Students are learning German to stay debt-free

Posted at 8:22 PM, Apr 13, 2016
and last updated 2016-04-13 22:53:32-04

There's a little-known way to get your star-student a free education, and it starts by speaking German. This year, nearly 100 Colorado students took a test that could make them eligible to study for free overseas.

“Ya, it's a little bit of a secret,” said Susanne Barret Smith, who is helping her students say 'auf Wiedersehen' to student debt.

Unlike schools in the United States, the German higher education system is funded by taxpayers. So if you, an American student, were to go study in Germany, you would pay the exact same price as a German student -- absolutely nothing.

“It's not just for your degree. You could do anywhere from an internship all the way up to your doctorate and it would all be free," Smith said. 

Colorado is following national trends. Just last year, more than 10,000 American students studied in Germany. Germany isn't the only country offering free tuition. Countries like Brazil and France offer similar deals.  

One of those students banking on the deals is Cherry Creek High School senior Sam Yeager.

“I passed the DSD (Deutsches Sprachdiplom) so right now I'm eligible for free community college in Germany,” said Yeager.

But a proficiency test isn't the only way to get to the promised land. Jessica Rueger has German parents, and has been planning on a German education for years.

“I've never really considered American colleges,” she said.

But what about that American college experience most kids dream about? German universities are not like American campuses, so experiences such as living in a dorm room or joining the Greek system are somewhat nonexistent.  

But these students said it's a small price to pay for free education.


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