As the cost of higher education in the U.S. continues to be a growing concern for students, some have begun to look outside of the country for a solution. One of the primary destinations for these budget-minded academics has been Germany. It is known for having both a strong tertiary education program, with 18 of the top 200 universities in the world . It is also possible to apply as a foreign student with sufficient SAT or ACT scores, making it an ideal destination for many U.S. students who have taken these exams. As a result over 10,000 students from the U.S. are currently enrolled in German higher education programs. That number is almost a 10% increase from last year, and a staggering 25% increase from 08-09.
You may be asking yourself exactly how dramatic the cost difference is to warrant such an increase in students and quite frankly the numbers are staggering. Whereas the average U.S. student is paying almost $10,000  a year for an in state public university, the average German student is paying an average of $540  in school fees per year. This small amount also covers the cost of books and transit for many universities. So what are the drawbacks? To be honest the largest is the potential language barrier, but even that is becoming a smaller issue as over 1,000 courses taught in entirely English have been established over the past few years.
So how does Germany afford such incredibly low education costs? Through the federal states and central government. Higher education accounts for ~1% of German GDP, with the following costs:
•$18,000 for a master’s program
•$30,000 for a bachelor’s degree
•$220,000 for a medical degree
Yet the German economy still gains from investing in its students, including foreign students. Almost 50% of foreign students elect to live and work in Germany after graduation, providing additional sources of taxes and supplying the country with highly skilled workers.
As a college student myself, a semester abroad is always an attractive prospect. The idea of graduating with a bachelor degree for $2000 in tuition fees sounds like something out of a dream. In a global economy American universities are increasingly in competition with foreign universities. Students will seek out and find more opportunities to save on education, and a large number of students may elect to study abroad not only for the experience, but also for the financial benefits.