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Germany Makes College Education Free as American Students Drown in Debt

    Although German students were paying only the equivalent of $630 a year for higher education, on average, the country's elected representatives decided any tuition fees perpetuate inequality. Shutterstock


Higher education tuition fees were banned in Germany earlier this week for anyone pursuing a degree in the country.

Yes, that includes Americans.

So, as Think Progress suggests in a recent piece, if you’re fed up with borrowing a huge amount of money as the trillion-dollar student debt burden in the U.S. continues to grow, maybe some German lessons are in order.

Also read: John Oliver on Student Debt: Our Leaders Have Decided Education Is Not Important Enough to Pay For

Think Progress:

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…Higher education is now free throughout the country, even for international students. [Tuesday], 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.

“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.”

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—Posted by Natasha Hakimi Zapata

Natasha Hakimi Zapata
Assistant Editor and Poetry Editor
Natasha Hakimi Zapata is currently a Ph.D. candidate in Latin American Literature at the Universidad Complutense de Madrid, Spain. She also holds a Creative Writing M.F.A. from Boston University and both a…
Natasha Hakimi Zapata

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