Beary: Should we take Germany’s approach to tuition?


SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

College students pay an arm and a leg for education at a university level, but what are they really paying for? As Iowa’s lawmakers debate whether to raise the tuition for universities in Iowa, Germany has made its final step to being tuition-free.

According to an Oct. 15 Daily Iowan article, “Third tuition freeze not on the horizon,” the UI is looking at an inflation increase of 1.6 percent to 3.2 percent, a hard hit for students, with no help “on the horizon” from the state’s Board of Regents. But last week, the regents changed their tune. At a meeting Oct 23, several regents signaled their support for a third-consecutive tuition freeze for resident students.

This still leaves out-of-state tuition on a continual rise, and thousands of students will have to accommodate. But across the Pond, Germany has taken the final step to eliminate its tuition expenses. This concept seems unreal to students in the United States.

It’s every student’s dream to have the full college experience. In Germany, the college experience involves driving to and from class; that’s all. In the United States, it seems staying up all night to go to class hung over the next day is the ultimate college experience. Not to mention being involved in student organizations and possibly even greek life.

On the other hand, in Germany, students do not have the room to grow. As the students are accepted into their programs, one-on-one interaction with the professor is nonexistent along with extracurricular activities. An average freshmen seminar class at the UI would be roughly 30 to 50 students. German students see classes of around 200.

Colleges in the United States and Germany obviously function significantly differently. Germany’s students go purely for education, whereas students in the United States are there for many reasons.

Could we follow in Germany’s steps and eliminate education costs, even if it means that the college life that we in America have become so fond of disappears? Maybe the answer to this question is not elimination but more assistance and guidance for the existing system. If federal and state governments were to set more funds aside for larger grants and scholarships, it would help students in the long run.

According to “Learning and Earning: Working in College” (2001), 57 percent of students from ages 16-24 worked part- or full-time, up from 49 percent in 1984. Students now are far more likely to be working throughout college in order to pay for the bills; some may be looking at even working several jobs.

If the government were to go as far as lowering interest rates, tuition costs, and offering more money for students, this could result in a rise in the graduation rate, which ultimately would result in higher rates of job placements. The day our nation starts moving to the future is the day that students don’t spend the rest of their lives paying back the government for the cost of their education.

In today's issue:

Privacy Policy (8/15/07) | Terms of Use (4/28/08) | Content Submission Agreement (8/23/07) | Copyright Compliance Policy (8/25/07) | RSS Terms of Use

Copyright © The Daily Iowan, All Rights Reserved.