News & CommentScience Education

U.S.-Style Universities for Germany?

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Science  19 Jun 1998:
Vol. 280, Issue 5371, pp. 1826-1827
DOI: 10.1126/science.280.5371.1826

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Summary

Martin Enserink Germany's public university system, almost exclusively run by local state governments, is overcrowded, overregulated, and lacks effective quality-control mechanisms, but efforts by the federal government to reform it have stalled. German industry, in particular, has become fed up with the slow pace of change and universities' inability to deliver the kind of graduates it needs, and so entrepreneurs are now backing a number of new private university projects. Leading the way is Bremen International University, a collaboration of Rice University and the German city-state of Bremen and styled after an American research university, which will select its own students, charge them hefty tuition fees, and pay its staff members a salary based on their achievements--breaking some of the most sacred taboos in German higher education.