Through a 2005 court ruling regarding tuition fees Germany allowed its universities the unprecedented right to charge students for their services. Before the new laws, thanks to governmental subsidization, the cost of higher education for a student was so little that the service was practically free.
How the “Tuition Fee Experiment” Developed
The court decision granted Germany’s federal states the power to implement fees at their discretion for the reason that the resources earned this way were to be used for educational services and operational costs. Compared to the cost of higher education in other European countries, the semester fees in Germany were relatively low, the charges rarely exceeding 500 euros.
The ruling and the trial period (nicknamed “the tuition fee experiment”) were received with mixed feelings. The public saw the new fees as highly detrimental, which led most of the states that had initially started implementing charges to cancel the fee system. Only Bavaria and Lower Saxony exercised their new rights and maintained the charges, with the consensus being that they too would abolish the system soon, like the rest of Germany.
The German University System, an Attractive Environment Despite the “Hiccup”
In spite of the failed experiment in tuition fees in Germany, the higher education system has been seen – and still is – as a very appealing option, both financially and in terms of other benefits. Besides the minimal fees, there is an abundance of discounts available for students, attracting young people from all over the world to enroll in German universities. First-rate education standards, affordability, and increased global mobility are the traits that have made the country’s university system immensely popular among foreign students.
The End of the Tuition Fee and Aspects Regarding Other Costs
The tuition fee experiment ended officially in October 2014, granting international and local students the right to benefit from free higher education once again. Note that there are a few exceptions, though. Studying for PhD and Master’s degrees still involves charges, starting from several hundred Euros per semester and going up to thousands.
While universities do not charge tuition fees anymore besides the abovementioned exceptions, there are other contributions you must pay every semester as a student in Germany. These are generally split into two categories:
– Enrollment fees – a small amount, around 100 Euros, charged to cover your student ID.
– Administration fees – they cover not only the university services, but also a pass for free public transportation
Finally, there is one more cost to consider, but one that can easily be avoided: if it takes you abnormally longer than usual to complete your studies (starting with four additional semesters over the normal time), you will be charged a 500 Euro fee for each extra semester.