Roughing It in College

Ludwig Maximilian University

To cope with scary economic times are American colleges and universities going to deep six some of their amenities?

This was the question that I explored in yesterday’s blog. It’s unlikely, however,  that American college students will ever experience the bare-bones, higher-ed experiences that’s prevalent Europe.

With the notable exception of Great Britain, tuition is free in most European countries, which helps explains why austerity is commonplace.

To illustrate the sort of experience German students receive, The Chronicle of Higher Education took a look at the 500-year-old Ludwig Maximilian University in Munich, which is Germany’s second largest university.

I am summarizing what The Chronicle found:

1. There is no campus square. The buildings are scattered throughout the city. Many of the buildings are nondescript. The administration building looks like an office building suitable for dentists.

2. The university doesn’t maintain any dorms. It doesn’t have any dining halls.

3. Forget varsity sports. There aren’t any at this school.

4. The school doesn’t operate a student health clinic.

4. The university spends roughly half what a comparable university in the U.S. spends per student.

5. The student/faculty ratio at 30:1 is quite high.

What do you think the ranking meisters over at U.S. News & World Report would do to a school like Ludwig Maximilian University?

I think it would be ugly.

Lynn O’Shaughnessy is the author of The College Solution.

6 Responses to Roughing It in College

  1. Dani December 31, 2014 at 7:44 am #

    The review is based on superficial statements of which many aren’t even true. The quality of education is not regarded.

    1. This is not true, many German universities have a central campus or at least a subject related campus (which is central for the individual student then depending on his/ her field of study, e.g. a campus for science and maths, arts and philosophy or law and economics). Universities without a central campus are mostly very old (15th to 17th century) and have grown. They were usually founded with only one building which was sufficient back then.
    2. Just isn’t true. Every university has dorms and dining halls. Although a university without a central campus hasn’t got a central dining hall, of course.
    3. College football and other sports are typically American. You can’t expect them in other countries. Most German universities offer a large variety of sport. However, sports are regarded a hobby and a private activity. Most Germans are a member of a sports club. They also root teams of sports clubs (mainly soccer teams), not university teams (although they usually exist).
    4. Every person who resides in Germany is required to have health insurance by law. There is no need for students clinics.
    5. This point is true, but you should consider that there is no tuition at German universities and they are complete supported by government money.
    6. Also true, but again, consider point 5. Teachers have to be paid. Also freshman and sophomore year at us colleges rather equal German secondary school (Abitur). University is regarded a specialization in one academic field, not a broad general education. Universities postulate discipline and one’s own iniative (since you are an adult and have chosen to study) in contrast to school education.

  2. Natq October 22, 2014 at 6:29 pm #

    Nowhere in the comments does she say that the universities in Germany are a waste. Did you even read the article? She wasn’t bashing German Universities. She was just doing a bit of comparison…
    First off, are you the same person? Because the two comments here are very similar? Did you just comment because this article offended you and wanted to be rude?
    There is nothing offensive in this article at all, it’s amazing how thin your skin is. Some people get offended so easily…Why not focus your time and energy elsewhere?

  3. Susan November 2, 2012 at 5:55 pm #

    Dear Madame,

    your statements make it clear that you are biased from the outset. It also becomes clear that you do not have the necessary knowledge about different countries in Europe and their different education systems. You mention, for example, that the university does not have a health clinic? Well, yes, that is because it is not necessary, as every student in Germany, even foreigners, do receive state insurance coverage, without any deductible or fees whatsoever, for a mere $70 a month. Our broken US health care system, however, has to offer such things as health clinics for students, as otherwise those students would have no coverage.
    I would suggest that you first inform yourself in an unbiased manner and not in a black and white fashion (“we win”) and then perhaps I suggest: thinking.

  4. Anonymous June 21, 2012 at 2:49 pm #

    You are totally biased..i think you should see all the campuses in Germany and then talk. You are totally immature. I would like you to go and see all the TU or Technische Universitat..they are more modern than US universities in terms of technology and standards. Arts and science is for losers. And your bias is totally attacking the university system of Germany saying that it is a waste. Check out the college fees..and the debt..who is happy? Don’t ever talk about other country’s universities. I see that you have only 675 people liking you on facebook which shows the fact that you yourself are a failure.

    • Natq October 22, 2014 at 6:33 pm #

      She was not attacking this university..Did you actually read the article? I can’t find anything offensive about it. Boy, way to be over sensitive! And she’s a failure? At least she’s not wasting her time going on websites and getting offended about every little thing. Why don’t you focus your time elsewhere? Do you actually live in Germany? Did you attend/work at the university mentioned above? Or are you a troll who has nothing better to do? You call her immature? Well, talk about pot calling the kettle black. I don’t see the author posting immature comments here….

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