Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Universities increase tuition fee for foreigners

Germany has long been a haven for foreign students who seek a solid education without demanding astronomical prices elsewhere, writes Der Spiegel magazine website on Thursday.

Germany 186,000 international students currently pay the same as locals - usually a maximum of € 100 a semester, which typically includes half price ticket transportation and health insurance.

But when the government gives Saxony state university of choice earlier this year to decide whether to prosecute the high cost of student non-EU foreigners, many thought it could pave the way for a national initiative to go.

So far, only one university in Leipzig have taken the offer, the magazine writes. From this September, music and theater academy HMT will hike costs for international students per year from € 220 to € 3,600 today.

"We do not want to be as cheap as possible, but as good as possible," said Dean Robert Ehrlich HMT magazine. Competing schools in Amsterdam and Madrid have a higher charge for foreigners, he added.

And HMT could be a model for higher education in Germany, with calls for a differentiated fee for foreign students is getting hard over the last few years.

In 2010, the Minister of Science Rhine-Westphalia Andreas Pinkwart demanded that "rich foreigners have to pay what it is worth to study in one of the world's most prestigious scientific."

And in 2012, the Association of German Science Sponsor calling Germany to follow the Netherlands, Sweden and the UK lead in demanding a minimum of € 10,000 annual fee for foreign students, which will bring in an extra € 1.2 billion a year for the German education sector.

Cost of education as a very controversial subject in Germany, however, remains to be seen whether the university could introduce them - even for foreign students - in the face of militant student body at the time.

In 2006, for example, the University of Bonn tried to ask non-EU students for an additional € 150 per semester to cover the cost of German language courses and classroom orientation. However, the university decided to eliminate the cost of just three years later in response to student protests continue.

Saxony rule changes could prove equally controversial if other universities take advantage of their right to decide whether to charge foreigners, but at the cost HMT is the exception rather than the rule.

Critics fear the higher costs would lose valuable German foreign students, who mostly interested in very low cost, and point to a lot of people complained about the lack of skilled workers and the desperate need to attract the best brains from abroad.