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University Senate Criticizes Plans for the Introduction of Tuition Fees for Students from Non-EU Countries

The Senate of the University of Cologne appeals to the government of North Rhine-Westphalia to reconsider its plans. 

Although the details of how these plans are to be implemented are still unclear, the Christian Democrats (CDU) and the Free Democrats (FDP), who formed a coalition government in North Rhine-Westphalia in June, agreed on the introduction of tuition fees for students from non-EU countries in their coalition negotiations. In a statement, the Senate of the University of Cologne now expressed serious objections to these plans. The University of Cologne has always been shaped by its international outlook and profits tremendously from its partnerships and networks with international institutions and researchers.

In order to further develop the University’s excellent research, it is essential to bring together students and teachers from all over the world, the Senate claims. That is why the University should continue to be open to all students – from EU and non-EU countries. ‘We should not obstruct entry to a degree programmes or erect barriers.’

The Senate stresses that in light current political developments, universities play an important role. ‘Particularly in times of rising nationalism and authoritarianism, the University of Cologne feels a strong obligation to fulfil its role of offering a platform for discussion and creating a pluralistic environment.’
Above and beyond academic training and exchange, international cooperation can have ‘a sustainable effect in the interest of more peaceful cohabitation shaped by mutual understanding and respect’. Introducing tuition fees for students from non-EU countries would pose a threat to these values. The revenue would compensate the expected damages, the Senate fears. In consequence, it appeals to the government of North-Rhine Westphalia to reconsider its plans.

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