What are we?

The Affordable College Report is a Massachusetts based company that wants to change the way people look at higher education. We will do this by increasing the awareness of what is offered in foreign education so that prospective students may make prudent choices on colleges to attend.

Based on 20 years of living and working in Europe and my experience in higher education, I am providing information that will help prospective college students decide if an education in Europe is a better “value” for them.  The information provided is as accurate as we could determine at this time. This is sometimes subjective (in other words, my opinion), but it is that way to give you information that is more personal and pertinent to an American considering studying in Europe.

We do not accept any money from the colleges we talk about.

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Problem

A college  education is getting more expensive every year with the typical graduate having significant student debt; some as high as tens of thousands of dollars. For some students, they will have to pay for student loans for decades. Reference some of the info graphics provided in this article –

http://blogs.wsj.com/numbers/congatulations-to-class-of-2014-the-most-indebted-ever-1368/

Solution

Most of us need to be strategic about deciding where to go to college and how we plan to pay for it; colleges outside the United States should be part of this strategy. Europe has always been known for universities with minimal tuition. The main problem is most Americans don’t have the foreign language skills to attend college that is taught in any language outside of English.

European universities are increasing the number of degree programs that are being taught in English. This opens the possibility of earning a high quality education for significantly less cost.

Don’t get me wrong, this is not a “free” education. You still have to pay administrative fees, travel and be willing to navigate the housing search from 5000 miles away, along with all the other cultural differences.

Why do Europeans teach programs in English for minimal cost?

In Europe, higher education is considered a necessity for development of the economy and society, which is why many countries charge little tuition even for international students. Europe needs skilled workers and is willing to pay for it.  Europe’s workforce is declining as stated by Rainer Strack in his Workforce Crisis of 2030 where he shows clearly that the world’s largest economies will have more jobs than educated workers to fill them.

In addition, Germany, like most of the rest of world, is very aware of the international nature of business and how critical it is for their population to be well versed in English. This allows them to communicate in the international market place. Germany has degree programs taught in English that vary from engineering to the social sciences.

Difference between private and public colleges

The vast majority of colleges in Germany are state funded schools. When you do find a private college in Europe, there are few regulations on tuition so it can get pretty expensive. For the purposes of this site, we will focus on the state funded schools in Europe with nominal tuition and fees. Germany is the beginning of a series.

Tuition

The German universities on this site have tuition and fees of less than $500 per year.

Degree

Thanks to the Bologne agreement that occurred in Europe, the universities in the European Union have begun to convert their various forms of degrees to the American style; yes, now you can earn a Bachelors, Masters, or Doctorate degree, just like in the U.S. All programs provided on this site have converted.

Accreditation

Like in the United States, several different agencies are involved in the accreditation of German and European colleges. Each program clearly states which agency accredits them. Unless their program has some unique partnership with a U.S. institution, they are accredited only by German or European accreditation agencies. If this is an issue for you, then perhaps only American colleges should be your consideration.

Food

For those that are concerned about what they are going to eat while going to college, one of the best deals that I have seen on German campuses is the Mensa or cafeteria. The selection may be unusual when compared to an average American diet, but you can get a complete nutritious meal for a nominal amount. For those going to German schools, you can save a lot of money eating there and it is healthy.

Books

Of course, dependent on the courses you take, this cost is unavoidable. Generally I have found the cost to be reasonable.  Take advantage of recent book alternatives; for instance, Bookfinder.com often focuses on international editions of books.

Public Transportation

In most of Germany, as well in the rest of Europe, a student can get around without a car. Most cities have an extensive network of buses, commuter rail, streetcars, and subways.  Being a college student normally entitles you to an assortment of discounts on the public transportation system or free travel in some cases.
The bicycle is also an option; people actually ride their bicycles in the winter time in Europe. Drivers tend to be more used to them on the road and you often have separate bicycle paths for bicyclist. Being “Green” is a way of life in Europe.

    Communication

There are lots of cheap phone plans in Germany. The reason is because cell phone plans have a lot more competition in Europe. Depending on your needs, it is not hard to find something budget friendly. With Skype and other forms of video conferencing, you can now talk for free to anyone in the U.S. from Europe.

Employment

The regulations are a little hazy on this but this is something your student services office at your college can give you information about.

Student Visa

Generally it is not difficult for most people to get a student Visa if you have been admitted as a student in a German college. This is something you should work through your admitting college. Here is the site that can provide requirements. http://www.germany-visa.org/student-visa/. You should apply at least three months in advance or as soon as possible after being admitted.

Last Word

This is about more than saving money; it’s the chance to live and study in another culture. If this is something that interests you, I have put together a PDF report called “The Affordable College Report”. It reviews 17 English language science bachelor degree programs (engineering, biology, IT, agriculture) at German colleges. It is a down and dirty synopsis of these programs on how to apply, info on housing, etc. which are located all over Germany. Download an example for free. If you like the sample, the whole pamphlet is available for twenty dollars and can be purchased through Paypal.

I have also created a pamphlet of 8 German colleges with 36 different Masters programs in various disciplines for minimal college fees that is extremely affordable. You can also download an example and if you like it, the complete graduate pamphlet is available to download for twenty dollars through Paypal.

I am also offering a consultation service  on Skype for those who would like to pursue higher education in Germany and would like guidance on deciding on a college and applying.  Email me for at denis.robert@theaffordablecollegereport.com for a schedule of fees.