Author Topic: Free German University Education  (Read 2300 times)

malacca

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Free German University Education
« on: April 04, 2018, 09:39:49 AM »
Well we all have heard about it.

I recently attended a presentation given by a German embassy worker on education in Germany. He started out by stating that "You all have heard that German Universities are free - even for foreigners. I want to clarify this. Yes, it is true"

The seminar went on to say:
1) There are degrees that are taught only in English. These are not free.
2) There are degrees that are taught in English and German (start in English for 2 years then in German). Some of these are free.
3) There are degrees that are taught only in German. These are free.

But he said entrance is competitive and 40% drop out - so no slackers.

He also said that the motivation behind the give away is that Germany needs more skilled and educated workers. German companies lack enough qualified workers in Germany or abroad.

Even before this seminar we were thinking about sending our kids to Germany for higher education. US Universities are basically a scam. My friend spent $1.2 million for his 2 - just two - kids' education (both kids Ivy league undergrad and ivy med and ivy law.).


tralfamadorian

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Re: Free German University Education
« Reply #1 on: April 04, 2018, 02:37:22 PM »
That's awesome.

I have it on my FIRE list to explore getting an advanced degree in continental Europe for personal enrichment and the easy visa to live there for a year or two. And lots of schools are 529 approved- lesser taxed investments to pay for a year in Budapest or Amsterdam? Yes, please!

MrThatsDifferent

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Re: Free German University Education
« Reply #2 on: April 04, 2018, 07:11:15 PM »
I’ve been telling everyone, make your kid learn German, send to Germany for university studies. You will not get a bad education in Germany.

Hula Hoop

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Re: Free German University Education
« Reply #3 on: April 05, 2018, 11:09:56 AM »
It's not just Germany.  Many universities here in Europe are very low cost.  Problem is that the fees are often higher if you're a non-EU national.  Here in Italy, university fees are means tested and generally under Euro 2000 a year for public universities.  But it costs for more non EU students and, of course, you've got to speak really good Italian to survive.  I've heard that there are degrees entirely taught in English in the Netherlands and some other European countries though. And someone once told me that there is an engineering university in Milan that now teaches mainly in English.

Anyway, no way in hell I'm sending my kids back to the US for their university education.  Their options are either here in Italy or another European country.

Hirondelle

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Re: Free German University Education
« Reply #4 on: April 13, 2018, 01:53:40 AM »
It's not just Germany.  Many universities here in Europe are very low cost.  Problem is that the fees are often higher if you're a non-EU national.  Here in Italy, university fees are means tested and generally under Euro 2000 a year for public universities.  But it costs for more non EU students and, of course, you've got to speak really good Italian to survive. I've heard that there are degrees entirely taught in English in the Netherlands and some other European countries though. And someone once told me that there is an engineering university in Milan that now teaches mainly in English.

Anyway, no way in hell I'm sending my kids back to the US for their university education.  Their options are either here in Italy or another European country.

Yes, more and more bachelor programs in the Netherlands are taught in English (and master programs are already mostly English for years). However, as a non-EU student you do need to pay closer to 10-20k rather than the 2k the locals pay, but there's ways around this with scholarships. But even at the 10-20k rate I think it can still be profitable coming from the US where a similar quality of education might cost you much more than this.

Other countries still seem more limited for bachelor degrees in English, but for a masters there's plenty of choice.

Hula Hoop

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Re: Free German University Education
« Reply #5 on: April 13, 2018, 04:52:08 AM »
It's not just Germany.  Many universities here in Europe are very low cost.  Problem is that the fees are often higher if you're a non-EU national.  Here in Italy, university fees are means tested and generally under Euro 2000 a year for public universities.  But it costs for more non EU students and, of course, you've got to speak really good Italian to survive. I've heard that there are degrees entirely taught in English in the Netherlands and some other European countries though. And someone once told me that there is an engineering university in Milan that now teaches mainly in English.

Anyway, no way in hell I'm sending my kids back to the US for their university education.  Their options are either here in Italy or another European country.

Yes, more and more bachelor programs in the Netherlands are taught in English (and master programs are already mostly English for years). However, as a non-EU student you do need to pay closer to 10-20k rather than the 2k the locals pay, but there's ways around this with scholarships. But even at the 10-20k rate I think it can still be profitable coming from the US where a similar quality of education might cost you much more than this.

