Berlin trio caps enrolments

July 25, 2003

Berlin's universities threatened with growing budget cuts from the broke capital city are making it harder for students to get in, writes Alisa Roth in Berlin.

All three Berlin schools - the Free University, Humboldt University and the Technical University (TU) - have announced that students must apply to individual faculties for a place next semester.

Acceptance will be based on the student's performance on the Abitur , the high-school final examination. This will be harsh on Berlin students who wish to study locally - Abitur scores in Berlin are typically lower than elsewhere in Germany.

The universities said they expected fewer students to apply. "This is not what we want," said Kristina Zerges, spokeswoman for TU.

The TU wants to increase enrolment in core faculties such as engineering and chemistry. Ms Zerges said the university saw it as "counter-productive" to have to impose further limits.

The reduced budget means Humboldt cannot afford to replace professors who retire, or to add more professors.

University spokeswoman Susann Morgner said: "We have to save as much as we can. Positions are remaining open, teaching jobs are staying open. There aren't enough teachers."

Humboldt originally said it would not accept any new students for the winter semester.

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