Thousands of American kids are getting free university educations in Germany

German higher education is essentially free, even for foreign students, and many courses are conducted entirely in English.

US student debt now stands at $1.3 trillion. A full semester at a top German university costs $120 — and your student card gets you unlimited free public transit. Full health insurance is $87/month. Germans welcome foreign students in the hopes that they'll settle in the country and start businesses and provided a skilled workforce. Admission generally requires a 3.0 GPA or better.

At Hunter's university, the Technical University in Munich, 20% of students are non-German. The University president is keen to have every single graduate programme offered in English, and only in English, by the year 2020.

"You can feel sad and think it's a pity that we are losing our own mothers' tongue in the technical disciplines, but that's the development in the world," says Wolfgang Herrmann.

He acknowledges that people wanting to study philosophy and other cultural sciences would still have to be taught in German.

"But in the technical disciplines you could say the world is easier."

…In the capital city of Berlin, the most popular destination for international students, the state government says it has no plans to introduce fees anytime soon.

"We will not introduce tuition fees for international students," says Krach, the Secretary of Science. "We don't want the entry to college to be dependent on your social status and we don't want that the exchange between countries is only dependent on the question of finances."

How US students get a university degree for free in Germany [Franz Strasser/BBC]

(Image: School of Data vs. School of Rock via the Open Knowledge Foundation (OKFN),
Duncan Hull, CC-BY