Other countries still seem more limited for bachelor degrees in English, but for a masters there's plenty of choice.

That's great to hear.  My kids are bilingual Italian-English and EU citizens so the Netherlands might be a great option either for  undergraduate or a Masters degree in future.  There are some decent Italian universities but I'm not a huge fan of many of them for various reasons so we might consider sending them to Northern Europe if English is so prevalent.  But of course since their entire education will be in Italian they'd probably be more comfortable in an Italian speaking than an English speaking university.

Moonwaves

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Re: Free German University Education
« Reply #6 on: April 13, 2018, 07:21:55 AM »
Well we all have heard about it.

I recently attended a presentation given by a German embassy worker on education in Germany. He started out by stating that "You all have heard that German Universities are free - even for foreigners. I want to clarify this. Yes, it is true"

The seminar went on to say:
1) There are degrees that are taught only in English. These are not free.
2) There are degrees that are taught in English and German (start in English for 2 years then in German). Some of these are free.
3) There are degrees that are taught only in German. These are free.

But he said entrance is competitive and 40% drop out - so no slackers.

He also said that the motivation behind the give away is that Germany needs more skilled and educated workers. German companies lack enough qualified workers in Germany or abroad.

Even before this seminar we were thinking about sending our kids to Germany for higher education. US Universities are basically a scam. My friend spent $1.2 million for his 2 - just two - kids' education (both kids Ivy league undergrad and ivy med and ivy law.).
Not like a German to be less than precise. There are in fact fees in place in several states for non-EU citizens or those doing a second degree. On the other hand, the level of fees is very low (e.g. €1,500/semester for non-EU students studying in Baden-Württemberg) relatively speaking. There’s an overview on German wikipedia if anyone is interested.

From what I remember, fees for non-EU students in Ireland run to about €20,000 (per year I think), which is also still cheap compared to some of what I’ve heard from the US. Living expenses are very high there, too, though. I read in a newspaper article last year that lots of Irish students have actually started going to Dutch universities now because there are plenty of English language degrees available and it’s less expensive than studying at home.

Hula Hoop

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Re: Free German University Education
« Reply #7 on: April 13, 2018, 07:41:09 AM »
Moonwaves - it's kind of complicated here in the EU.  A British friend told me that university in Scotland is free but in England it costs an arm and a leg.  She said that EU students who are not English can go to Scottish universities for free (ie what the locals pay) but English student can't as otherwise Scottish universities would be overwhelmed with kids from the south (or could it be that historic hatred of the English?).  So my kids could study in Scotland for free but her daughter (who is half English) can't.  Of course this may all change with Brexit.

Cranky

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Re: Free German University Education
« Reply #8 on: April 14, 2018, 05:22:12 AM »
I was interested to read in a recent NYT article that British students typically end up with much higher undergraduate debt than US students do, mostly for living expenses.

Lyssa

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Re: Free German University Education
« Reply #9 on: April 17, 2018, 01:53:13 PM »
Moonwaves - it's kind of complicated here in the EU.  A British friend told me that university in Scotland is free but in England it costs an arm and a leg.  She said that EU students who are not English can go to Scottish universities for free (ie what the locals pay) but English student can't as otherwise Scottish universities would be overwhelmed with kids from the south (or could it be that historic hatred of the English?). 

Possibly both. But also: because they can.

Brexit is going to be a game changer but under EU law any institution in a member state cannot discriminate agianst citizens of other member states. They may however (save for any other rules under local law) freely discriminate agaist their own citizens.

Quite a few German universities and state taught programs award part of their available spots also based on residence in the particular state in question.

malacca

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Re: Free German University Education
« Reply #10 on: April 21, 2018, 11:17:47 AM »
This week we discovered that my youngest has a talent for music. He started playing piano about 9 months ago and is doing quite well. But he often ignored his sheet music and started playing other songs. They sounded pretty good but you could see him experimenting and trying different things.

Well, it turns out he was playing songs he had heard here and there. It all clicked this week when his piano teacher excitingly said he has perfect pitch. He made my son turn away from the piano and then played a key and my son was able to immediately say the key "c," "g," "d minor," etc.

So now my higher education thinking may have to change. OK, I have 12 years before he is in college but I always plan ahead.

