Huge difference in the cost of education in UK and Germany

In summary, the fees of universities in UK is more than 10 times than those of Germany. German universities aren't heard to have such a thing. The other reasons are that the education in UK is more of a pragmatic nature, focusing on what is needed at current time, while German universities are more in-depth and research-oriented.
  • #1
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I have searched for almost all courses and all universities and found that the fees of universities in UK is more than 10 times than those of Germany (if I were to convert both of those national currencies in my country's currency). Had education been some market product, I would have instantly concluded that the product offered in UK is better, but on all big forums of internet (be it our own, or Reddit, or Stackexchange or discord) where around 50% of users come from USA, germans have shown quite impressive ingenuity.

I'm quite confounded by this apparent paradox of one country offering the same level of education with a much higher price and the other at a lower price and maybe even a better and tougher course. Upon asking some natives of UK, I have been able to gather that OxBridge and a few other universities of UK have, a sort of, *tag* effect, big institutions recognize that tag and prefer them over the others. German universities aren't heard to have such a thing. What are the other reasons?

The dilemma of an international student:
Master's programs are offered in full english in German universities at a very reasonable price, but universities of UK have an edge effect that they offer an integrated Masters and PhD. program and their degrees, ostensibly, are more helpful in getting jobs at international institutions (like IMF, World Bank) or MNCs. Upon conversation with native residents, it has been found that the education in UK is more of pragmatic nature, focusing on what is needed at current time, while German universities are more in-depth and research-oriented (and maybe that's the reason they can complete their bachelors within 2 years and that too with a thesis). Forsooth, it is hard to decide whether to land on the peninsula or the island.
 
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  • #2
Hall said:
Had education been some market product, I would have instantly concluded that the product offered in UK is
Independent of how the comparison turns out in this case, I would argue this is a fallacy. A higher price does not imply objectively higher quality (and even then not necessarily higher quality justifying the price difference). In this particular case this is particularly unhelpful, since a lot of this comes down to funding the university receives. I.e. I dont believe the costs of a degree in Germany are actually much lower, its just that you are not asked to pay for them.

Ultimately , a large part of what you are paying for in the UK (for context, I am a native German having studied in Germany and now work at a UK university) is a much higher level of handholding. There are smaller tutorial groups and students seem to be told much closer what to spend their time on. My experience was usually closer to “I am sure you can find the lectures that are going on and you might want to look into registering for those lab courses. Good luck and see you at exam time. Oh, remember you have to figure out when and where to sign up for those.” Things might be changing though. I suspect this makes little difference for those who are successful (and some might benefit from more freedom) and hence are now around in forums etc.

Hall said:
(and maybe that's the reason they can complete their bachelors within 2 years and that too with a thesis

I have not heard of a 2 year bachelor in Germany, are you sure you did not misunderstand something? Also, are you actually planning to do a bachelor (i.e. your first university courses) in Germany? In that case I am doubtful about the widespread availability of courses held in English.
 
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  • #3
When comparing the cost of education to the student between countries, keep in mind how much of that burden falls on the shoulders of the country's taxpayers.

According to the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, Germany's public contribution to higher education comes in at around 81%. In the UK, that contribution is only about 24%.

From an international student's point of view, there can be very significant differences in tuition, because that public investment doesn't always extend to them. In Canada for example, international students end up paying higher tuition rates because of this. I don't know what the case is in Germany. But it's important to read the fine print when exploring schools outside of your home country.
 
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  • #4
A year of college costs something like $75K (USD) with some variation among institutions. This comes from tuition, taxes and other external sources and endowments, in varying degrees depending on country and institution.

Most European universities rely more on taxes and less on tuition than North American universities. A consequence of this is that it is often harder for international students to gain admission - there is a feeling that if a country pays for this resource, its citizens should get first shot at reaping the benefits.

Sadly, there is a feeling among many students from developing nations that the developed nations owe them an education - you can see some posts reflecting this here and elsewhere. Unfortunately, there are not enough available seats for everyone who wants one.
 
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  • #5
What about the tag effect? A man of letters, upon being asked if IMF, World Bank or other similar institutions would prefer an OxBridge (and Ivy League) degree holders to, say, Goethe University or Heidelberg University, responded that in today's era the personal skills matters the most and the proper combinations of courses one has done along with the experience, but it is also not false that some universities of UK (and US) do have and edge-effect. (Though, in case of IMF the headquarter itself lies in the USA, so, they might get an experience and American institutes might prepare their lads quite specifically for employment there, but same cannot be argued for CERN and Switzerland).
 
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  • #6
Hall said:
in today's era the personal skills matters the most and the proper combinations of courses one has done along with the experience, but it is also not false that some universities of UK (and US) do have and edge-effect
Sounds like a reasonable assessment to me. As others and myself said above, this is probably not the deciding factor for the variation of tuition fees between countries (by order of magnitude, at least).
Hall said:
IMF the headquarter itself lies in the USA, so, they might get an experience and American institutes might prepare their lads quite specifically for employment there
We are talking about studing physics right? I somehow doubt the standard physics courses in the US are aligned with the need of the IMF particularly.
 
