Petition to abolish tuition fees for international students and second-degree students in Baden-Württemberg

As supporters of education, equal opportunities and staunch advocates of an inclusive and diverse academic environment, we would like to draw attention to a problem that has affected international students and second-degree students in Baden-Württemberg since the introduction of tuition fees in 2017:

In Baden-Württemberg, international students have had to pay 1,500 euros in tuition fees per semester since 2017 and are massively burdened and discriminated against as a result. Second-degree students pay 650 euros per semester. In addition to the other current challenges, this places a considerable financial burden on students.

We are aware of the recently expressed considerations on the part of the government factions in the state parliament to possibly abolish the fees for international students in Baden-Württemberg. Unfortunately, no further steps were taken after a corresponding announcement. A request to abolish tuition fees by the SPD parliamentary group was rejected. The state parliament then decided to commission the state government to carry out a review. However, there is still no result.

With this petition, we would like to urge those responsible in the state parliament and the government of Baden-Württemberg to immediately push for and decide on the complete abolition of fees and to provide the universities with corresponding compensation payments.

We demand that the state government immediately abolish tuition fees for foreign students and second-degree student fees!

We would like to point out the negative impact that these fees have had on the number of international students who have decided to study in Baden-Württemberg. The national average number of international students has risen by 32 per cent. In contrast, the number in Baden-Württemberg has fallen by 9 per cent. All other federal states have rising numbers of international students (up to 178%). The proportion of students from Africa, for example, fell by about 33% from 3,793 in the winter semester 2016/17 to 2,523 in the winter semester 2020/21. This decline reflects the financial barriers that prevent people from studying at universities in Baden-Württemberg. This leads to an emphatic reduction in the cultural richness and diversity of educational institutions. Internationalization, especially the internationality of the student body, is severely impaired. We absolutely must reverse this trend and create an environment that encourages all students to choose to study in Baden-Württemberg. The number of second-degree students has fallen steadily by almost 30% from 7,941 in the 2016/17 winter semester to 5,568 in the 2022/23 winter semester.

It is important to recognize the additional challenges faced by international students due to the energy crisis, inflation, massive rent increases and difficulties in their home countries, as well as the problems caused by the pandemic. These circumstances have led to greater financial difficulties, limited job opportunities and restricted access to key resources. As a result, it is increasingly difficult for international students to manage their expenses, including the additional burden of tuition fees.

We strongly believe that education should be accessible to all, regardless of nationality and socio-economic status. By abolishing tuition fees for international students and second-degree students in Baden-Württemberg, the commitment/readiness for equal opportunities in education and the promotion of a welcoming and inclusive academic environment can be demonstrated while ensuring that students from all over the world can come to Baden-Württemberg. This is also necessary in order to counteract the massive shortage of skilled labor in Baden-Württemberg’s economy.

We ask the state government and the state parliament of Baden-Württemberg to take the following measures:

  • Initiate a policy change to immediately abolish fees for international students and second-degree students in Baden-Württemberg, facilitate access to education and promote cultural exchange. Provide universities with sufficient funding and appropriate resources.
  • Engage in dialogue with student representatives and organizations to hear first-hand the concerns and challenges of international students.

By removing the financial barriers that international students and second-degree students currently face, it is possible to take a significant step towards building a more inclusive and globally connected academic community in Baden-Württemberg, internationalizing universities and reducing the skills shortage in BW.

Thank you for your attention to this matter. We ask that you respond to this petition outlining the steps that should be taken to address these issues. Let us work together to create an educational environment that values diversity, promotes academic growth, and supports the aspirations of all students.

initial signatory:

  • Campaign against education and tuition fees (ABS, Aktionsbündnis gegen Bildungs- und Studiengebühren)
  • Federal Association of international Students (BAS, Bundesverband ausländischer Studierender)
  • Free association of student organizations (fzs, Freier zusammenschluss von studentInnenschaften)
  • German Trade Union for Education an Research (GEW, Gewerkschaft Erziehung und Wissenschaft)
    Baden-Württemberg State Student Representation (LaStuVe)
  • Landesstudierendenvertretung (LaStuVe) Baden-Württe1mberg)

sign the petition!