• Germany's news in English

University sues student who 'studied too fast'

The Local · 3 Jul 2012, 09:15

Published: 03 Jul 2012 09:15 GMT+02:00

Marcel Pohl completed 60 examinations in 20 months, gaining a grade of 2.3, and was officially ex-matriculated in August 2011. Such a course usually takes 11 semesters, but he only needed three.

Now the Essen-based School of Economics and Management (FOM) want the 22-year-old to pay his fees up the end of 2011 - an extra €3,000.

"When I got the lawsuit, I thought it couldn't be true," Pohl, who now works for a bank in Frankfurt, told the Bild newspaper. "Performance is supposed to be worth something."

Pohl completed his turbo degree by dividing up all the simultaneous lectures with two friends and then swapping notes. At the same time, he completed an apprenticeship in a bank.

"We didn't get any freebies, and we agreed our plans in advance with the school," Pohl said.

"We're always against slow students," said his lawyer Bernhard Kraas. "But when someone hurries and finishes early, suddenly he has to pay. That can't be right."

But the FOM argues that its fees are the total price for the studies, independent of how long the studies last. But if that it is the case, it remains unclear why they are only calling for a part of the cost for 11 semesters.

"We do not want to comment on the case before it has reached court," a university spokesman said.

Story continues below…

The Local/bk

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Your comments about this article

11:17 July 3, 2012 by The-ex-pat
Just wait, the Finanzministerium will probably ask for a 10 year prison sentence for tax evasion, after all they have lost out too.................!

Three things are sure in this life. Tax, death.....................and humourless idiots.
11:24 July 3, 2012 by William Thirteen
this must be where the Vattenfall chief got his degree...
11:32 July 3, 2012 by wood artist
Seems like they want to use a "total price for the whole thing" model, in which case they should be saying "it costs ***** and you can take as long as you want to finish." Otherwise I can't see how they have a claim for damages. He didn't do anything "illegal" so exactly what did he do wrong...other than working too hard?

Dumb! Sounds more like a lawsuit in the US.

12:01 July 3, 2012 by SmittyBoy
This is a surprise?

Most "universities" have become little more than diploma mills. Students are not there to learn, but to get a diploma after spending enough money to ensure that the directors can drive around in a Mercedes and live in a huge house.
12:03 July 3, 2012 by yasirniazkhan
So if a student takes 15 semesters instead of 11, will he pay the same fee as the ones who complete in 11 semesters? Afterall, it is the fee of the program and not semesters, as they said :)
12:40 July 3, 2012 by iseedaftpeople
>Marcel Pohl completed 60 examinations in 20 months, gaining a grade of 2.3, and was officially ex-matriculated in August 2011. Such a course usually takes 11 semesters, but he only needed three.

anybody else think the guy should have gotten a life?
13:02 July 3, 2012 by n230099
Were these terms stated and agreed to up front? Was the total cost a 'contracted' amount? If so the school has a case but if the costs are specified up front as the charges for the program irregardless of time spent achieving, that's different.

How is it worded?
14:12 July 3, 2012 by DOZ
Clearly Germans have had too much exposure to America.
15:06 July 3, 2012 by wasserball
@iseedaftpeople "anybody else think the guy should have gotten a life?"

No. To each his own.
16:00 July 3, 2012 by catjones
wa..doz...not sure what this article has to do with America (a meritocracy). Americans tend to reward, not punish, achievement.
16:17 July 3, 2012 by iseedaftpeople

But what will he tell his kids, or even his friends someday when they talk about all the crazy things they did during college? It's all good and well to complete an education in due time; nobody says you should be slacking.

But you have to live a little because one day when he's just another generously paid executive working 80-plus hours a week, maybe he will realize that there are things in life that money and a successful professional career can't buy, and that he missed out on much of the fun his friends had.

I had a blast in college and tried to enjoy college life with all the bells and whistles, and yes, I lost about one semester because I had more things on my mind than just class and exams. But I wouldn't want to trade in those memories for anything.
16:30 July 3, 2012 by Kennneth Ingle
This is typical of the Germans, they treat their youngsters as if intelligence is just a matter of how long a person has studied. Education is good and there is certainly nothing to say against it, but aptitude and knowledge are of as much if not more value.

On the one side, we have criminals being sent home to mum, because German law does not allow a court to charge them the crime committed. We have students who are able to produce babies, but have never done a day¦#39;s work in their lives and with 34 years of age are still blocking places in the universities.