  • #7
Hall said:
What about the tag effect? A man of letters, upon being asked if IMF, World Bank or other similar institutions would prefer an OxBridge (and Ivy League) degree holders to, say, Goethe University or Heidelberg University, responded that in today's era the personal skills matters the most and the proper combinations of courses one has done along with the experience, but it is also not false that some universities of UK (and US) do have and edge-effect. (Though, in case of IMF the headquarter itself lies in the USA, so, they might get an experience and American institutes might prepare their lads quite specifically for employment there, but same cannot be argued for CERN and Switzerland).
By "tag effect", I assume you mean the significance of brand-name recognition and reputation. Is that correct? If so, I'll give you my perspective after you answer this previous question:

Dr.AbeNikIanEdL said:
We are talking about studing physics right? I somehow doubt the standard physics courses in the US are aligned with the need of the IMF particularly.
Are you planning to get a degree in physics? If so, are you then planning a career in finance? It's odd that you use the IMF and World Bank as specific examples of potential employers.
 
  • #8
CrysPhys said:
Are you planning to get a degree in physics? If so, are you then planning a career in finance? It's odd that you use the IMF and World Bank as specific examples of potential employers.
I didn't use the word 'physics' a single time in this post before this one, though this sub-forum is for STEM only, yet I have seen economics have been allowed upto a certain degree. I used the institutions like IMF and World Bank for explanatory purpose because they are global level organizations as opposed to NASA, and others.

Now, I request you to provide your generous perspective on the said issue.
 
  • #9
Hall said:
I didn't use the word 'physics' a single time in this post before this one, though this sub-forum is for STEM only, yet I have seen economics have been allowed upto a certain degree.
Well, this whole website is called ‘PhysicsForums’, so if you do not intend to study physics or something closely related this seems like an obvious caveat to start out with. To me it’s still not quite clear from this what your actual goal is…
 
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  • #10
Hall said:
I have searched for almost all courses and all universities and found that the fees of universities in UK is more than 10 times than those of Germany (if I were to convert both of those national currencies in my country's currency).
It sounds like you are not from Germany or the UK, so you would be an international student in either of those countries, right? Does the 10:1 ratio in tuition costs still hold for international students?
 
  • #11
My understanding is that the ingenuity of German graduates is a direct result of the low cost of the degree - the university has no incentive to keep students for multiple years, so the whole degree is a weed-out process of sorts, leaving only the best.
 
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  • #12
berkeman said:
It sounds like you are not from Germany or the UK, so you would be an international student in either of those countries, right? Does the 10:1 ratio in tuition costs still hold for international students?
You've got the power, but if you still want to know then yes I'm not from any of European countries.

The ratio 10:1 which was presented in OP was from a well-researched effort, and therefore, I would say it holds for me.
 
  • #13
Dr.AbeNikIanEdL said:
Well, this whole website is called ‘PhysicsForums’, so if you do not intend to study physics or something closely related this seems like an obvious caveat to start out with. To me it’s still not quite clear from this what your actual goal is…
Amazon began with selling books only, it should be shut down now as it has trespassed with what it began with.
 
  • #15
Hall said:
Amazon began with selling books only, it should be shut down now as it has trespassed with what it began with.
I am not saying you can't ask about advice in other fields, I am just saying that most people here will assume any question is physics specific, so if it is not you will get more relevant answers if you let them know.
 
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  • #16
Hall said:
I didn't use the word 'physics' a single time in this post before this one, though this sub-forum is for STEM only, yet I have seen economics have been allowed upto a certain degree. I used the institutions like IMF and World Bank for explanatory purpose because they are global level organizations as opposed to NASA, and others.

Now, I request you to provide your generous perspective on the said issue.
* Yes, on occasion, we do address careers outside of physics (or even outside of core STEM fields). But then the typical context is along the lines of, "I've completed a degree in physics, and I've had great difficulty finding a physics job. There appears to be many jobs in financial analysis. I was wondering what my chances are of landing a job in financial analysis."

This would not be a useful forum, however, for an inquiry along the lines of, e.g., "I've completed a degree in art history. My dream job is to become an interpreter for the UN. Could someone please advise me how to attain my dream job?"

* Advice is more relevant when it is tailored to your own individual circumstances. It is in your own best interests to define what your own individual circumstances are.

* With respect to the specific issue of the significance of brand-name recognition of a university, here is my perspective (from that of a physicist who worked for a global corporation and who transitioned to a career outside of a core STEM field). If you stay within your field (that you got your degree in), brand-name recognition per se is not that crucial. Particularly in a large multinational corporation, there will be employees from many countries. If I am working as a R&D physicist, e.g., I will be familiar with research being done in my specialty at various universities around the world. And, if I should receive a resume from a candidate who graduated, e.g., from a university in Germany that I never heard of, I'll likely have a colleague from Germany that I can ask about it.

Brand-name recognition can play an important factor, however, if you later need to change fields. I'll give you a specific example: Harvard University vs University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC). Harvard has global brand-name recognition in many fields; UIUC does not. Each has excellent physics departments. A candidate from UIUC applying for a physics job at a large research lab would not be at a disadvantage with respect to a candidate from Harvard solely based on academic credentials, because the hiring managers will likely know the strength of the UIUC physics program (and there will likely be UIUC alums among the hiring managers).

