By Safin Ilyas - June 12, 2019

During my studies in the USA, I noticed that there is a big difference between the study costs in the USA and in Germany. For many people in the USA, studying means entering a better life. The job market is tough and a good degree from a university or college is a "must have" in some industries. But the way there is a hard one. In conversation with many American students, including my roommate, I heard that financing my studies is a big challenge.


If you want to start studying after high school to become a doctor, engineer or teacher, you need a large financial reserve. A Bachelor's degree costs an average of $28,000 per year at a private university and $7,000 at a state university, plus maintenance costs. Top universities such as Harvard University or Stanford University, with over $50,000 tuition fees a year, are out of reach for many young people simply because of the funding. Many parents start to save for their child’s education at birth. However, most students still have to take out a student loans from a bank. Even if they earn a lot later in their career, they still encounter  pressure and difficulties to pay the student loans in the first years of their career. But fortunately, almost all universities in the USA offer scholarships for the reduction of tuition fees. Scholarships are awarded for example in sports, or art or for low-income households that can reduce up to 100% of tuition fees. Many students at UCSB have full or partial financing Scholarships which enables them to study.

Compared to the USA, the cost of studying at a German university is very low. Most of the German students study in the classical way at state universities. One year for a bachelor's degree study costs only 250$-650$. Even at the top German universities such as the University of Heidelberg or RWTH Aachen, the fees do not exceed $600 per year. The biggest challenge for the students in Germany is to achieve the necessary GPA in the Oberstufe (high school) to be admitted to the desired course of studies. Scholarships to reduce tuition fees are generally not offered by universities.


Why is there such a big difference?

The main reason for the large cost difference between studying in the USA and in Germany is mainly based on education policy. In the USA, state universities are financed by state taxpayers' money but this does not include the costs of teaching students. The taxpayers don’t “want” to pay indirectly for the education of another person, instead everyone has to finance it for themselves. This is based on the mentality "everyone makes their own luck".

Germany is characterised by a social education policy. The state tries to make education accessible to people from all economic social strata. The state invests a large part of the taxpayers' money in the state universities and thus also finances teaching for all students.

Educational opportunities are very important for the American and German society. Financing should be regulated by a fair and socially oriented education policy for students and taxpayers. Scholarships and other financial support should be offered even more, because there are many young people who are motivated and determined to study but cannot do so due to the financial situation of their own family. But, the alternative of a student loan in the USA and even in Germany should also not be seen directly as a financial burden, but rather as an investment in one's own education and future.

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