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In early 2013, Saxony’s government enabled public universities in Saxony to introduce differentiated fees for international and local students. This decision has been made on the basis of paragraph 12 of the law on academic freedom:
"For students who are not nationals of a Member State of the European Union, universities may charge fees in the programs referred to in paragraph 2, provided they offer a scholarship program for these persons.”
Currently, some 186 000 non-EU students are enrolled in German universities, attracted by the good quality/price ratio offered by German higher education institutions. Until recently, foreign and domestic students were treated equally and paid the same fee.
So far, the HMT Leipzig, the oldest university school of music in Germany, is the first one to increase its admission fees for international non-EU students, from EUR 220 to EUR 3 600 per year. This increase will take effect starting from this winter semester and will affect nearly 120 foreign students already enrolled in the university. The argument behind is to remain internationally competitive, compared to similar schools in Madrid, Amsterdam or Budapest, which charge significantly higher tuition fees.
The HMT Leipzig is still an isolated case. However, all Saxon universities now have the right to charge higher fees. This could create a precedent in Germany and pave the way for a nationwide reform, especially in view of the increasing demands for the introduction of differentiated fees over the past years.
Saxony’s academic freedom law (in German)