Now suppose a Harvard physics major and a UIUC physics major both apply for a position at a major law firm (e.g., as a patent agent or tech specialist in the intellectual property law department). Harvard has a top-tier law school; UIUC does not. Major law firms tend to place a lot of weight on brand-name recognition. The hiring managers will likely not be aware of the relative strengths of the physics departments of Harvard and UIUC, but they will be aware of the relative strengths (and prestige) of the law schools at Harvard and UIUC. The Harvard grad will have an edge over the UIUC grad based on academic credentials alone.

* You answered my question, and I responded with my perspective. Now I'm done here. As an employee, I often had to deal with rude people (managers, co-workers, clients); it was all part of the job. As a volunteer, however, I do not. If you want to have people volunteer to help you, I would advise you to be more civil. My parting words of free advice.
 
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  • #17
CrysPhys said:
* You answered my question, and I responded with my perspective. Now I'm done here. As an employee, I often had to deal with rude people (managers, co-workers, clients); it was all part of the job. As a volunteer, however, I do not. If you want to have people volunteer to help you, I would advise you to be more civil. My parting words of free advice.

what he said (very small).jpg
 
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  • #18
CrysPhys said:
* Yes, on occasion, we do address careers outside of physics (or even outside of core STEM fields). But then the typical context is along the lines of, "I've completed a degree in physics, and I've had great difficulty finding a physics job. There appears to be many jobs in financial analysis. I was wondering what my chances are of landing a job in financial analysis."

This would not be a useful forum, however, for an inquiry along the lines of, e.g., "I've completed a degree in art history. My dream job is to become an interpreter for the UN. Could someone please advise me how to attain my dream job?"

* Advice is more relevant when it is tailored to your own individual circumstances. It is in your own best interests to define what your own individual circumstances are.

* With respect to the specific issue of the significance of brand-name recognition of a university, here is my perspective (from that of a physicist who worked for a global corporation and who transitioned to a career outside of a core STEM field). If you stay within your field (that you got your degree in), brand-name recognition per se is not that crucial. Particularly in a large multinational corporation, there will be employees from many countries. If I am working as a R&D physicist, e.g., I will be familiar with research being done in my specialty at various universities around the world. And, if I should receive a resume from a candidate who graduated, e.g., from a university in Germany that I never heard of, I'll likely have a colleague from Germany that I can ask about it.

Brand-name recognition can play an important factor, however, if you later need to change fields. I'll give you a specific example: Harvard University vs University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC). Harvard has global brand-name recognition in many fields; UIUC does not. Each has excellent physics departments. A candidate from UIUC applying for a physics job at a large research lab would not be at a disadvantage with respect to a candidate from Harvard solely based on academic credentials, because the hiring managers will likely know the strength of the UIUC physics program (and there will likely be UIUC alums among the hiring managers).

Now suppose a Harvard physics major and a UIUC physics major both apply for a position at a major law firm (e.g., as a patent agent or tech specialist in the intellectual property law department). Harvard has a top-tier law school; UIUC does not. Major law firms tend to place a lot of weight on brand-name recognition. The hiring managers will likely not be aware of the relative strengths of the physics departments of Harvard and UIUC, but they will be aware of the relative strengths (and prestige) of the law schools at Harvard and UIUC. The Harvard grad will have an edge over the UIUC grad based on academic credentials alone.

* You answered my question, and I responded with my perspective. Now I'm done here. As an employee, I often had to deal with rude people (managers, co-workers, clients); it was all part of the job. As a volunteer, however, I do not. If you want to have people volunteer to help you, I would advise you to be more civil. My parting words of free advice.
You have not even touched the IMF and its headquarter in USA issue which I mentioned.
 
  • #19
Hall said:
You have not even touched the IMF and its headquarter in USA issue which I mentioned.
He said he is done giving you free volunteer advice in this thread. And I don't blame him. As a Mentor, I'm not allowed to ignore any user...
 
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  • #21
@Hall , you're absolutely right. You came to a place called Physics Forums, didn't specify what program you were interested in, and we all assumed physics. You got us all good! Big fun!

Now, a question for you - do you think this will make people more likely or less likely to try and help you in the future?
 
  • #22
Hall said:
You have not even touched the IMF and its headquarter in USA issue which I mentioned.
Maybe that's because he doesn't have any insight into organizations like IMF. Surprised? Don't be, this is a physics forum...
 
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  • #24
Vanadium 50 said:
You came to a place called Physics Forums, didn't specify what program you were interested in, and we all assumed physics. You got us all good! Big fun!
Sir, you can very well see that post #3 answered my main question very well, without asking any personal details.

Vanadium 50 said:
Now, a question for you - do you think this will make people more likely or less likely to try and help you in the future?
the helpers will always help, bullies will always do ragging (the more learned they are the more disguised their ragging would be).

And none of these applies to you.
 
  • #25
Time to tie off this thread. Thanks to all for trying to help the OP.
 
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