Viennese raise fees and smiles

November 30, 2001

Austrian cabaret artists are putting a smile on the faces of students who are down in the mouth over tuition fees by helping some to raise the cash.

From this term, students at Austrian universities have to pay annual fees of about €812 (£500).

Viennese cabaret artist Josef Hader this month held a benefit performance at the Vienna Technical University to help raise funds for foreign students who were struggling with the payments.

Fellow entertainer Alfred Dorfer has already donated about €4,000 to the students' union to help needy students.

The comedian and actor has been collecting the "tuition fees" over the past year from members of the audience after his cabaret performances and has also made a contribution from his own salary.

The money will be given to ten students, who have to pay the fees but cannot get financial support from any other source, in the form of what he has called "Alfred Dorfer Grants".

The payments of about €406 each will cover the costs of the fees for one semester.

Mr Dorfer said that he would not have been able to afford it if there had been fees when he started his studies.

He dismissed the suggestion that fees would reduce the drop-out rate and encourage students to study faster.

"Many more students will have to find work and therefore involuntarily lengthen the duration of their studies," he said.

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