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posted by martyb on Thursday October 16 2014, @01:55AM   Printer-friendly
from the frei-für-alles dept.

The Center for American Progress reports

Prospective students in the United States who can't afford to pay for college or don't want to rack up tens of thousands in student debt should try their luck in Germany. Higher education is now free throughout the country, even for international students. Yesterday, Lower Saxony became the last of seven German states to abolish tuition fees, which were already extremely low compared to those paid in the United States.

German universities only began charging for tuition in 2006, when the German Constitutional Court ruled that limited fees, combined with loans, were not in conflict the country's commitment to universal education. The measure proved unpopular, however, and German states that had instituted fees began dropping them one by one.

"We got rid of tuition fees because we do not want higher education which depends on the wealth of the parents," Gabrielle Heinen-Kjajic, the minister for science and culture in Lower Saxony, said in a statement. Her words were echoed by many in the German government. "Tuition fees are unjust," said Hamburg's senator for science Dorothee Stapelfeldt. "They discourage young people who do not have a traditional academic family background from taking up study. It is a core task of politics to ensure that young women and men can study with a high quality standard free of charge in Germany."

[...]Free education is a concept that is embraced in most of Europe with notable exceptions like the U.K., where the government voted to lift the cap on university fees in 2010. The measure has reportedly cost more money than it brought in. The Guardian reported in March that students are failing to pay back student loans at such a rate that "the government will lose more money than it would have saved from keeping the old £3,000 ($4,865) tuition fee system."

[...]learning German might be the best financial choice an American high school student can make.

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  • (Score: 1, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 16 2014, @02:04AM

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 16 2014, @02:04AM (#106502)

    No question, the burden of saving and paying for college education is immense for many families in the US. However, that's an incentive for workers not to slack off too much. One can argue that in Europe, the work/life balance might have shifted too far in one direction, with global competition coming not just from the US and Canada but from Asia and everywhere else.

    Also, a lot of state universities and colleges provide very good education at budget (relatively speaking) prices for those who qualify. And there are government deals for ex-military personnel, etc.

    • (Score: 1) by sea on Thursday October 16 2014, @04:23AM

      by sea (86) Subscriber Badge on Thursday October 16 2014, @04:23AM (#106534) Journal

      It's also an incentive to not go to college at all and instead try to start a business or get some skills, as we see so in stories often on the other site about the uselessness of college.

      It also dramatically increases the separation between social classes.

      Is the incentive to avoid slacking off worth this larger incentive to avoid college altogether, and the separation between social classes?

      I think that it isn't. Paying for college brings a much larger negative effect than positive.

    • (Score: 3, Interesting) by q.kontinuum on Thursday October 16 2014, @04:50AM

      by q.kontinuum (532) on Thursday October 16 2014, @04:50AM (#106539) Journal
      Devil's advocate? For the sake of argument [xkcd.com]? ;-) So, what exactly is the problem with / cost caused by students slacking off a bit, maybe taking a bit longer? The time they do not spend at university they do not cost money (except maybe one row in the administration database) and two or three letters a year). What's causing the cost is staff for the lectures, correction of exams, infrastructure for the students actually being at the university etc. Number of students slacking off can be averaged and accordingly more students can be admitted to the university, keeping the number of students actually being at the university at the same level.

      Now, what do students do when they slack off? Could this be beneficial to them or to society? Well, I should know since my education took a bit longer as well... My degree is in Computer Science. The education started extremely theoretical and I got a bit doubtful if this is really what I want to do for the rest of my live. Luckily, after second year of my education I got a job in the field of my study. This took a lot more effort than just flipping burgers and wasn't possible working just 10h a week or similar, but at the same time gave me lots of insight in the field I wanted to spend my professional future in; my future employers still benefit from this experience. The job was far more exciting and motivating than the lectures, basically I had all the work I wanted. Then, after a bit, the .com bubble burst. The prospects of finishing my education fast and making a good living were not so good anymore. At the same time, the job I had proved quite stable with lots of colleagues who didn't graduate, but were quite competent. So, yes, I did start to spend more time on my job and less on university again. Later I met my wife, and our family planning proved to be more family and less planning than I expected. Again, I had to shift focus slightly towards current employment to feed the family. (I also had to focus more on the future and worked very hard to finish my education in parallel; if I had to pay substantial tuition fees at that time, I'd have had to give up.)

      Now, this is of course only my story. But generally the typical age of a student is the age where they might need to get independent from their parents for various reasons, they might start a family or similar, or they are sensitive souls who need some time to adjust to adulthood or have other aspects of their life to get straight.

      Traditionally, academic education also encourages students to look beyond the strict focus of their educational subjects. Like, dabble in politics (pirate party, wikileaks), join interest groups like the famous CCC (chaos computer club), join/start open source projects (Linux kernel) etc. Maybe some of them do not even graduate in the end, but still I think those institutions are a great net-benefit to society.

      In some cases students might realise after two or three semesters that their field of education is entirely different from what they expected, while they might also get a good insight in their secondary subject and see it as much more feasible for them. In that case they do actually create some cost since the first semesters of their education is probably wasted. But it also means a decision to delay their own start as professionals in their field, which they won't take lightly, and I'd assume that overall we get more graduates motivated to work in the field they finally graduated in.

      --
      Registered IRC nick on chat.soylentnews.org: qkontinuum
    • (Score: 3, Informative) by sjames on Thursday October 16 2014, @06:38AM

      by sjames (2882) on Thursday October 16 2014, @06:38AM (#106547) Journal

      Wasn't one of the promises of technology supposed to be more leisure time for everyone?

      Well, that was the '50s and we now work more hours for less buying power in spite of the GDP/capita tripling. Meanwhile, it was once fairly common to work through school and come out debt free or close to it. That is now fairly uncommon. Recently it was pointed out that some people are having trouble keeping up their student loan payments on their RETIREMENT INCOME.

      Slacking isn't the problem. The devil seems to have been advocated quite enough.

      • (Score: 1) by khallow on Thursday October 16 2014, @01:00PM

        by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Thursday October 16 2014, @01:00PM (#106601) Journal

        Wasn't one of the promises of technology supposed to be more leisure time for everyone?

        I don't recall technology making that promise. Did it put it in writing?

        • (Score: 2) by bucc5062 on Thursday October 16 2014, @01:11PM

          by bucc5062 (699) on Thursday October 16 2014, @01:11PM (#106605)

          I believe this is the official documentation [youtube.com] you are looking for.

