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Court: speedy student must pay fees
Photo: DPA

Court: speedy student must pay fees

Published: 19 Jul 2012 07:23 GMT+02:00
Updated: 19 Jul 2012 07:23 GMT+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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Your comments about this article

08:07 July 19, 2012 by MichaelZWilliamson
It's not fair to be better than average.
08:52 July 19, 2012 by BobbyBaxter
Just shows, in Germany it does not pay to be dynamic and hard working......
09:05 July 19, 2012 by MichaelZWilliamson
"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."

Perhaps this information should have been at the top of the article, rather than tacked onto the end? Or is generating outrage more important than presenting the news?
09:06 July 19, 2012 by DoubleDTown
he was working so hard on the school stuff he didn't have time to get a haircut
09:22 July 19, 2012 by raandy
MichaelZWilliamson good point, welcome to the local.
09:35 July 19, 2012 by twisted
I concur with BobbyBaxter. If you don't fit the German mold, you suffer for it.
10:33 July 19, 2012 by morel
If he¦#39;s rich enough to enrol at a private university then he can afford the fees. Even more so since he¦#39;s already working in Frankfurt, centre of the banking universe. Did he rush to finish, thinking he could save a few bucks? Looks like his get-rich-quick scheme backfired. I have no sympathy for this ¦quot;banker¦quot;.
12:29 July 19, 2012 by zeddriver
This will open up other doors you don't want open. As in. What if I take out a 30 year loan on a home and make extra payments. This is what I did in the US. I paid off a 30 year loan in 18. Should I have still owed 30 years of interest? A court decision like this is called a slippry slope. But this is typical Germany. Zero inititiative. No such thing as a lets get this done attitude. And any body displaying such attitudes vill be shot. As this young man found out.
16:01 July 19, 2012 by sailbatnite
Goes to show you schools not in it to educate. They are only it it for the money. @ zeddriver, I agree it leaves a lot more things open to that type of interpretation.
17:28 July 19, 2012 by lecturenotes2009
better than average? come on, i will never rate students who get 2.3 as better than average, rather than just average. and it's not hardcore science like chemistry or physics, or, engineering, where you have to do all practicums etc. social science, eh, study, ahhh.... they are not backbone of germany to be advanced country.
03:37 July 21, 2012 by dmay
If the University is arguing that the total price of their program is offered at a set price and independent from the length of time spent at their university, doesn't that mean that students who spend an extra year at their university should be offered refunds? Welcome to University Prix Fixe.....
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