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GMS J Med Educ. 2016 Feb 15;33(1):Doc6. doi: 10.3205/zma001005. eCollection 2016.

A study on effects of and stance over tuition fees.

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University of Cologne, Medical Faculty, Dean's Office for Student Affairs, Cologne, Germany.
University of Cologne, Department of Pharmacology, Cologne, Germany.


in English, German


Regarding tuition fees (that in Germany already have been abrogated) putative drawbacks like prolonged study duration have been suspected while benefits are not clearly proven. We investigated whether tuition fees (500 Euro per semester) affected the course of studies of Cologne medical students and asked for students' stance over tuition fees.


Of 1,324 students we analyzed the rate of those passing their first medical exam ("Physikum") within minimum time and students' discontinuation rate, respectively. Regression analysis tested for putative influences of tuition fees and demographic factors. In an additional online survey 400 students answered questions regarding the load by and their stance over tuition fees.


We find that fees did not affect rate of Cologne students passing their first medical exam within minimum time or students' discontinuation rate. According to the online survey, at times of tuition fees significantly more students did not attend courses as scheduled. Time spent on earning money was significantly increased. 51% of students who had to pay tuition fees and 71% of those who never had to stated tuition fees to be not justified. More than two thirds of students did not recognize any lasting benefit from tuition fees.


Tuition fees did not affect discontinuation rate or study duration of Cologne medical students. However, they obviously influenced the study course due to an increased need to pursue a sideline. Cologne medical students rather refused tuition fees and did not recognize their advantages in terms of enhanced quality of studies.


course of studies; student dropouts; tuition fee

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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