          --
          The more things change, the more they look the same
        • (Score: 2) by sjames on Thursday October 16 2014, @04:44PM

          by sjames (2882) on Thursday October 16 2014, @04:44PM (#106693) Journal

          You must have been living under a rock in the 50's-mid '70s or so.

          • (Score: 1) by khallow on Thursday October 16 2014, @09:48PM

            by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Thursday October 16 2014, @09:48PM (#106811) Journal
            Your original comment was rather clueless in a number of ways. The most obvious was that there was no reason to believe the promise. For example, there is the Jevons paradox [wikipedia.org]. As Wikipedia explains it:

            the increase in efficiency with which a resource is used tends to increase (rather than decrease) the rate of consumption of that resource.

            That's a 150 year old observation and long predates the "promises of technology".

            Second, since the 50s, we've had a large increase in the global supply of human labor. I'd say around a factor of five increase. If supply of something increases, especially by that much, then you should expect a decline in the price offered for it.

            Third, if you subsidize demand for something like a college education, then the price of it will go up. If the subsidies scale with that price increase, then you have long term growth of cost well in excess of either inflation or the growth of the general economy. We see that in US higher education.

            Fourth, why believe promises that are either made to further self-interest or made in ignorance? It's like pouting that you haven't gotten your flying car yet.

            • (Score: 2) by sjames on Thursday October 16 2014, @10:18PM

              by sjames (2882) on Thursday October 16 2014, @10:18PM (#106827) Journal

              What are you, 14, 15? I guess you weren't alive when the attitudes were different and some of the crap that flies now in business was taboo (and could actually ruin you if you got a reputation).

              Of course, then even the right saw that it was necessary to make the economic forces work for everyone or there would be a revolt. That seems to have been forgotten and we're starting to see signs of people fed up with it. Perhaps it will take (another) real threat of a communist revolution in the U.S. to re-balance things.

              From the perspective of a properly managed economy, technology certainly does offer leisure time for everyone. When one man with a backhoe can do the work of 20 ditch diggers in a few hours, the opportunity presents to either improve everyone's lot OR to have a very few benefit at the expense of many.

              When the same can happen for accountants and even engineers, all the more so.

              That can be accomplished either through leadership wanting to do the right thing, leadership fearful of the consequences of doing the wrong thing too much, or through a popular uprising when too much of the wrong thing has been done for too long.

              • (Score: 1) by khallow on Thursday October 16 2014, @11:29PM

                by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Thursday October 16 2014, @11:29PM (#106842) Journal

                What are you, 14, 15?

                45.

                I guess you weren't alive when the attitudes were different and some of the crap that flies now in business was taboo (and could actually ruin you if you got a reputation).

                I hate to interrupt your nostalgia wank, but that fantasy has never been true.

                From the perspective of a properly managed economy, technology certainly does offer leisure time for everyone.

                There's never been a "properly managed economy".

                That can be accomplished either through leadership wanting to do the right thing, leadership fearful of the consequences of doing the wrong thing too much, or through a popular uprising when too much of the wrong thing has been done for too long.

                None of the above.

                The fundamental reason people don't work less is because they don't want to. And if you actually tried to force people in your society to work less, then your society will be overtaken an exploited by societies that don't do that. Kind of how the US is being overtaken and exploited by China to give a contemporary example.

                And I find it interesting how the fundamental problem, a huge increase in the supply of human labor has led to all these rationalizations and blame displacement. It's the fault of the rich that US labor is no longer competitive with Chinese labor or that labor-saving technology had unintended consequences. But by all means, let's have that "communist" revolution, destroying the competitiveness of our surviving labor even more, and dig the hole deeper.

                • (Score: 2) by sjames on Friday October 17 2014, @09:06AM

                  by sjames (2882) on Friday October 17 2014, @09:06AM (#106923) Journal

                  The fundamental reason people don't work less is because they don't want to.

                  HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAH! That's a knee slapper!

                  I don't find these crazy people who go around asking for another 12 hours on Sunday and could they please miss a few more of their kid's special events. There are people who are forced to work more hours to make ends meet, but I'll bet they wouldn't complain one bit if their pay was doubled and they were cut back to 30 hours a week.

                  There are solutions to the problem of slave wages in China, it just takes someone willing to solve (rather than exploit) the problem.

                  Automation is improving daily and will naturally result in there being less and less for human workers to do. We can either make the needed adjustments to our economy and celebrate or we can snatch defeat from the jaws of victory and have ourselves a dystopian nightmare. Which would you like to see?

                  The economy is not some all powerful god whose bidding we must do or suffer the consequences. It is a creation of man and can and should be made to serve all of us.

                  As for the communist revolution, it's not a choice for me or you to make. Either adjust the economy to serve the majority or the revolution WILL happen for better or worse.

                  For the record, I believe that a working system will include a well regulated market, not a central committee. If things are left to a revolt, who knows what we might get.

                  • (Score: 1) by khallow on Friday October 17 2014, @10:15AM

                    by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Friday October 17 2014, @10:15AM (#106933) Journal

                    I don't find these crazy people who go around asking for another 12 hours on Sunday and could they please miss a few more of their kid's special events.

                    I do see them all the time.

                    There are solutions to the problem of slave wages in China, it just takes someone willing to solve (rather than exploit) the problem.

                    The exploitation is the solution.

                    Automation is improving daily and will naturally result in there being less and less for human workers to do. We can either make the needed adjustments to our economy and celebrate or we can snatch defeat from the jaws of victory and have ourselves a dystopian nightmare. Which would you like to see?

                    You do realize that automation is getting a huge boost because it's such a pain in the ass to employ people in the developed world? This is another bit of blame displacement. Automation would be much less popular, if it were easier to employ people in the developed world at reasonable wages. And the "needed adjustments" have been made to developed world economies for decades. It just results in a large class of unemployed and probably unemployable people. Defeat snatched from non existent victory every day.

                    My view is that developed world labor just isn't that impressive compared to labor in China and elsewhere in the world. Rather than crippling developed world economies for the next few decades, I think the better approach is to bite the bullet. Accept a large, immediate pay cut, eliminate the obstacles to employment (including the government-based social safety net) and move on. Your labor just isn't worth that much. We can realize that now and move on or we can realize it in half a century when developed world countries are no longer developed world.

                    • (Score: 2) by sjames on Friday October 17 2014, @04:57PM

                      by sjames (2882) on Friday October 17 2014, @04:57PM (#107076) Journal

                      You missed the point entirely. Automation isn't the enemy. It is a highly desirable state of affairs. Ideally it takes over every last job in the world. We can either make the necessary adjustments to our economy to allow for that and for the long transitional stage where a growing number of jobs are automated away or we can keep our economic system as it is now and be on the road to a dystopian hellhole.

