Thursday, October 16, 2014

Tuition Free: GERMANY!

Where to get a free college degree

Want to attend college for free? It can happen if you learn German.
All German universities are now free to Americans and all other international students. The last German state to charge tuition at its universities struck down the fees this week.
Even before Germany abolished college tuition for all students, the price was a steal. Typically semester fees were around $630. What's more, German students receive many perks including discounts for food, clothing and events, as well as inexpensive or even free transportation.
In explaining why Germany made this move, Dorothee Stapelfeldt, a Hamburg senator, called tuition fees "unjust" and added that "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."
Actually, German universities were free up until 2006 when they started charging tuition. That triggered such a crush of criticism that German states began phasing out this policy. Lower Saxony was the last holdout.
It's too bad that politicians in the U.S. don't feel that a college education is worth supporting appropriately. State aid to the nation's public universities took a nosedive during the 2008 recession and education funding remains well below those levels. The average state is spending 23 percent less per student than before the recession, according to a report by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.
Actually, state support has been declining for public universities for a quarter of a century. Using an interactive tool from The Chronicle of Higher Education, you can see how state government subsidies have cratered at individual institutions.
With the average undergrad borrower now leaving school with more than $29,000 in debt, the free ride in Germany can look awfully tempting.
How to handle the language barrier
German is not an easy language to learn. Fortunately, however, there are international language programs in Germany, which have become very popular with international students before they tackle obtaining a degree in a different language.
What's more, an increasing number of German universities are offering degrees in English. These are often called international studies programs or in some other way have the word international in their title.


There are some things to consider when seriously thinking about a German University degree. Does this mean if I go to a German University I can then work in the European Union? There are some differences in the educational systems of the United States and Germany. There are three types of high schools in Germany. Their University bound high school teaches the equivalent of the first two years of University in the United States. Most German Universities don't offer bachelor degrees. Their degrees are the equivalent of a masters degree. If you cannot work in the European Union, then upon return to the United States, someone from this country must put an equivalency to your German education. Most Americans don't know what they are looking at and will assume you don't have the equivalent of a bachelors degree because no general requirements are taught at German University. General requirements are taught at their University bound High School. To get a fair assessment, you should take your degree to someone who has experience in both educational systems. Then it takes a minimum of two years to really learn a language. Dive in, go to Germany and live the culture. Immerse yourself. If you can work in the EU, you'll work about 40 hours a week even if you are a manager. Over 40 means overtime for managers too. Then there is at least two or three holidays a month in which everyone is off. You'll start off with either 5 or 6 weeks vacation a year. Good Luck.

As an American who just completed her MSc. in physics at Uni Stuttgart, a few pointers.
1.) Gaining fluency in German is not an option. It is mandatory for living in the country for several years. More master's degree have English options. Still be prepared to speak, read and learn in German.
2.) Attend university in America for your bachelors, double major in German and whatever it is you want to study (for me it was physics)
3.) Don't plan on doing a bachelors degree in Germany, all bachelor programs have lectures in German. Attend a cheap university back in the states (like San Diego State) and study abroad for the maximum of 2 years. You can then study abroad in Germany and attend relevant courses to your major in German to know for sure whether or not the move is right for you. German universities are academically more challenging than American ones. A's (1's & 1,3's) aren't common. Most courses have one grade, one chance to pass, the final exam.
I have spent nearly five years in Germany now and am happier and healthy then the first 20 years of my life in San Diego.
More information about studying in Germany can be found at the DAAD[.]org or you contact your local DAAD young ambassador with specific questions. 

Dear American friends,
as a German I'd just like to say: PLEASE don't all send you kids our way! Or at least don't send them to the bigger cities like Berlin, Munich or Hamburg. There are literally NO APARTMENTS left to rent and the state universities are bursting at the seams. Besides, judging from the fellows you keep sending already, they are NOT here to study (unless bar hopping is a major in the States, which sounds frighteningly possible). If you HAVE to pick a German university for your kid(s), look for smaller schools in the lesser known cities. BTU Senftenberg, University of Braunschweig, etc. 
Oh, and btw: There is an election coming up in your country. And if you like free (or at least affordable) education, decided to make THAT a priority instead of gun ownership, curtailing women's reproductive rights, a childish obsession with lower taxes (for rich folks) or limiting the ability for non-white people to vote and VOTE FOR ANY PARTY THAT DOES NOT HAVE AN ELEPHANT IN ITS LOGO!!!
Thank you.

This is where we should be focusing our taxpayers' dollars. Instead, we are hell-bent on destroying peoples and countries with our military might. $500,000,000 in military support to destabilize yet another country (Syria) may sound good politically, yet that amount would pay for a lot of tuition, books and housing for students. We are sending $500,000,000 to aid the gun deaths in Syria while our own FEMA has refused to allocate one dime to rebuilding our own citizens' homes destroyed by wildfires in Washington and other states. Shame on our politicians! 

@Maria Lopez Vega Many, if not most Germans, do not go to a college like the US.  They have many technical apprenticeships and vocational schools that the US has moved away from.  If Germany tried to give everyone a free education in an American-style education system, they'd be bankrupt in a month.  

Those sneaky Germans, educating their children. No wonder they are so productive.

QUE 84 
What an outstanding effort by the German people to educate and produce productive citizens. America would be smart to rebuke the class system and cut down on violence and incarceration by giving their citizens a chance to make the country better by educating the masses.  No wonder the Germans are the top industrialized country in the world and their engineers are supreme. Sad that racism and profits come first instead of building a strong foundation for the future of a great nation.
MH  Be careful!
Remember you can "study" all you want in Germany but if you don't stay for the exams, you may have nothing but your knowledge to show for it.  Without a Burser's Office, no one but you holds your "transcript".  Many don't give the American "credits" that easily push our university students from step 1 to step 2, and after a certain number of credits, hand them a degree. In those cases, it is you who decides when you have learned enough to set in motion the procedure to take your exams. 
I had a good friend who studied in Germany and didn't pass the aeronautical exam at the end.  It was particularly exclusive, perhaps because they didn't need a lot of these engineers that year.  At any rate, while he clearly learned a lot in Germany, he had nothing concrete to show for 6 years of study.  (He came to America and got some credits transferred at a University here, finished his degree here and went on to get an MA, then started his own international business  .... and made millions.) 
 ECKHARD      As a result of the "Bologna process,"
all university systems who joined (29 European governments) now award BAs and MAs and count progress in ECTS credit units (European Transfer Credit System). The system is somewhat complicated
because in Germany people taking the same class may earn different credits, depending on the work they do for the class (attend and take test, write and submit a "Protokoll", write a research paper). The standard amount of ECTS points is 30 per semester, so a typical ECTS point is 'worth' about half a credit in the US. One of the attractions of the system was to avoid situations like the one Maureen wrote about above, where you have nothing to show if you don't pass your "Examen".

Generally speaking, the time towards the BA has become pretty tough with lots of classes and exams, and you are not admitted to the MA level if you do not reach a certain grade point average. The results is that, whereas many German students used to take in lectures from a variety of German universities over the course of their studies, they are now a lot less mobile.  Why?  While theoretically their foreign credits transfer easily, in practice their course of study is so tightly organized that many don't feel they can afford to leave their university lest they miss a specialized class at their university.

FYI:  Study for many government jobs (such as teaching) still presupposes a Staatsexamen, which has not really "succumbed" to the BA/MA structure.

1 comment:

  1. ch glaube, ich besser anfangen, sehr seriouly zu gehen aufs College oder Gradute Schule in Deutschland!
    I think I better start thinking very seriouly about going to college or Gradute School in Germany