American Students are going to Germany
The appeal of a good education, and one that doesn’t cost anything, is hard for anyone to ignore. That is why, across the US parents are preparing for their children to leave for Germany to pursue higher education.
More than 4,600 US students are fully enrolled at Germany universities, an increase of 20% over three years. At the same time, the total student debt in the US has reached $1.3 trillion (£850 billion).
In the 2014-2015 academic year, private US universities charged students on average more than $31,000 for tuition and fees, with many schools charging well over $50,000. Public universities demanded in-state residents to pay more than $9,000 and out-of-state students paid almost $23,000, according to College Board. In Germany, students pay a fee to the university each semester to support the student union and other activities. This so called ‘semester fee’ rarely exceeds €150 and in many cases includes public transportation tickets.
Most universities offer subsidised language programmes, and in some cases a certificate proving the applicant’s German skills is required to apply to certain courses or scholarships.
For a society with a demographic problem – a growing retired population and fewer young people entering college and the workforce – qualified immigration is seen as a resolution to the problem. Keeping international students who have studied in the country is the ideal way of immigration. They have the needed certificates, they don’t have a language problem at the end of their stay and they know the culture.
In the US, meanwhile, there won’t be any movement to create a system similar to the one in Germany as long as people flock to expensive schools for their reputation. College education in the US is seen as privilege and expected to cost money and in Germany it is seen as an extension of a free high school education where one expects it to be provided.