Monday, February 19, 2007

Tuition fees return to some German Universities

From Bloomberg:

A push to match the quality of higher education in the U.S. and U.K. is driving colleges that taught the likes of Friedrich Nietzsche and Karl Marx to charge tuition for the first time in almost 40 years

......Students in Germany paid for their classes until October 1970, when states unanimously abolished fees to make higher education available to more people. The U.K. introduced undergraduate fees in 1998. Italy and Spain also charge university students.

In seven of Germany's 16 states, university students now must pay as much as 1,000 euros ($1,300) a year. In contrast, tuition and fees in the U.S. average $10,700 annually at public universities and $25,000 at private universities, according to Federal Student Aid, the student-loan office of the U.S. Education Department.

Goethe University spent about 10,126 euros, or $13,200, per student in 2006, compared with $149,686 at Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts, according to information on their Web sites.

``Other universities are clearly better equipped, for example when you look at the U.S.,'' said Udo Corts, Hesse's minister for higher education. ``We want to, and have to, offer an education that is competitive. Students are looking at where they get the best education, and equipment plays a role.''

State governments rather than the federal government fund tertiary education, and they're struggling to keep up with the rising costs of maintaining facilities and upgrading equipment.

It will be interesting to see how this pans out - it sounds like German universities are under the same financial pressures as UK universities. I was also interested to learn that the German post-war-miracle generation from 1945 to 1970 paid for their own education, while Brits of that same period got their education free but achieved less economically. When oppositions moan about the "burden Labour has put on students", perhaps they should think about that.

No comments: