Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Why do public universities in Germany not charge any tuition fees?
Almost anywhere in Europe and the world, universities charge tuition fees - if only from foreigners who come to that country for their studies. Germany is one of the few countries in Europe where you can study for free, even if you are from Asia, Africa or elsewhere.

Germans generally believe that education should not be treated as a commercial product, and that free access to higher education ensures economic growth and welfare for the greater population. In the recent past, there was legislation allowing public universities to charge very modest tuition fees of 1,000 euros annually. But after years of public protests, the tuition fees were abolished again in 2014.

Also, Germany’s governments of recent years have realised the economic and social benefits of immigration. Germany wants to get the smartest minds to study into the country, and ideally to stay after graduation; and that is why they generally oppose tuition fees for foreigners, as well.

If tuition is free, does that mean the universities are not very good?
Far from it! Germany’s universities are among the best in the world, and you can expect to receive a world-class education as a foreign student. Many of the larger institutions regularly rank among the top 100 in international rankings. The fact that higher education at public universities is tuition-free is a purely political decision by the German government. A degree from a German university will be respected around the world and open many doors for your career choices.

Are there any tuition fees in Germany?
Generally, you can study in Germany for free - but there are a few exceptions:

Only public universities are tuition-free. If you study at one of the roughly 100 private universities, you are expected to pay, and those tuition fees are on par with what you would pay in countries such as the UK or Ireland. However, because of their competition from the cheap public universities, private schools in Germany tend to offer specialised programmes, and other benefits so that you get your money’s worth. And of course, you might be eligible for a scholarship.
German universities distinguish between “consecutive” and “non-consecutive” Master’s programmes. Consecutive programmes are those that you can enroll in immediately after you finish your Bachelor’s degree. Non-consecutive programmes, such as “Executive MBAs”, usually require that students have many years of work experience. Such non-consecutive study programmes usually cost tuition fees, even at public universities.
From 2017 on, public universities in the state of Baden-W├╝rttemberg can charge tuition fees from non-EU/EEA students. That includes the universities in Stuttgart, Karlsruhe, Mannheim, Freiburg, Heidelberg, and some other cities. The tuition fees are set at 1,500 euros per semester - which is still much more affordable than in many other countries in Europe.