German court ruling pavesway for university fees

26th January 2005, Comments 0 comments

26 January 2005, KARLSRUHE - Germany's highest court on Wednesday cleared the way for universities to impose fees for first-time students in a ruling against the government. The constitutional court in Karlsruhe said state governments should have the right to pass legislation allowing fees to be charged to help cover the rising costs of university education. Six states led by centre-right governments had appealed to the court to review a ban on university fees imposed by the federal Social Democrat-Greens

26 January 2005

KARLSRUHE - Germany's highest court on Wednesday cleared the way for universities to impose fees for first-time students in a ruling against the government.

The constitutional court in Karlsruhe said state governments should have the right to pass legislation allowing fees to be charged to help cover the rising costs of university education.

Six states led by centre-right governments had appealed to the court to review a ban on university fees imposed by the federal Social Democrat-Greens federal government in 2002.

Five of the states have announced they would introduce student fees as soon as possible.

Unlike many European countries and the United States which charge tuition fees, Germany has had a tradition of free university education. So far, states have only been able to charge fees if students have significantly exceeded regular study time.

But rising costs have forced cash-strapped authorities to look at new ways of selecting students and financing higher education.

Supporters of tuition fees argue that they will both improve the quality of the country's universities and encourage students to study more efficiently.

Opponents say it will make it even harder for young people to study, burdening students with debts and forcing them to take on more jobs on the side, thus possibly lengthening study time.

Student union leaders called Wednesday for widespread protests at colleges and universities against the court decision.

The Karlsruhe court ruling urges states to impose "socially acceptable" rules governing tuition fees.

State politicians have argued for a fee of about EUR 500 per semester, or EUR 1,000 a year, to be accompanied by a student loan system deferring repayment until the student is in work. 

DPA

Subject: German news 

 

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