It would be great if the responsible politicians would realise, that anybody who commits a crime is old enough to face the consequences and that those, who prolong their studies indefinitely, are little more than spongers living from the hard earned tax money of those who put more into the state funds than they take out.

This student should be praised, not punished.
16:51 July 3, 2012 by Leo Strauss
The worst of Douchland and Ami Land in one package.
17:55 July 3, 2012 by AClassicRed

You're making assumptions and total generalizations that this student should have lived his college life the way you did so he could have memories like you.

You are also making the assumption he had no fun, no life, no pleasure, no nothing but study during the time he was in college. You are also making the assumption of what his career goals are, and that his objective is money. He has his own life to live, and his own regrets to make later in life if he so desires. It isn't your place to judge him.

Actually it sounds like you need to get a life. As someone else mentioned, everyone is different, and I add: and should be allowed to be without those like you trying to apply their own personal preferences to others. That's exactly the mindset, which you might think is innocent, but is the base reason that continues to allow bullying, and intolerances of all kinds to take place: when people object to others doing differently than they do.

As the quote says, "The universe is full of dead people who lived by assumption."
19:13 July 3, 2012 by strahlungsamt
He should have done the German thing - plagiarize it like Doctor von Googleberg.
09:55 July 4, 2012 by CoolBlueIce
This story really hits home because the same thing happened to me. I finished early, yet was still expected to pay the full fee. In fairness, I should point out it was with a hooker instead of a University. But it's kind of the same thing... right?
10:25 July 4, 2012 by BobbyBaxter
@ Kenneth Ingle: I could not agree more !!

Since living in Germany I have never met so many students over the age of 30. All of these students have for some reason or another extended their course either by changing mid way through or having children.

At my company we are constantly presented with new employees in their mid 30's who have never worked in industry 'but' have a doctorate - which in their eyes make them more than capable of the job for which they were employed.

There does not seem to be the same pressure in Germany to complete your studies within the alloted time. It seems to be the norm that most Germans spend 10 years or more in higher education.

When I first came to Germany I had a Degree and Masters and 4 years of Industrial experience by the age of 29. Most Germans I meet cannot believe this. In the UK I think it is seen as a bit of a stigma to still be studying when in your late 20's early 30's with no work experience.

The student of the above mentioned article should be applauded for his fine efforts.
18:08 July 4, 2012 by ayin
@ iseedaftpeople

"anybody else think the guy should have gotten a life?"

Nope, you would not think that if you have studied at a German university, you want to leave there as soon as possible, I understand this guy.
13:09 July 5, 2012 by insight101
@catjones Thank you for making a comment based on real world knowledge of America instead of German media portrayal. In answer to your question though, it doesn't have anything to do with America, it's just another example of Germans reading about a silly or sad story in their own country and turning their energy and attention to bashing America instead of accepting the consequences of decisions THEY make.

@KennethIngle Absolutely!

@Bobby Baxter Generalization warning: What you might not realize is that many Germans need a regular ego stroking from the use of their titles and for that one needs Professor, Doctor, Professor Doctor, or Professor Doctor Doctor. ;)Also staying away from real work for 10 years allows them to dedicate themselves more fully to other pursuits such as philosophizing about whether Osama Bin Laden should have been shot and parroting conspiracy theories about September 11th

@CoolBlueIce :D Good one!
19:34 July 5, 2012 by bassplayer
@doz...what does this have to do with America? Please explain this cars remark.
12:10 July 6, 2012 by Dresdentech12
This is a private "university" where you pay something to get a (very easy) degree besides worktime which is of not any value. It's known as the most ridiculous "university" of Germany. To study in Germany I can recommend members of the TU9, winners in the excellence initiative, TU Freiberg, TU Illmenau and Uni Mannheim, but also some universties of applied sciences.

I guess TU Dresden invites the turbo student to do it again, maybe not sooo fast.
16:29 July 20, 2012 by midnightsummer
i think hes a pretty impressive person.. he did this thing with 2 friends, thats why i googled the guys.. i found out that the other two just founded the ghostwriting agency GWriters (http://gwriters.de).

theyre only 22!!! now they help students to finish their bachelors or masters degree in a similar speedy way *lol* which irony
07:10 August 16, 2012 by sally#
I strongly agree with yasirniazkhan's arguement. As the FOM said fees are charged by studies not by time, then the students who take 15 semesters instead of 11 will pay the same fee as the ones who complete in 11 semesters. But in reality the students who take longer time to complete still pay more because they exceed the time. Anyway,these are all excuses for charging more money.
Today's headlines
Hamburg votes on 2024 Olympic Games bid
A jogger runs past Olympic rings in Kiel left over from the 1936 games. Photo: Carsten Rehder/dpa

Hamburg votes on 2024 Olympic Games bid

8 minutes ago

Hamburg residents voted Sunday in a crunch referendum on whether the northern German city should push ahead with its bid to host the 2024 Olympics, with staggering cost of the Games weighing on voters' minds.

