Planned exemption from tuition fees in Baden-Württemberg only partially effective for refugees

Federal Association of International Students (BAS) calls on the state parliament to abolish tuition fees for foreign students and second-degree students.
The governing parties should rectify the mistake made with the introduction of tuition fees and reduce the burden on the students concerned.

This week, the state parliament of Baden-Württemberg is debating an amendment to the State University Fees Act. The government factions propose to include all holders of a residence permit according to § 24 AufenthG as an exception from the obligation to pay fees. This would exempt students who fall under the implementing decision of Directive 2001/55/EC from paying tuition fees. This mainly affects Ukrainian students. The Federal Association of International Students (BAS) welcomes the planned exemption from tuition fees for Ukrainian refugees who want to take up or continue their studies in Baden-Württemberg. “However, the regulation,” says Vanessa Gombisch, BAS press officer, “falls far too short. Such a decision would exclude Ukrainian students who are currently already studying in Baden-Württemberg. But they too are affected by the war and often cut off from funding. Furthermore, international students from Ukraine, who may not fall under the regulations of this residence title, are excluded, even though they also had to flee from the Russian tanks.”

Ukrainian students who want to continue their studies and convert their residence permit, which is limited to a maximum of three years under the EU directive, into a residence permit for study purposes will also have to pay tuition fees. It should then no longer be possible for those who have lost their livelihood to study.

Students from Russia or Belarus are not considered. Due to the crisis and the sanctions, these can already hardly finance their livelihoods without tuition fees. “In the worst case, young men will have to abandon their studies and will then be drafted into army service in Russia,” fears Kumar Ashish, spokesperson for BAS.

Already at the introduction of the law, mistakes were made and people whose asylum procedures took a long time due to little official capacity were charged fees. Qualified persons who would otherwise have been courted with a lot of resources and effort were thus systematically excluded from studying in Baden-Württemberg.

The BAS welcomes the exemption of students from Ukraine as a measure. However, it has been shown that tuition fees are an unsuitable instrument for improving the integration of foreign students, which the state government is striving for. Students are massively burdened. “Education fees create and reinforce injustice. They are exclusive and elitist. Tuition fees in Baden-Württemberg reproduce classist and sexist discrimination in access to education. Even if it doesn’t look any better in some countries of origin, smart but poor minds are kept away from education in this way,” says Nadia Galina, higher education policy officer at BAS. She sums up: “In other words, Baden-Württemberg is promoting the global gap between rich and poor.”
Tuition fees burden foreign students and make studying in THE LÄND unattractive. Fewer qualified people come to the state and the shortage of skilled workers remains high. The governing parties of Bündnis 90 / Die Grünen and CDU are once again missing the opportunity to make their state a more attractive place to study. BAS demands that tuition fees be abolished immediately.

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