                      If we do the latter, some time in that trip to hell the people will rebel.

                      You seem to be cheering for the hellhole. But you're forgetting something. If everyone takes a big paycut, who's going to buy the stuff? What would happen is a massive expansion of the welfare and food stamp programs OR people would start sacking grocery stores for food.

                      • (Score: 1) by khallow on Friday October 17 2014, @09:22PM

                        by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Friday October 17 2014, @09:22PM (#107156) Journal

                        Automation isn't the enemy. It is a highly desirable state of affairs.

                        My point is that the various policies intended to protect the developed world worker from Third World competition have the unintended and generally undesired consequence of fostering automation (as well as encouraging employers to move their labor to the developing world). They're advocating policies that hurt themselves.

                        It is a highly desirable state of affairs. Ideally it takes over every last job in the world.

                        Except for two things: the people who wanted to work but no longer can (which is just about everyone) and economic expression (the economic equivalent of genetic expression). If you no longer change anything economically except perhaps as a money sink to consume stuff, then you're ripe for removal from the economy just as genes which no longer cause in change in the organism or the world (and hence, can't contribute to the survival of the organism) are ripe for removal from the organism. If we look at the real world, people who don't work long term are either wealthy enough to not have to, or SOL poor who just can't find work to make ends meet. The unemployed humanity is far more likely to fall in that latter category (post-scarcity is IMHO not going to happen) and thus, marginalized. Eternal marginalization is extinction IMHO.

                        Even if complete automation is a desirable end state and can be achieved without huge suffering, it strikes me as a bad idea to deliberately hurry it along unintentionally without a plan.

                        • (Score: 2) by sjames on Saturday October 18 2014, @12:47AM

                          by sjames (2882) on Saturday October 18 2014, @12:47AM (#107214) Journal

                          So you recommend an economy based on forced makework? (yes, if it can easily be done by machines but isn't, it's makework).

                          Note that I didn't suggest banning all work, just that we inevitably MUST at some point make work unnecessary to have a living. I say must since inevitably at some point machines will work cheaply enough that no human being could hope to compete. That's not to say that hand-crafted goods and one-offs are without value. I imagine people might turn to those to earn social admiration. There is also invention and improvement on machine made goods. Some of which might go into production.

                          Given the inevitability, we can follow your do-nothing plan and have grinding poverty for the masses or we can actually engage the brain and gain a better lifestyle for all.

                          As an aside, the human genome contains many many genes that haven't actually been expressed in a million years. They do no harm, so there is no drive to expunge them.

                          • (Score: 1) by khallow on Saturday October 18 2014, @03:16PM

                            by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Saturday October 18 2014, @03:16PM (#107322) Journal

                            I say must since inevitably at some point machines will work cheaply enough that no human being could hope to compete.

                            It hasn't happened yet. And how will you afford to purchase goods made by this amazingly cheap labor? There is this very generous assumption that someone will give you enough wealth or purchasing authority indefinitely to get everything you want, just because. My point is that there's no reason to expect that to exist for the long term in the absence of providing something of value in return. Labor is the big thing of value that humans provide. At that point where you no longer can get resources for free, you buy what you can afford, which will be produced with the default cheapest option, human labor.

                            As an aside, the human genome contains many many genes that haven't actually been expressed in a million years. They do no harm, so there is no drive to expunge them.

                            That's an opinion. Nobody really knows enough about the genome to either say what gets expressed nor how long it takes for a genome to get removed when it doesn't. And genes may not be the only thing on chromosomes. Just because something looks like a gene doesn't mean it is.

                            What we do know in a mathematical sense, is that if a gene no longer has the ability to express, then it can exercise no control (in the weak sense of being able to change outcome, not necessarily in a good way) over its eventual fate. It has no opportunity to help the organism survive and reproduce.

                            • (Score: 2) by sjames on Saturday October 18 2014, @06:06PM

                              by sjames (2882) on Saturday October 18 2014, @06:06PM (#107354) Journal

                              It hasn't happened yet, but you yourself claimed that it IS happening and I agree. You don't get to do an about face when your argument works against you.

                              As for how will I afford goods once it happens, now you're making my point for me. The answer is that if we follow your plan, I won't and neither will you. The owners of the machines won't care because they got theirs and to hell with everyone else. Labor is on it's way to becoming practically worthless. That's a GOOD thing if we allow it to be. As for the rest, why would you want to begrudge your neighbor something that costs you nothing?

                              We may need to make denying someone something that costs nothing a crime.

                              That's an opinion. Nobody really knows enough about the genome to either say what gets expressed nor how long it takes for a genome to get removed when it doesn't.

                              You seemed satisfied enough with our state of knowledge when you thought it supported your point by analogy. But then I had to go and get all facty with it...

                              • (Score: 1) by khallow on Monday October 20 2014, @02:13PM

                                by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Monday October 20 2014, @02:13PM (#107815) Journal

                                It hasn't happened yet, but you yourself claimed that it IS happening and I agree. You don't get to do an about face when your argument works against you.

                                My view is that it is possible to disincentivize most human behavior. That is perhaps the only point of agreement that you refer to above. There's no reason to disincentivize the employing of people in useful work. Rather than blather on about the inevitability of automation, how about just getting out of the way and letting us decide when automation is better than human labor rather than making it better via substantial disincentives to use human labor?

                                • (Score: 2) by sjames on Monday October 20 2014, @04:14PM

                                  by sjames (2882) on Monday October 20 2014, @04:14PM (#107861) Journal

                                  Because you want to pay them a starvation wage and replace them when the succumb and I find that deeply distasteful to say the least.

                                  The funny part is you think you can continue charging 1st world prices when everyone is paid 3rd world wages.

                                  • (Score: 1) by khallow on Tuesday October 21 2014, @02:02AM

                                    by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday October 21 2014, @02:02AM (#108050) Journal

                                    Because you want to pay them a starvation wage and replace them when the succumb and I find that deeply distasteful to say the least.

                                    The funny part is you think you can continue charging 1st world prices when everyone is paid 3rd world wages.

                                    Then prices will go down. It's not magic. A vast amount of industry and commerce has fled to the developing world and so many clueless people just complain about the rich/lucky - not the fact that the developed world is no longer competitive in so many areas and chooses to make itself even more uncompetitive. Similarly, they complain about automation while simultaneously making that particular situation worse.

                                    Now, they want to preserve current standards of living without providing a means by which it can occur? Too bad. I see that demand failing just as hard as all the others.

