Posted on April 26, 2018
News “Tuition fees aggravate social selectivity”
Monday, 19.06.17 , written by Cora Christine Döhn In Germany, more and more students are gaining the general university entrance qualification or their Fachabitur. Many of the graduates would like to continue learning at a university afterwards. However, not all motivated high school graduates can afford a degree, there are financial support options. But not everyone who needs them is entitled to it.
Mandy Gratz fights for equal opportunities for students
Access to universities and colleges is essentially regulated by two conditions. For one thing, students have to pass their Abitur or Fachabitur . On the other hand, the choice of subject closely related to the grade point average of the school leaving certificate . Because the places in some subjects such as medicine and psychology are awarded to the best graduates according to the so-called Numerus Clausus (NC). However, the chairwoman of the free association of students, Mandy Gratz, sees yet another factor that plays an essential role in the prerequisites for study in Germany: the financial background of the prospective students . This often has a major impact on whether young people decide to study at all.
The free association of students is committed to free access to education. What are your three main demands?
Mandy Gratz : For us, free access to education means no tuition fees and a parent-independent BAföG as a full subsidy , so that none of this has to be repaid and that the wallet does not play a role in the decision to study. In addition, we demand that the universities be financed with the aim that all admission restrictions for study programs be removed and that they no longer decide on the final grade on the choice of course.
There are various financial support options for students. Why does not everyone have the chance to study in your eyes?
Mandy Gratz : In Germany, social background still plays a crucial role when it comes to the educational path of people. The income and activity of the parents determine whether the children study or not . If the parents have not studied, the chances of studying for oneself diminish. There is also the so-called ‘middle class hole’ in student financing . Many students do not receive any training support (BAföG) because their parents allegedly earn too much. In reality, the income of the parents is often insufficient to finance the children’s studies.
Another obstacle to genuine equal opportunities at universities is the additional costs incurred in certain disciplines. Access to laboratories often costs money, many textbooks are expensive and must always be up to date, materials for preparations must be financed out of pocket, and so on. The financial situation thus decides at every step in the education system.
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What does a training financing have to offer that offers everyone a carefree study?
Mandy Gratz : A financially worry-free study is characterized simply by the money to live and study – no matter where and what you study. The study financing should be independent of study success and speed , so that failed exams do not turn into a financial existential crisis. Finally, a parent-independent financing of the study allows a truly independent and carefree study time, because the relationship between parents and students becomes more voluntary and thus usually more relaxed.
In your experience, what role does financial security play during your studies for the success of your studies?
Mandy Gratz : Existence problems and financial worries weigh heavily on studying. Those who do not know these needs and do not have, studies fearless and dares more. More than 60 percent of students earn something with a side job . This of course has many motives, but then becomes a problem when the livelihood depends on the part-time job. Those who do not have to work or do not need to worry about whether the money is enough for the rent have more time and more freedom to study. The chances of having success and having fun during your studies will increase if your studies are financially secure.
In the coalition talks for the formation of a government in NRW, the CDU and FDP are currently talking about reintroducing tuition fees. What consequences do you fear when it actually happens?
Mandy Gratz : Anyone who introduces tuition fees wants the purse to decide whether or not to study. Tuition fees of any kind exacerbate social selectivity. Because then only those can afford a study, which can pay the fees . Of course, anyone can take out a loan. But those who come from precarious financial circumstances understandably shy away from debt. Tuition fees, as envisaged by the CDU and FDP in NRW, will have a negative impact on campus diversity . As a result, universities are increasingly becoming ivory towers.
- Thank you for the interview, Mandy Gratz.
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- Cora Christine Döhn
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