GERMAN SCHOOLS NOW TUITION FREE

General discussions concerning institutions and degree programs.

GERMAN SCHOOLS NOW TUITION FREE

Postby Jimmy » Sat Oct 04, 2014 2:36 am

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Re: GERMAN SCHOOLS NOW TUITION FREE

Postby Roald » Mon Dec 01, 2014 4:58 pm

I've seen quite a bit of commentary about this, and rightly so. Good for Germany, it's an indication of their dedication to an impressive university system.

That said, one aspect of this discussion is often ignored. German universities are free to those who qualify, and qualifying for admission is no small feat. The German university system is different from the U.S. system in that there aren't really sharp distinctions in prestige or admissions criteria.

True, Munich and Heidelberg may be considered the most prestigious, but no one considers Tubingen, Gottingen, or Ulm to be second class institutions. All German universities are respected, and admission is typically limited to the top 10-15% of high school students.

Many American college students who are holding this out as a model for the U.S. fail to understand that under the German system they simply would not be in college, anyway. And maybe that's not such a bad thing.
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Re: GERMAN SCHOOLS NOW TUITION FREE

Postby Tark » Fri Dec 05, 2014 10:05 pm

one aspect of this discussion is often ignored. German universities are free to those who qualify, and qualifying for admission is no small feat ... Many American college students who are holding this out as a model for the U.S. fail to understand that under the German system they simply would not be in college, anyway.

That's correct. You might assume that since college is free in Germany, everybody gets to go, right ?

Wrong. Actually, more people go to college in the US, despite the much higher costs:

In 2012, 39 percent of young Americans were expected to graduate from college ... the U.S. graduation rate was ahead of Canada (35 percent), Germany (31 percent) ...

Countries like Canada or Germany have lower university tuition -- but they also have higher university admissions standards. In the US, you can reasonably assume that anyone who completes high school can find a university somewhere that will take them -- maybe not Harvard or Princeton, but there are other schools with effectively open admissions that will cheerfully admit anyone who can pay. That's not necessarily the case in other countries.

Another point that is often ignored: when Germany went tuition-free, it was a hot topic all across the US. But German tuition was already effectively free by US standards anyway:

they weren’t exactly breaking the bank before, with semester fees of about EUR 500, or $630, which is often less than an American student spends on books

In other words, Germany cut tuition costs by about $1,260 per year. It's not really a dramatic change when you look at it that way.
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