                                    • (Score: 2) by sjames on Tuesday October 21 2014, @02:32AM

                                      by sjames (2882) on Tuesday October 21 2014, @02:32AM (#108057) Journal

                                      Sounds like you want it to fail rather than fixing the situation. Your the guy who when the situation is tense and there's a call for solutions you just keep repeating "we're doomed, we're doomed". That won't help, you know.

                                      • (Score: 1) by khallow on Wednesday October 22 2014, @03:30PM

                                        by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday October 22 2014, @03:30PM (#108718) Journal

                                        Your the guy who when the situation is tense and there's a call for solutions

                                        Fuck "calls for solutions". None of these "solvers" have truthfully answered the basic question, "is it better to do my solution or to do nothing at all?" The thing that got missed here is that developed world wages would have declined whether or not we did anything about it. That's basic supply and demand in action. But by aggressively punishing local employers (by adding to the bureaucracy and costs that the employer has to endure), the developed world has collectively made their side worse off. That's the sort of anti-solutions that are being "called for" here. The real "solution" as I see it is to rub their noses in it each time they do that.

                                        • (Score: 2) by sjames on Wednesday October 22 2014, @05:02PM

                                          by sjames (2882) on Wednesday October 22 2014, @05:02PM (#108777) Journal

                                          We're doomed, we're all doomed! That's it, Game Over man. Now go do yopur duty and live in 3rd world poverty in a 1st world nation because that's the only solution. Now if you'll excuse me, it's money counting day./..

                • (Score: 2) by urza9814 on Friday October 17 2014, @02:30PM

                  by urza9814 (3954) Subscriber Badge on Friday October 17 2014, @02:30PM (#107019) Journal

                  The fundamental reason people don't work less is because they don't want to.

                  If people truly WANT to work, then why do we have to pay them to be there? Why do we have to mandate what hours they are in the office?

                  People don't want to *work*, people want to *be productive*. There's a big distinction there though. People want to choose what they work on, and when they do it. Currently most people do not have that choice. They work on whatever their boss gives them, and they work whatever hours they're told to be in the office.

                  I may be drifting a bit off topic now, but there's this classic argument that socialism could never work because if you pay everyone the same they'd all slack off and nothing would get done. But as we both agree, people obviously WANT to get stuff done. So the question becomes, have we raised efficiency to a sufficient level that everything that needs to be done could be done purely on a voluntary basis? I'm not sure that we're there yet, but we *are* getting close. There's a fair bit of talk about shifting to a four day work week lately. A lot of people used to work 10-12 hours a day, 6-7 days a week. Now we're at 8 hours for 5 days, and may soon move to 8 hours for 4 days. And I think when we reach a universal 3 or 4 day work week, the concept of 'work' will start to collapse. With two days off, most people spend them just trying to relax and catch up with friends. But a constant 3 or 4 day weekend I think is the sweet spot where you'll start to see a surge in people really seeking more work. Largely volunteering. And then you have a feedback loop -- the more work being done voluntarily, the less paid labor required.

                  And yes, rising efficiencies WILL eliminate labor demand. Eventually. So far the increased efficiency has largely been eaten by increased consumption. But while there's no reason yet to believe there's any real limit on increasing automation and efficiency, there certainly is a limit to the amount one human being can consume. You can't eat fifty cheeseburgers a day (not for long anyway...); nobody is going to be buying a new laptop every day. Here in the US we've already got people who have purchased so much crap they have to rent storage space outside their home for it! We are *already* near the limits of increasing consumption, at least in the industrialized western world. In fact, I think we passed that point a while ago, we just hide it by devoting massive amounts of resources towards repeatedly bombing then rebuilding foreign nations.

      • (Score: 2) by Kromagv0 on Thursday October 16 2014, @04:18PM

        by Kromagv0 (1825) on Thursday October 16 2014, @04:18PM (#106677) Homepage

        Recently it was pointed out that some people are having trouble keeping up their student loan payments on their RETIREMENT INCOME.

        Either these people retired way too early, took on way too much student debt, worked in some really awful jobs for their whole careers, or spent every thin dime they every made. Any way I don't really feel too sorry for someone who after what should be a normal career spanning of about 40 years hasn't managed to pay off their student loans. It may be tragic and I may pity them a bit but they probably did something to bring it on themselves. It is not too unlike my mom and step father who did a cash out re finance on their home to a new 30 year (they only had 6 left to go to pay the damn thing off) the same month I refinanced to a new 15 year loan saving 8 years of payments. Some people make shitty decisions and I don't feel for them when it comes to a head.
         
        Also I managed to put my self through college in the late 90s and graduate debt free so anyone who has retired already could have put themselves through school on their own dime (college costs keep going up faster than inflation) and either chose to go to a more expensive school or not work and take on a bunch of debt.

        --
        T-Shirts and bumper stickers [zazzle.com] to offend someone
        • (Score: 2) by sjames on Thursday October 16 2014, @04:41PM

          by sjames (2882) on Thursday October 16 2014, @04:41PM (#106691) Journal

          Or they made the 'shitty decision' to get sick for a while. I don't know why anyone ever decides to get sick, it feels horrible! It blows my mind when people decide to get cancer. They must be attention hounds or something.

          • (Score: 1) by khallow on Thursday October 16 2014, @09:55PM

            by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Thursday October 16 2014, @09:55PM (#106814) Journal

            Or they made the 'shitty decision' to get sick for a while. I don't know why anyone ever decides to get sick, it feels horrible! It blows my mind when people decide to get cancer. They must be attention hounds or something.

            Again, sick or not, they had plenty of time to pay off those loans. I'm more worried about the current generation who will have trouble even if they stay perfectly healthy for those forty plus years.

            • (Score: 2) by sjames on Thursday October 16 2014, @10:07PM

              by sjames (2882) on Thursday October 16 2014, @10:07PM (#106821) Journal

              Because, of course, cancer is no excuse to take time off from work and it's not like it's expensive or anything.

              • (Score: 1) by khallow on Friday October 17 2014, @12:00AM

                by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Friday October 17 2014, @12:00AM (#106850) Journal
                There are always excuses. Not everyone makes excuses instead of getting things done.
                • (Score: 2) by urza9814 on Friday October 17 2014, @02:35PM

                  by urza9814 (3954) Subscriber Badge on Friday October 17 2014, @02:35PM (#107025) Journal

                  That's seriously your argument? That someone with cancer should just suck it up, skip getting treatment, stop complaining and just keep putting in their eight hours every day until they die so they can try to pay off that loan? Really???

