STUDENT DEBT GOT YOU DOWN? TRY GERMANY FOR A CHANGE!
Why does America hate the future? Issue by issue, from our unsustainable, for-profit healthcare system to our outrageous higher-education costs -- to our head-in-the-sand inaction on climate change -- the U.S. seems to be mired in an interminable, regressive state-of-mind. Frankly, none of it makes any sense.
That said, I'm in my mid-fifties now. When I was young my parents couldn't afford to send me to college. So, I enrolled in a local community college to get my four-year certificates in Machine Tool Technology and Math, and then re-enrolled a number of times in other community colleges periodically throughout my career as a machinist in order to keep up with rapid advances in technology, which in turn allowed me to make an adequate living. But, man-oh-man, if I had realized when I was young that I could have had an opportunity to enroll in a major, accredited university but didn't have to pay ANY tuition -- and all I had to do was to move to Europe -- I would have done it in a heartbeat. By hook or by crook, so-to-speak.
But, I digress...
Prospective students in the United States who can’t afford to pay for college or don’t want to rack up tens of thousands in student debt should try their luck in Germany. Higher education is now free throughout the country, even for international students. Yesterday, Lower Saxony became the last of seven German states to abolish tuition fees, which were already extremely low compared to those paid in the United States.
German universities only began charging for tuition in 2006, when the German Constitutional Court ruled that limited fees, combined with loans, were not in conflict the country’s commitment to universal education. The measure proved unpopular, however, and German states that had instituted fees began dropping them one by one.
“We got rid of tuition fees because we do not want higher education which depends on the wealth of the parents,” Gabrielle Heinen-Kjajic, the minister for science and culture in Lower Saxony, said in a statement. Her words were echoed by many in the German government. “Tuition fees are unjust,” said Hamburg’s senator for science Dorothee Stapelfeldt. “They discourage young people who do not have a traditional academic family background from taking up study. 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.”
It's interesting to note that even before tuition fees were abolished, German students barely had to pay for undergraduate study. Per semester, fees averaged about C500. ($630USD) Not to mention the fact that most students were entitled to perks such as cheap (if not free) transportation to and from universities.
October 3, 2014
Low, and now no, tuition has been one of Europe’s nasty little secrets for decades now. One that our great leaders here in the Market Based USofA really don’t want you to know about. I recall hosting a student from Belgium back in the late 1990’s. He was paying $500 per year for tuition back then. PER YEAR! I’m wondering what would happen here if US students understood how badly they’re getting ripped off compared to their European peers?
Recently a friend of mine – a citizen of Great Britain but raised in France – and I were talking about the enormous debt US students carried. I asked her what tuition was in France and although she said she wasn’t sure, she thought it was around $900 a semester. “For the Sorbonne?’ I asked astonished. “Yes. As far as I know.”
After doing some research I discovered she was wrong. Tuition at France’s four year colleges averages around $700 a semester.
You know those evils socialist countries are just making generations of moochers living off the government teat.
I wonder why it is that Germany, France, Spain, Belgium, and all the other European nations haven’t collapsed into some sort of hopeless mass of helpless humanity?
Oh well. Must be magic I guess.