Roughing It in College

Ludwig Maximilian University

To cope with scary economic times are American colleges and universities going to deep six some of their amenities?

This was the question that I explored in yesterday’s blog. It’s unlikely, however,  that American college students will ever experience the bare-bones, higher-ed experiences that’s prevalent Europe.

With the notable exception of Great Britain, tuition is free in most European countries, which helps explains why austerity is commonplace.

To illustrate the sort of experience German students receive, The Chronicle of Higher Education took a look at the 500-year-old Ludwig Maximilian University in Munich, which is Germany’s second largest university.

I am summarizing what The Chronicle found:

1. There is no campus square. The buildings are scattered throughout the city. Many of the buildings are nondescript. The administration building looks like an office building suitable for dentists.

2. The university doesn’t maintain any dorms. It doesn’t have any dining halls.

3. Forget varsity sports. There aren’t any at this school.

4. The school doesn’t operate a student health clinic.

4. The university spends roughly half what a comparable university in the U.S. spends per student.

5. The student/faculty ratio at 30:1 is quite high.

What do you think the ranking meisters over at U.S. News & World Report would do to a school like Ludwig Maximilian University?

I think it would be ugly.

Lynn O’Shaughnessy is the author of The College Solution.

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