Germany to send 1,200 troops to aid ISIS fight
Berlin has offered France Tornado reconnaissance jets. Photo: Luftwaffe

Germany to send 1,200 troops to aid ISIS fight

3 hours ago

Germany is planning to deploy 1,200 troops to help France in the fight against Islamic State jihadists in Syria, its army chief said Sunday, in what would be the military's biggest deployment abroad.

Refugee spending revs up German growth
Germany will spend €10bn on housing, feeding and processing the more than 800,000 people coming to the country this year. Photo: Patrick Pleul/dpa

Refugee spending revs up German growth

6 hours ago

A massive influx of refugees, and accompanying billions in public spending, have provided Germany with a long-awaited answer to partners' calls for it to do more to jumpstart the eurozone economy.

Lufthansa inks pay deal with 30,000 ground staff
Lufthansa has yet to strike a deal with the UFO flight attendant's union. Photo: Boris Roessler/dpa

Lufthansa inks pay deal with 30,000 ground staff

6 hours ago

German carrier Lufthansa, reeling under a series of recent strikes, said on Saturday that it had reached a wage rise accord with services sector union Verdi covering 30,000 ground staff.

Paris climate conference
Germans reluctant to go green, survey finds
This NASA handout shows CO2 release based on real emissions data. Photo: DPA

Germans reluctant to go green, survey finds

1 day ago

Most Germans might see climate change as a threat - but that doesn't mean they're willing to change their behaviour, according to a recent YouGov survey.

The Local List
The 10 greatest German Alpine ski resorts
Skiing in the Allgäu. Photo: DPA

The 10 greatest German Alpine ski resorts

2 days ago

This ski season looks set to be epic, with runs already open before December has even started - boding well for the rest of the season. We bring you the ten very best German resorts so you can make the most of it.

Bavaria accused of hoarding Nazi-looted art
Max Beckmann paintings in the Pinakothek der Moderne in Munich. File Photo: DPA

Bavaria accused of hoarding Nazi-looted art

2 days ago

A group of US Congressmen have sent a letter to Bavarian Minister President Horst Seehofer, urging him to do more to help return art stolen by the Nazis to its rightful owners.

Berlin suspects freed hours after terror raids
Police stand guard as colleagues search a van in Britz, south Berlin, on Thursday evening. Photo: DPA

Berlin suspects freed hours after terror raids

2 days ago

Three suspects arrested in Berlin on Thursday night on suspicion of planning a terrorist attack were freed on Friday morning, police said.

Cologne fights drunks with walls that 'pee back'
"Don't pee here! The wall pees back!" warns a new sign in Cologne main station. Photo: DPA

Cologne fights drunks with walls that 'pee back'

2 days ago

In Germany, those who urinate in public places have their own name: "Wildpinkler" or "free pee-ers." But they're about to face a backlash in Cologne - in a very literal and embarrassing way.

Final days of Hamburg Olympic vote battle
Demonstrators against the Olympic bid. Photo: DPA

Final days of Hamburg Olympic vote battle

2 days ago

The finishing line is in sight. On Sunday Hamburgers vote on whether they want the 2022 Olympics to come to town and the result could be tight.

Germany's 10 most-expensive cities
Sponsored Article
How to figure out healthcare abroad
German ISS astronaut tells kids to follow their dreams
Sponsored Article
Why family companies need free trade and TTIP
90 percent of Germans want tougher security
Sponsored Article
'Innovative companies like Hövding benefit most from TTIP'
Are you living in Germany's most expensive city?
Sponsored Article
The cheapest and fastest way to transfer money
Should singer accused of homophobia represent Germany at Eurovision?
70 years since the Nuremberg Trials
The German connection in the Paris attacks
Snow expected on 'first weekend of winter'
10 years of Angela Merkel in Berlin
Could soldiers soon be patrolling German streets?
Second German Paris victim was teacher and journalist
'We can't beat Isis with military means'
How will Germany help France fight Isis?
One German confirmed dead in Paris attacks
'Don't take Paris out on refugees': German defence minister
Germany's minute of silence for Paris victims
Nightclub bans refugees for harassing women
OPINION: Refugees must learn to respect German values
The ancient German community at the heart of Texas
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd