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Court: speedy student must pay fees

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Photo: DPA
07:23 CEST+02:00
A German graduate who finished his Bachelors and Masters degrees “too fast” will have to pay for the seven semesters he was expected to take, a court said on Wednesday, after he was sued by his former university.

Dubbed a "turbo student" by the German media, Marcel Pohl argued that those who drop out of the Essen-based School of Economics and Management (FOM) without graduating did not have to pay, neither should he. All students sign the same contract, he said.

But the judge at the Arnsberg district court in North Rhine-Westphalia disagreed, and told 22-year-old Pohl on Wednesday that as he used the same facilities to complete his degree that a normal student would, he should have to pay for them.

Marcel Pohl completed 60 examinations in 20 months and gained a grade of 2.3 at the private university, all while carrying out an apprenticeship in a bank. He divided up simultaneous lectures with two friends and swapped notes, while sacrificing a social life and drinking gallons of green tea, he told Die Welt newspaper.

The university allegedly agreed to him finishing both of the degrees early, daily reported on Wednesday.

“It's disappointing,” Pohl told the paper after Wednesday's hearing. “We will wait for the written outcome and then maybe launch an appeal.”

Although initial reports suggested that the FOM was demanding around €3,000, Pohl told the Bild he was expecting to pay out “around €11,000” in remaining fees.

As a private university, it charges around €12,000 for a Bachelors degree, paid in monthly instalments and around €10,000 for a Masters. They are not, strictly speaking, semester fees, the court said.

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

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