In 2005, students repeatedly took to the streets to protest the planned introduction of tuition fees. Critics claimed that such fees would lead to a decline in student numbers and to an increase in social discrimination. Advocates, on the other hand, emphasized the positive effect of the fees, which, they explained, would go directly to the respective universities and improve learning conditions (e.g., more staff positions and professorships, smaller courses, etc.).
This photo shows students demonstrating against the introduction of tuition fees on the campus of Essen University in June 2005. Their banner reads: "We won't buy from you what belongs to us." Despite these protests, in the spring of 2006, the new CDU-FDP state government passed a law allowing universities to charge a maximum fee of 500 Euro per semester. Photo: Roland Weihrauch.