As disappointing as it may be for students completing their higher education studies this year, universities across Germany are now planning to abolish tuition fees. These were introduced in 2005 to part finance the public education system, but were never accepted by a nation that firmly believes in a free education.
Following a federal court decision, eight out of the 16 state governments started charging moderate tuition fees, claiming the money would be used to benefit students, including services offered and infrastructure. However, this was never a popular measure, and one after another, most universities got rid of the unwelcome fees. Bavaria, one of the only two last standing states, will wipe out tuition fees this year, followed by Lower Saxony next year.
The reason why so many are against tuition fees is because, despite the claim that is for the student's benefit, there are no evident signs felt by the students. In contrast, university officials defend student's contributions in the form of tuition fees had a significant impact on teaching.
In many countries around the world, including United States of America and England, tuition fees are the accepted norm and can be extremely expensive. Although any fees charged by german universities were modest in comparison, many still believe that they could work as a barrier for those wishing to pursue a higher education.
Despite the fact that opponents to tuition fees may have won for now, many predict that the debate will eventually be back on the table. Particularly in times of recession, it may soon be evident that state funding is simply not enough to cover universities needs.