBERTY, AND MY PURSUIT OF HAPPINESS are all drastically limited by being forced to PAY for a higher education.

    • There is a tuition free university called University of The People. it is fully accredited by the u.S. department of education. It ia headed by people from oxford, yale and UC berkley. It is new but has a really good reputation. I am process of appying. You can get a really good education and oly have to pay a fraction of the cost by only having to pay small exam fees. but even if you can not do that they GIVE free scholarships. uopeople.edu

  2. hi. i would like to know if students from india can study in germany for free of cost?

    Please let me know if there are any exceptions here.

    Thanks

    Regards,
    shiva G

    • Going to university/college in Germany is free for everyone. There are no exceptions, not even for foreigners. Unfortunately there aren’t many study programs in English though so you will have to learn German 🙂

    • Yes, thats possible. You can apply at any german university. You’ll get visa and then you have to learn german before starting your studies. You have to pay about 250-300 Euros every 6 month for using trains, busses, administration etc. But I think you have to proof that you have a certain amount of money, because german law doesn’t allow you to work as much as you want.
      Best regards from Germany

    • @Shiva

      Yes, universities in germany are free for everyone without exceptions.
      There are even programs that help you financially with appartments and basic living needs. You’ll have to learn german though, as there are only a few courses available in english.

  3. This is a very smart idea. This is how it should be everywhere but their are too many greedy people. With this they still get money for university upkeep and costs from the higher degree fees as well as the higher taxes going toward it. The more people now able to go there and study means more people getting good jobs making more money. Therefor having more taxes which is going back to there education. After a few years of this you don’t really need to worry about it cutting in on the other tax plans due to the higher amount of money being acquired from the more people making more money.

  4. @Shiva: You don’t have to pay tuition fee here, but you still need a place to stay, food etc.. I’d say you need at least 700 Euros a month.

  5. Truth be told, it was already almost free in comparison to the US. Like almost everywhere in Europe, the tuition fees in Germany very rarely exceeded 1000€ per year. That said, I am strongly in favor of free education, so it’s very welcome information to my ears.

  6. Hello from Germany 🙂
    It looks like you didn’t do a proper research for this article.
    Studying in Germany was free for a long time…some years ago, i think it was in 2005 or 2006, they suddenly decided to let us pay tuition fees – 500 Euros in 6 month. A few years ago the first parts of Germany stopped these fees, Lower Saxony was the last one.
    Besides that we paid (and still pay) about 250-300 Euros every 6 month for free usw of trains an busses, administration, cheaper food for students etc.
    And Master degrees are free of tuition fees as well. But all this ist for “normal” universities. We have private universities as well and they are not free.

    • Hi Kadie, I’m Vania from Indonesia. I’ll finish my bachelor degree in 2 years and I’m thinking about continuing my master degree in Germany. So, I’m wondering if I can contact you anywhere else? I wanna know about this further 😀 if you’d like to help, thanks in advance!

  7. I’m all for the free education system. Equal
    for all. This is the way to change the world by providing basic education.
    When will English-speaking countries catch on? It’s horrendous to pay university fees in the US.

  8. free education is good and ideally, all education should be free. But the problem is that when something is free, it tends to be devalued. Look at our air, water, etc. all polluted beyond remedy.
    Free learning students don’t understand the value of their time and the efforts of the state in providing them this education and tend to gravitate towards unproductive student politics and excessive merriment. Teachers and professors also tend to lower their quality as there is no financial benchmark any more. All get paid the same and there is no incentive. Inmy view abetter system would be to provide academic and need based scholarships to all who need it …. Thus enabling universities to fund themselves and continue their research programs.

  9. Even if I agree with the general mindset of Anonymous, I disagree with this and most of the commentators.

    You are not talking about free education, you are talking about getting a degree, which is aknowledged by the corporate world to get a highly paid job, and let others pay for it. Free education means you go to a library and read books, but that wouldn’t help you with your job applications, would it?

    Oxygen is free. Nobody has to pay or work for it to exist and it doesn’t need to be shipped. Bathing in the ocean is free.

    But teachers expect to be paid, so do the companies which ensure maintainance of universities. All of that is funded by the tax payers of the country.

    So going to germany to get “free education” is just a different form of greed. Go there, take the degree, let the locals pay for it and go back to you own country?

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