Democratic pressure lead to abolition of ‪‎university‬ ‪tuition‬ fee in ‪‎Germany‬. This ‪‎neoliberal‬ experiment contributed to increasing educational and income ‪‎inequality‬

During the past eight years, university tuition fees were introduced into most German federal states as under Germany’s federal system, state governments run education policy. Yet during the last months, as a result of political processes and increasing public pressure against the conservative-led state governments, every single state have abolished them, with Lower Saxony the last to give way after the defeat of its Christian Democrat rulers last year. Germany’s brief experiment with university tuition fees is over. A recent study by Michael Bahrs, Thomas Siedler and Benjamin Streim found a decrease (around 13 percent) in the intention of high school students to seek a university degree due to tuition fees. It shows that this effect is mainly driven by young people from the poorest households and low income families: a decline of about 17 percentage points in the intention of this subgroup to seek a university degree due to tuition fees. The results also show that the actual number of university graduates is more affected by tuition fees in communities with relatively high unemployment rates. The empirical findings suggest that even relative low levels of tuition fees of around 1,000 euros per year are likely to deter students from lower socio-economic backgrounds from studying and might therefore contribute to increasing educational and income inequalities in society.

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