We will head to Europe this or next summer to look at universities for my daughter. She is 10 but will enter university at 16 or 17. At this point Germany is high on the list.




Hirondelle

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Re: Free German University Education
« Reply #11 on: April 21, 2018, 11:40:18 AM »
Malacca, just wondering, why are you already looking at universities for your daughter if she's only 10? She won't have the understanding of what it all means to her yet and I honestly don't think the university choice should be made by the parents (ofcourse advicing is fine). I think it's kinda crazy early, even if she'll be entering university at a younger than average age.

Allie

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Re: Free German University Education
« Reply #12 on: April 21, 2018, 12:04:44 PM »
I just found out about this free German education from a friend at dinner last night.  Her children attend the German immersion school in our city and she is hoping they will become fluent and interested enough to get into a German school.  Apparently, you have to score very well on the enterance exams late in middle school or early in high school to qualify but free education and some form of residency or citizenship is available.  How awesome is that?  I'm really happy to hear that this is for any student, not just the students in programs that have a connection to German universities...our immersion school brings over German university students to be student teachers!

Now to convince my children to study German...

BuildingmyFIRE

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Re: Free German University Education
« Reply #13 on: April 30, 2018, 01:40:36 PM »
If there are any Sephardic Jewish decedents reading here- Spain and Portugal have active repatriation laws right now -- Spain's expires next year.  Under it, you can get dual citizenship without giving up your native citizenship -- and thereby take advantage of the education system.  So there's another option.

malacca

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Re: Free German University Education
« Reply #14 on: June 01, 2018, 05:58:22 AM »
Malacca, just wondering, why are you already looking at universities for your daughter if she's only 10? She won't have the understanding of what it all means to her yet and I honestly don't think the university choice should be made by the parents (ofcourse advicing is fine). I think it's kinda crazy early, even if she'll be entering university at a younger than average age.

She is a grade ahead so starting middle school soon. Just 5 years to start applying and 6 years until she starts college!

Need to plan ahead if you want free/cheap education.

Anyway, the seminar was being held at a German festival so I attended. Free German beer and free advice on free university. Can't beat that!

malacca

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Re: Free German University Education
« Reply #15 on: June 01, 2018, 06:03:34 AM »
If there are any Sephardic Jewish decedents reading here- Spain and Portugal have active repatriation laws right now -- Spain's expires next year.  Under it, you can get dual citizenship without giving up your native citizenship -- and thereby take advantage of the education system.  So there's another option.

I missed the cut off for Irish citizenship when I was young by a year. Don't think I have any Jewish decedents. Would be nice to get Spanish or Portuguese citizenship.

Hirondelle

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Re: Free German University Education
« Reply #16 on: June 01, 2018, 06:22:06 AM »
Malacca, just wondering, why are you already looking at universities for your daughter if she's only 10? She won't have the understanding of what it all means to her yet and I honestly don't think the university choice should be made by the parents (ofcourse advicing is fine). I think it's kinda crazy early, even if she'll be entering university at a younger than average age.

She is a grade ahead so starting middle school soon. Just 5 years to start applying and 6 years until she starts college!

Need to plan ahead if you want free/cheap education.

Anyway, the seminar was being held at a German festival so I attended. Free German beer and free advice on free university. Can't beat that!

5 years sounds like forever to me. When I started out in high school I certainly wasn't thinking about what to study and at what uni yet. Now I'm from Europe myself, so for us it's different in the sense that we have cheap education anyways and that applying isn't needed in my country (any pre-uni high school education will get you into uni). So you just start thinking about it 1-2 years prior to graduation, even if you want to go abroad.

The reason I brought it up is because to me it sounds a bit controlling; what does your daughter want? As she's 10 she might not have an opinion yet or greatly change hers in the coming years. Maybe by the time she's 16 she wants to go to an Ivy League university and there's no point in moving to Germany. Or maybe she wants to learn a trade rather than getting a uni degree.

Going to a seminar for the free German beer is always an excellent option though!!

Trifele

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Re: Free German University Education
« Reply #17 on: June 08, 2018, 07:51:36 AM »
I'm bilingual, and about 30 years ago (I'm old now :)) I attended German university for a year as a gap year between college and law school.  It was free, and very glad to hear that it still is.  Our 12 year old is studying German, and this might be a great option for him when he is ready.  I wonder if 529 money can be used for housing expenses abroad?

tralfamadorian

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Re: Free German University Education
« Reply #18 on: June 08, 2018, 12:25:18 PM »
I wonder if 529 money can be used for housing expenses abroad?

