Germany's Ivy League

Nina Burger spent time as a high school student in the United States and wanted a similar, multicultural experience, when she went to university. Robert Eckoff was looking for a close relationship with his professors. Andreas Kolling wanted to finish his degree in three years. Until recently, these young Germans would likely have headed overseas for higher education, escaping the bloated, slow-moving German public system. Instead, they are taking advantage of a new option in Germany: private universities that charge tuition. "At state universities, time doesn't matter," says Kolling, 19. "Here you can have a degree after three years. If you...

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