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It is worth emphasizing that it's not just accessibility that Germany is interested in. While access to higher education IS an article of faith for the social democrats, there are additional factors in play here.

First, the German economy is dependent on a skilled labor force. As a result, Germany subsidizes tertiary education across the board, not just college. That's not only to keep college accessible for the poor, but to encourage young people to get a solid, credentialed education.

Second, the usual expectation in Germany is that you'll finish university with a graduate degree. In fact, until recently (per the Bologna Process) there weren't even undergraduate degrees in Germany (as they provided less depth than a graduate degree and less practical experience compared to vocational training). The industry is generally interested in an MS over a BS, and having to pay for your tuition may force students to take a break after their Bachelor's degree to earn some money.

Third, there's the German attitude towards personal debt and loans (which is that they don't particularly like either). I think the German banking system isn't really set up do handle big personal loans outside of mortgages and car loans.

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