    • (Score: 2) by maxwell demon on Thursday October 16 2014, @07:34AM

      by maxwell demon (1608) Subscriber Badge on Thursday October 16 2014, @07:34AM (#106556) Journal

      Imagine Linus Torvalds would not have slacked off and experimented with writing operating systems just for fun, but instead had kept focused on his studies and getting a job afterwards. Where would be be today?

      --
      The Tao of math: The numbers you can count are not the real numbers.
      • (Score: 2) by pendorbound on Thursday October 16 2014, @02:12PM

        by pendorbound (2688) on Thursday October 16 2014, @02:12PM (#106629) Homepage

        Redmond, WA for the most part. Clearly slacking off in college is bad for true capitalism, you commie scum!

    • (Score: 2) by khchung on Thursday October 16 2014, @01:55PM

      by khchung (457) on Thursday October 16 2014, @01:55PM (#106620)

      However, that's an incentive for workers not to slack off too much.

      By this logic, every country should start charging "Head Tax", so every adult has to get a job or go into debt as soon as they turn 18 so they "won't slack off too much".

      Great way to create a nation of slaves.

  • (Score: 2) by jelizondo on Thursday October 16 2014, @02:15AM

    by jelizondo (653) on Thursday October 16 2014, @02:15AM (#106504)

    Many other places boast of free or almost free higher education, like Norway or Luxenbourg, but I think the education level, particularly in engineering, is better in Germany. (WIthout mentioning places like Mexico, where there are many higher education institutes which are basically free of tuition fees; but the quality can vary significantly.)

    ¡Ah! To be young again and study for free!

    Deutschland über alles!

  • (Score: 1) by dltaylor on Thursday October 16 2014, @02:32AM

    by dltaylor (4693) on Thursday October 16 2014, @02:32AM (#106509)

    While we have "major" private universities, like Stanford and the University of Southern California, there was a time when the three-tier community colleges, California State Universites, and University of California (various locations) were supposed to be available to all academically qualified students at low cost. Sadly, that time has long passed.

    • (Score: 2) by kaszz on Thursday October 16 2014, @03:08AM

      by kaszz (4211) on Thursday October 16 2014, @03:08AM (#106517) Journal

      When did that end?

      • (Score: 1) by dltaylor on Thursday October 16 2014, @03:53AM

        by dltaylor (4693) on Thursday October 16 2014, @03:53AM (#106526)

        Over a decade ago, the combination of the lure of tuition-paying foreign students at UC, plus the failure to keep construction pace with the population growth in the Cal State and Community Colleges began locking California students out of the system. There are still opportunities in the Cal State system, but classes needed are often badly under-presented, making it very difficult to enter and complete.

      • (Score: 1) by khallow on Thursday October 16 2014, @03:56AM

        by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Thursday October 16 2014, @03:56AM (#106528) Journal
        Budget issues over the past 20 or 30 years. I think things got noticeably more expensive during the Schwarzenegger administration, but it was going to happen.
      • (Score: 1, Informative) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 16 2014, @04:05AM

        by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 16 2014, @04:05AM (#106531)

        When Gov. Ronald Reagan (R) took office, he insisted on imposing a new fee that would later become synonymous with tuition, thus ending California’s tradition of providing virtually free education to qualified college students. Since then, tuition has slowly skyrocketed, eclipsing the ability of many middle class Californians to get an affordable education.

        College Used To Be Virtually Free In California [thinkprogress.org]

        -- gewg_

    • (Score: 1) by Whoever on Thursday October 16 2014, @03:54AM

      by Whoever (4524) on Thursday October 16 2014, @03:54AM (#106527)

      It's still not very expensive if you do the general ed at community college, then transfer into a UC school at junior level.

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 16 2014, @04:09AM

        by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 16 2014, @04:09AM (#106532)

        And what, end up with half an education?

      • (Score: 1) by Bob The Cowboy on Thursday October 16 2014, @02:49PM

        by Bob The Cowboy (2019) on Thursday October 16 2014, @02:49PM (#106641)

        I literally just did this a couple years ago. From my 2 years at a CSU alone I have 30k in debt. I got a job afterward, but 15 years ago I would have had about a tenth of that debt. It's a pretty big problem.

  • (Score: 3, Interesting) by looorg on Thursday October 16 2014, @02:41AM

    by looorg (578) on Thursday October 16 2014, @02:41AM (#106512)

    Still tuition fees are only one aspect of it. It was free to go to University for me. But living still isn't free, even if I/you had lived at home. You could work, but there is always the risk of it having a negative impact on your academic work. So it's back to rich parents again or borrowing money. I assume most countries in Europe have some government scheme, I only know that we do and the countries around mine do, that lets you borrow money as long as you keep up with your studies and complete your courses. You also get a small grant that you don't have to pay back but it's like $300 a month or something and you can't live and pay rent with that; grant plus loan was about $1500 per month -- I lived ok on that at the time. At the end of my university tour I had a debt to repay to the state of about $80k. I now get to make four "easy" payments per year until the day I die or until it's paid off, whichever comes first. Whooo ....

    If there had been a tuition fee I think I would have focused more one one subject, completed it and finished. As it was now it didn't matter all that much, it was a nice and relaxed pace. You could try a lot of things and see what you wanted to do or liked -- which I guess is good. In the end I became some sort of degree machine with 1 STEM (maths), 2 Social science and 1 political science degrees. But I don't think I would have paid tuition for all those classes if I had had to. There was also some really weird classes I took just cause they seemed like fun at the time -- some of them being nearly pointless academic padding. With tuition fees that just wouldn't have made sense at all. I don't think I'll ever find or get a job where I get to use them all at the same time. Sure, I use the knowledge all the time, in various combinations, but the degree combination I have is never going to be required -- or it's highly unlikely; if someone can think of one that would be awesome.

    With that said I'm not so sure the statement Heinen-Kjajic made matters much; abolishing tuition fees because higher education shouldn't depend on the wealth of your parents. It's a nice sentiment but still there are a lot of people, with non rich parents from a working class non academic background, that are uncomfortable with borrowing money to go to university for four or five years. Certainly so if they come out with a weak degree that won't translate to a good paying job. For a lot of people it might just have been better to get a job instead of going to school.

    • (Score: 3, Informative) by q.kontinuum on Thursday October 16 2014, @05:24AM

      by q.kontinuum (532) on Thursday October 16 2014, @05:24AM (#106541) Journal

      In Germany you can get 670€ a month max. (just checked [wikipedia.org]), and you have to pay back only half of it, starting 5 years after you received the last rate (so, presumably 5 years after you finished the education). There are some conditions: If your parents earn a lot, they are obliged to support you and your state loan is reduced depending on your parents income. You also have to stay on track in your education. And you can't just switch to another subject and start over. You can earn a bit on top, but the allowed amount is limited, otherwise it will also be deducted from your loan.

