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EU-funded Eurostudent Report 2005: Social and Economic Conditions of Student Life in Europe

The EUROSTUDENT 2005 project aims to generate and present internationally comparable indicators on the social and economic conditions of student life (students engaged in higher education). Such a comparison provides the participating EU countries with information of high relevance of educational policy. Together with the country specific surveys and analyses – the national profiles – the indicators serve to support governments in their efforts to reform education policy.

  • The traditional dependence on parents and/or state support is diminishing in many EU-countries. 
  • In the context of international mobility, this analysis reveals housing-related barriers which deserve closer attention. Extremely high percentages of students live with their parents, especially in South-European countries. This subsistence-form of student living but also dependence on paid employment keep students immobile and thus represents a serious obstacle to studying abroad. Alongside findings on social mobility, an insight into international mobility is of major significance to the European objective of creating a European area of higher education. The current findings succeed in giving an overall picture of international student mobility in terms of groups, programmes and free-movers.
  • The student financing patterns encountered clearly reflect structural differences between the countries. If we compare structural characteristics of student financing at the one end of the spectrum we find subsistence-like financing (students living with parents) and at the other near complete self-financing (over 60% of students have jobs).
The Eurostudent Report reveals other social and income-related discrepancies in educational participation within and between states in Europe. The current magnitude of these discrepancies clearly indicates a great need for action. Only very few of the reporting countries have succeeded in narrowing the equity-gap between social groups. Social discrepancies continue to limit the opportunities of free movement.
  • Depending on the social make-up of the student population, the proportions of those student groups who face particular difficulties in their studies, e.g. students with children of their own or students with health impairments/disabilities, and who need special support in their studies on account of the double burden, also vary.
  • When it comes to efforts to promote educational mobility in Europe, foreign language proficiency plays a major role, as do the effects of social standing on mobility. Here, too, the findings demonstrate the need for explicit action on a European level.
Eurostudent Report 2005