More than a million young people will be enrolling in universities in England and Germany this autumn.
But in financial terms their experience couldn’t be more different.
In Germany tuition fees have been abolished, while England has the most expensive fees in Europe, with every indication that they are likely to be allowed to nudge even higher.
But what difference does it make to their universities?
The Higher Education Policy Institute’s director, Nick Hillman, has published an analysis – “Keeping up with the Germans?” – which looks at the impact of these contrasting funding systems.
The biggest difference is that a much smaller proportion of young people go to university in Germany.
In Germany, about 27% of young people gain higher education qualifications. In the UK, the comparable figure is 48%. The expansion in university entry in the UK has been one of those changes that has been so big that no one really notices.