      670€ is not really much. I know students who managed to actually live on this amount, but it's tough. Personally, I preferred to earn my own money, study at my own pace and avoid the prospect of piling up debts. The education took a bit longer due to the parallel work, but nevertheless, I think it was worth it.

      --
      Registered IRC nick on chat.soylentnews.org: qkontinuum
    • (Score: 1, Interesting) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 16 2014, @11:11AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 16 2014, @11:11AM (#106575)

      In the UK when I went to uni (2000-2003), we had to pay ~£1000 ($1600) up front, and could take a loan out for ~£3000 ($5000). If my parents were unemployed I could get a ~£4000 ($6500) loan and didn't have to pay tuition.

      Now in the UK you still get the loan, but the fees are higher - usually £9000 ($14k). The loan is, I believe, a similar amount as before, but you also get a loan for the fees.

      The beauty is you only repay the loan when you're earning enough, 9% of your gross earnings above a certain threshold. In my case this threshold is currently £17k ($27k). Someone on an average wage of £25k would pay 9% of £8k a year, or £60 per month. The current (including the £9k tuition) repayment is 9% above 21k, so someone on £25k pays £30 a month. Even someone on a very good wage, say £50k ($80k), pays less for their student loan than they do for their commute.

      The loan is wiped out at age 60.

      Ultimately it means those that benefit from university (and go off to become wastes of space like bankers) have to pay their fees, those that are studying for the pleasure of studying don't pay anything, and those that earn an average wage pay a tiny amount. Those that don't go to uni don't have to subsidise the bankers, lawyers and politicians. In many ways what we have now is far fairer than what we had 15 years ago with the "pay upfront" method, or even the "Young Ones" free tuition method. The only people losing out are those that earn high wages. It's effectively a graduate tax.

  • (Score: 4, Informative) by Geotti on Thursday October 16 2014, @03:14AM

    by Geotti (1146) on Thursday October 16 2014, @03:14AM (#106518) Journal

    Anyone considering doing a CS masters, I can highly recommend TU-Berlin [tu-berlin.de].
    I don't know about other degrees, but for CS you (currently) have absolutely free choice of (a shitload of) courses, with most of them having been appealing to me. They can (probably) recognize your general education from a US institution (they have a 3-year bachelor here with "peripheral" classes mostly in the masters program). And if that's not enough, you are also entitled to take (transferable, of course) classes (they call 'em modules here) from any other higher ed institution in Berlin or Brandenburg (like the University of Applied Sciences [htw-berlin.de], Hasso Plattner Institute [wikipedia.org], FU-Berlin [wikipedia.org], etc.)

    It's TEH SIHT, and TOTALLY enjoyable, since you specialize in exactly what you want to specialize in. I loved it and can't imagine anything better. Really.

    If you have discipline and want to learn the stuff you're interested in, there's a very good chance that a (set of) corresponding classes is offered.
    *Many* courses are available in English [tu-berlin.de].
    Even though I speak fluent German, I obviously preferred English courses (Duh, it's CS. What is German?) and there were only 2 modules out of all the others taught in DE only (those were systems analysis and InfoSec management).

      Admissions [tu-berlin.de]. There's also an "international students place" (i.e. the place, where they hold your hand and patiently explain everything to you in English), which I didn't use and can't be bothered to find right now.

    Also, some people seem to really like this city. (I admit, the nightlife is nothing short of amazing! This includes high-quality drugs.) The climate is kinda grey-ish, though.

    • (Score: 3, Funny) by Geotti on Thursday October 16 2014, @03:17AM

      by Geotti (1146) on Thursday October 16 2014, @03:17AM (#106519) Journal

      I loved it and can't imagine anything better.

      Just to put that in perspective, I'm usually extremely grumpy and critical.

  • (Score: 3, Funny) by panachocala on Thursday October 16 2014, @04:23AM

    by panachocala (464) on Thursday October 16 2014, @04:23AM (#106533)

    When the wall went down, we all thought capitalism had won. But their communism crept in and has taken over Germany. Those radical fascist commies need to be reigned in again. What next? Universal healthcare? Solar power?

  • (Score: 4, Interesting) by bzipitidoo on Thursday October 16 2014, @07:18AM

    by bzipitidoo (4388) on Thursday October 16 2014, @07:18AM (#106552) Journal

    A question I like to put to people is what's so magic about the line between the senior year in high school and the freshman year in college? In the US, why is the first one freely provided to the students, and is mandatory because it's thought to be essential that a democracy have educated voters, while the second is very expensive to the students, and thought a privilege and perhaps the first life lesson in financial responsibility, and not essential? Is it the magic age of 18? You young high school graduates are all adults now, now pay up!

    Also college is much more hardass, with failure being regarded as a common and acceptable outcome because of this attitude that a lot of the students are too stupid to cut it. It's not the colleges' fault that students are stupid! Pretty crappy service for all that money. Maybe the ones who don't pass ought to be given a refund, if we can't go all the way to free? One of the most eerie things about dorm life was the way the dorm started the semester full of students rubbing elbows and making noise, full of talk of bright futures, and ending the semester very quiet like a library and mostly empty like a great tomb, as if we were in a war and most of the students had become casualties.

    And why does college cost so much? Students are being asked to subsidize research. Support has been cut to the bone in recent years, and colleges have been scrambling to make up the shortfall. Not fair to the students. They've also been cutting the pay of professors. It's much harder to get on the tenure track, most are now stuck in the position of assistant professor, if they can get even that one and not the crappy title of "lecturer". When I read that some professors are on food stamps, I thought things had gone way too far.

    There's a peculiar quality to the cost cutting. Colleges are NOT cutting costs in some areas. Administrative positions are now vastly overpaid. Some have become sinecures. Building projects are very lavish. What's with the drive to turn dorms into luxury apartments? Is all this building just a way to funnel money to friends and relatives of the people in charge? Colleges have also not embraced MOOCs, and open text books, freely available. Text books are a huge racket for the schools, and I'm not surprised that they are reluctant to give that up. There's also the research racket. Research is another place that needs a hard look, what with schools scrambling to cash in on the patent system rather than taking a stand against its excesses as they ought. Then there's the football program. I see some of the rebellion and the questioning of the value of a college education as actually a revolt against the corruption. The students are fighting the textbook racket, but not the football program. They ought to shut the damn football program down, stop going to the games, stop putting the likes of Joe Pa in bronze on a pedestal. What does any of that football nonsense have to do with the stated purposes of a university, which is education and research? Nothing! Even while the school makes a killing on football, they shaft the players who actually make the whole thing possible. As students, not professionals, the players are not entitled to any pay at all. And it's thought terribly corrupt to try to bribe young men to play for your football team.