It can if it's an approved school.

Trifele

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Re: Free German University Education
« Reply #19 on: June 08, 2018, 12:50:24 PM »
I wonder if 529 money can be used for housing expenses abroad?

It can if it's an approved school.

Thanks!  Just checked and only 4 German universities are approved, mostly specialty masters-type programs.  Boo.  :)

FIRE@50

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Re: Free German University Education
« Reply #20 on: June 08, 2018, 01:01:47 PM »
Even before this seminar we were thinking about sending our kids to Germany for higher education. US Universities are basically a scam. My friend spent $1.2 million for his 2 - just two - kids' education (both kids Ivy league undergrad and ivy med and ivy law.).

Everyone just let this go? That is like saying that "German cars are basically a scam because I have a friend that spent over $300k on two BMW's!"

You are allowed to buy a used VW...

malacca

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Re: Free German University Education
« Reply #21 on: June 10, 2018, 02:17:31 AM »
But FIRE@50, you missed the point. German education is quality education. As is the UK. Ireland. Scandinavia.

But it doesn't cost a fortune.

Kind of like US health care. "B" grade outcomes at 4X the price.

People in the USA need to put down the Crack Pipe and see the reality. Some things we have been "sold on" as being so great are nothing but a typical American scam.

The two big scams in America are health care and higher education. Both have become unbelievably expensive - for no particular reason.

My uni had one person and one student worker in financial aid. The school cost $5800 per year for tuition in 1984.

Last time I visited there was at least a dozen people in financial aid. They were basically sales people trying to get you to come to the school  - and get you to sign up for huge loans. A bunch of slick people paid to deceive prospective parents and students. Now tuition is $28,000. And I am sure the room and board portion is also another small fortune.

Seems to correlate with the massive increase in student loans. Hmmm....




Trifele

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Re: Free German University Education
« Reply #22 on: June 10, 2018, 05:21:17 AM »
Great post @malacca -- you are right.  DH is a university professor and we have seen those same changes over the years to higher education in the US.  Even public universities have become businesses with -- as you correctly point out -- staffs of sales people.

I'll only disagree with you on one point -- where you said the changes to higher education and health care have come for no particular reason.  There is a reason -- the US has chosen to allow those two things to become capitalist and for-profit.  The US culture has not (yet) viewed either health care or higher education as good things in and of themselves, or a right to be provided to all. 

malacca

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Re: Free German University Education
« Reply #23 on: June 13, 2018, 08:46:28 AM »
@Trifele

Correct, we have turned health care and education into businesses. Big ugly businesses.


FIRE@50

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Re: Free German University Education
« Reply #24 on: June 13, 2018, 09:00:21 AM »
But FIRE@50, you missed the point. German education is quality education. As is the UK. Ireland. Scandinavia.

But it doesn't cost a fortune.

Kind of like US health care. "B" grade outcomes at 4X the price.

People in the USA need to put down the Crack Pipe and see the reality. Some things we have been "sold on" as being so great are nothing but a typical American scam.

The two big scams in America are health care and higher education. Both have become unbelievably expensive - for no particular reason.

My uni had one person and one student worker in financial aid. The school cost $5800 per year for tuition in 1984.

Last time I visited there was at least a dozen people in financial aid. They were basically sales people trying to get you to come to the school  - and get you to sign up for huge loans. A bunch of slick people paid to deceive prospective parents and students. Now tuition is $28,000. And I am sure the room and board portion is also another small fortune.

Seems to correlate with the massive increase in student loans. Hmmm....

German education is quality, but US universities aren't? Is that why people come from all over the world to attend them?

College is unbelievably expensive? The university that I went to in the late '90s was about $5k per year. It is currently about $7.5k per year. No, it is not a world class institution, but is that unbelievably expensive?

I currently live in Maryland and plan to encourage my child to attend the University of Maryland after she finishes high school. This is ranked as a top 100 school and tuition is $10.4k. Is that unbelievable for a quality education?

I agree that the easy access to student loans is a problem but I in no way do I believe that American Universities are a scam.