Jörg Dräger: "Graduate fees to fund higher education institutions are just and effective"
No German state will be imposing general tuition fees as of 2014. The university funding issue remains on the table, however, as the discussions in Baden-Wuerttemberg show. Jörg Dräger is therefore advocating graduate fees, a model which is already working successfully in Australia.
In Australia, graduate fees, also known as downstream tuition fees, are payable after students have graduated and their income is suitably high. This results in additional income (in billions) for HEIs without deterring any prospective students or posing any financial risk for existing ones.
Jörg Dräger, managing director of the CHE - Centre for Higher Education Development and a member of the board of directors of the Bertelsmann Stiftung, is therefore in favour of graduate fees along the lines of the Australian model in order to improve study conditions in Germany. He said: “The German Higher education system is underfunded. Australian graduate fees to fund HEIs are just and effective while administrative costs are low." Dräger said such fees would be a socially just solution, as academics benefit financially from their education to a great extent. He added that graduate fees would also free up state resources to be invested in nursery schools, day nurseries and all-day-schools, where equal opportunity in education is decided.
Even if the current discussion within the green-red government in Baden-Wuerttemberg is still limited to tuition fees for international students, the debt limit for the German national and regional governments will undoubtedly put the issue of general tuition fees back on the table again, particularly against the backdrop of the underfunding of German HEIs. The CHE Centre for Higher Education Development has produced a report on the Australian graduate-fee model. The authors Vitus Püttmann and Ulrich Müller show how the model can be transferred to Germany as well as the mistakes to avoid.
The CHE report "The Australian model: role model for Germany?" is available in a PDF format. In addition, Jörg Dräger explains the model in a short video.
Further Information can be found in the publications stated below.