    If no one got a college education, what would that do to the nation?

    • (Score: 4, Interesting) by bradley13 on Thursday October 16 2014, @08:47AM

      by bradley13 (3053) Subscriber Badge on Thursday October 16 2014, @08:47AM (#106567) Homepage Journal

      You seem to buy into the idea that everyone should have a college education. This is not true. Some people fail out of college because they shouldn't be there: intelligence and aptitudes differ. Many careers are hands-on, and require a practical education and apprenticeship, not college.

      Germany still has three tracks for career education:

      - Trade schools and apprenticeships: for carpenters, electricians, IT system administrators, etc.

      - Technical schools (Fachhochschulen): for practical office careers: programmers, engineers, managers, accountants, etc..

      - Universities: for careers requiring a more general and more abstract education: doctors, lawyers, scientist, but also more abstract programs for computer science, engineering, etc.

      Obviously, there are a lot of overlaps, not least because both the technical schools and the universities both offer bachelors and masters degrees. However, the differences are important. Different people and different careers require different kinds of education. This is being lost in the US, with the result that it is (a) increasingly difficult to get an education in a practical field, and (b) your average college education has been massively dumbed down.

      --
      Everyone is somebody else's weirdo.
      • (Score: 1) by Buck Feta on Thursday October 16 2014, @12:36PM

        by Buck Feta (958) on Thursday October 16 2014, @12:36PM (#106590) Journal

        Are trade and technical schools also free in Germany?

        --
        - fractious political commentary goes here -
        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 16 2014, @03:01PM

          by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 16 2014, @03:01PM (#106644)

          Most Trade schools are free, while apprenticeships are usually paying you a monthly salary.
          Technical schools are akin to Colleges from the US, except they are free in Germany.
          However, Private Schools do cost money.

    • (Score: 2) by metamonkey on Thursday October 16 2014, @04:37PM

      by metamonkey (3174) on Thursday October 16 2014, @04:37PM (#106689)

      You're not wrong. I still live in the town where I went to college (top tier state school, 50k+ students) and tuition is up five times what it was ten years ago when I graduated. And I had a free ride, scholarships for undergrad and fellowships (including an NSF fellowship) for grad school. So tuition is through the roof but the cost of living in this town hasn't changed but with inflation. There are a few nice new buildings, but honestly I don't know where the money goes. There's no way it's five times more expensive to teach a student today than it was a decade ago.

      I think in any organization, you have two types of people. First you have (and particularly start out with) those who believe in the mission of the organization. Teach students. Do research. And then you have the second group of people, who are the bureaucrats who come in and their goal is the perpetuation of the organization and the bureaucracy itself. Eventually they take over. They look at the coffers, they look at tuition, they look at the fact that you "have" to get a college education and say, "well, we can increase tuition and build some new buildings and pay ourselves higher salaries and hire more people underneath us." And if you don't, you're just leaving money on the table.

      Same thing with research. It goes from "create or discover new things" to "get grant money."

      The goal is no longer higher education. The goal is the perpetuation of the beast. If you try to change the system you'll never get anywhere. What board of trustees is going to approve of a new administration that wants to decrease the revenues and decrease the power and influence of the organization?

      The only thing that will change the system will be massive disruption. Like you said, MOOCs, open source textbooks. The problem still to be worked out is that whole "degree" thing. When it comes to accreditation the universities are still guarding all the doors and holding all the keys. But something's got to give because students can't afford it. $50,000 in debt for degrees that don't get them jobs. To be honest, I have no idea what I would tell an 18-year-old he should do for the next four years. I would say "skip it and learn to code," but shit, not everybody wants to be a coder. Is it so wrong to want to be a doctor or a physicist or a business administrator or a marketing expert?

      There's a pre-paid tuition program in my state where you can pay in at today's rates and when your kid is 18 his way is already paid into any of the state schools. I'm very fortunate to have parents who scrimped and saved and invested their entire lives, and when my son was born my dad surprised the hell out of me by writing a check for $53,000, and my son's tuition is already paid. Later, though, the state legislature decided $53k was too much and dropped it to $35k, so he's getting a refund. And that's good because I have a daughter on the way.

      --
      Okay 3, 2, 1, let's jam.
    • (Score: 2) by scruffybeard on Thursday October 16 2014, @05:57PM

      by scruffybeard (533) on Thursday October 16 2014, @05:57PM (#106727)

      And why does college cost so much?

      Simply put, because they can. Much like planning a wedding, I have seen many smart people go gaga over getting into their favorite school, when many more economical options exist, to the point of paying almost double. Many people don't look past the fluff of the nice dorms and fancy cafeterias, rather than thinking how much will I make after graduation, and how does that compare to the amount I need to pay/borrow. If you want to see the cost of tuition drop, start capping the tuition loans. If the max you could borrow is $100k, suddenly that $200k school doesn't look so appealing.

  • (Score: 2) by TGV on Thursday October 16 2014, @08:04AM

    by TGV (2838) on Thursday October 16 2014, @08:04AM (#106559)

    Germany is not an educational paradise. In North Rhine-Westphalia, laws forbid universities to assess students on obligatory courses, citing unacceptable violations of the student's rights. That means that soon students will pass without having learned a thing, and a university diploma will then be worth less than the paper on which it's printed. Here are two links for your perusal in case you think I'm exaggerating:
    http://www.forschung-und-lehre.de/wordpress/?p=17122#more-17122 [forschung-und-lehre.de] (in German)
    http://drjamesthompson.blogspot.ch/2014/07/leberwusrt-university-somewhere-in.html?spref=tw&m=1 [blogspot.ch] (in English)

    • (Score: 2) by q.kontinuum on Thursday October 16 2014, @08:38AM

      by q.kontinuum (532) on Thursday October 16 2014, @08:38AM (#106566) Journal

      It would be helpful if you could point out / quote the passages you are referring to in those texts. I'd like to engage in the discussion, but I don't have the time to read full articles during work time. Are you refering to Studium und Lehre [forschung-und-lehre.de]? That only states you might be able to start over at another university, other than that I can't see how it relates to your claim.

      Or do you mean the blog you linked?

      Generally, the aim is not to change students into more competent and knowledgeable people, but rather to give as many members of the population as possible a certified university education.[...]

      This snipped already proves that the whole text, referring to an anonymous university and an anonymous professor, is biased and polemic at best, but probably rather a troll-article. Nevertheless, let me go into some details:

      First, it is forbidden for teachers to require their students to be present. [...]

      This is not generally true, while it might be true for a specific university. And why shouldn't it? There were several lectures I did not visit. I was required to prove my knowledge during the exams and had to do the home assignments and exercises, but why should I waste time in an overfull lecture room to listen to a topic I could learn far more efficient from a book? I'm the visual learn type. I need to read and see to understand. A guy talking through the whole lecture is a nuisance and a waste of time for me, and I didn't have time to waste.

      You wrote:

      and a university diploma will then be worth less than the paper on which it's printed.

      The blog refers to BA programs, which is a bit different. I got my university diploma, and I had to do exams in most courses. With grades, impacting my final grade.

      Second, even for those courses where grading is still allowed, you just can’t get away with failing 95 out of a 100 students. The management will sternly tell you that either your standards are too high, or you are a bad teacher, or both. And if you then tell the management: “no, but they just don’t show up when I teach”, the common reply by the management is “well, then your courses are apparently not attractive and student-friendly enough”.

      This is quite revealing. If a professor really fails to engage 95% of the students on a regular base, while all other professors do not fail to do so, and then still insists that it's all the students fault and does not want to reflect on his own performance, it indeed says more about the professor than about the students. I did not read any further.

      --
      Registered IRC nick on chat.soylentnews.org: qkontinuum
      • (Score: 2) by TGV on Thursday October 16 2014, @05:45PM

        by TGV (2838) on Thursday October 16 2014, @05:45PM (#106722)

        > I don't have the time to read full articles during work time.

        Then do it later, but here's a quote:

        Anwesenheitspflichten „als Teilnahmevoraussetzung für Prüfungsleistungen“ verbietet das neue HG NRW in der ihm eigenen sprachlichen Klarheit für andere Veranstaltung als Exkursionen, Sprachkurse, Praktika, praktische Übungen oder vergleichbare Lehrveranstaltungen. Anwesenheitspflichten greifen – so die Begründung – „in gravierender und außerordentlich belastender Weise in grundlegende Rechte der Studierenden“ ein.

        It translates roughly to: The new law forbids the obligation to be present as a course requirement for excursions, language course, practical sessions and other comparable events. An obligation to be present has an extraordinarily damaging impact on the basic rights of the student.

        > This is not generally true, while it might be true for a specific university.

        Which is why I wrote: not any German Uni.

        • (Score: 2) by q.kontinuum on Thursday October 16 2014, @08:15PM

          by q.kontinuum (532) on Thursday October 16 2014, @08:15PM (#106791) Journal

          My German is quite good, thanks :-) I just didn't have the time to read it before. As you might have noticed, I also answered to this specific statement. I fully agree with this law. The purpose of the lecture is to teach. The task of the student is to learn / know stuff at the end of the term. When I studied, to most lectures the attendance was actually optional. Exams however where not, and some professors introduced new material in their lectures which could not be found in any scripts. They usually announced the risk during one of the first lectures and therefore implicitly created an obligation to attend the lecture, but in accordance with the law.

          On the other hand, our mathematics professor explicitly stated during the first lecture that he's not at all interested in our attendance and provides a completely sufficient script for those who prefer to learn at home. He wanted to spend more quality time with those students who were actually interested in listening to him / asking questions, instead of having 200 additional students in the room who are bored and do not profit at all from his efforts.

          --
          Registered IRC nick on chat.soylentnews.org: qkontinuum
        • (Score: 1) by rumata on Friday October 17 2014, @12:47AM

          by rumata (2034) on Friday October 17 2014, @12:47AM (#106860)

          Hey,

          here's my translation of your quote (yes, I am a native speaker):

          Compulsory attendance is forbidden as an eligibility requirement for exam attendance [...] with the exception of excursions, language courses, lab courses, hands-on courses or similar courses.

          So, you'll still have to sit the exam, it's just that attendance is no longer a prerequisite to taking the exam. Only for courses where the point is being there and doing the activity can attendance be compulsory.

          In my mind both of these points make sense, at Uni everyone should be mature and self-motivated enough that attendance doesn't have to be compulsory for normal lectures. If you know the material already or think you can learn it more efficiently on your own you should be bloody well be allowed to not sit in on the lecture and take (or fail) the exam on your terms.
          A lab on the other hand requires you to show that you can execute the activity _and_ document it. So attendance is compulsory and you are marked on your execution/notes/report.

          Those were the rules when I did undergrad. I'm just a bit perplexed that a) this needs to be enshrined in law and b) people are upset about it.

          Cheers,
          Michael

  • (Score: 2) by bill_mcgonigle on Thursday October 16 2014, @08:13AM

    by bill_mcgonigle (1105) on Thursday October 16 2014, @08:13AM (#106560)

    "We got rid of tuition fees because we do not want higher education which depends on the wealth of the parents"

    This is entirely confused-thinking. Free tuition is a subsidy specifically to rich people. A strong scholarship program is what helps level the playing field. When you ditch scholarships for non-wealthy people and institute free tuition, the rich folk are the only beneficiaries, since they were the only ones paying tuition in the first place.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 16 2014, @08:21AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 16 2014, @08:21AM (#106563)

      Well, germany has progressive income tax (according to wikipedia), and free school means more taxes, of which the rich pay more. The ratio of who pays what between the tax and tuition model is unkown, and probably very hard to calculate, but the effect is the same.

    • (Score: 2) by q.kontinuum on Thursday October 16 2014, @08:58AM

      by q.kontinuum (532) on Thursday October 16 2014, @08:58AM (#106569) Journal

      First of all, most existing scholarship programs are not strong enough, the investment would have to be much higher in that area. Second, it would still enable kids of rich parents to study even if they were less than average suited, while preventing the poorer kids if their school results are not that good. I'm not even sure, overall school results are a good metric to assess the potential of a would-be student.

      --
      Registered IRC nick on chat.soylentnews.org: qkontinuum
    • (Score: 2) by urza9814 on Friday October 17 2014, @02:56PM

      by urza9814 (3954) Subscriber Badge on Friday October 17 2014, @02:56PM (#107036) Journal

      Scholarships are limited. So a scholarship system is effectively saying: "We have X seats available for rich people, and Y seats available for poor people."

      Scholarships are also generally a lot of work. So a scholarship system is effectively saying: "We'll accept any rich person, but only the best, brightest, and most motivated poor people."

      Free tuition, on the other hand, says: "We have X seats available so we're only accepting the best, brightest, and most motivated applicants regardless of income level."