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Future funding for universities in Germany has been an important topic of discussion during the last months. In late October, the federal level and the Länder agreed on a new funding package for higher education and research worth EUR 25.3 billion until the year 2020. The budget decision still needs to be approved by the Federal- and Länder governments.
The new measure is based on the existing joint federal and state programmes: the University Pact, launched in 2007 to cope with the student surge, the Pact for Research and Innovation, introduced in 2006 to support non-university research, and the Excellence Initiative, which was started in 2006-07 to boost excellence in university research.
In view of the continuously rising number of university enrolments, part of the financial package is intended for additional study places. By 2020, 760000 additional study places are planned to be created with the aim of guaranteeing each prospective first-year student a study place. Additionally, it is foreseen that each university receives a fixed amount of EUR 13000 per new first-year student. Among others, this support is linked to the objectives of reducing dropout rates. Also, major non-university research institutions are entitled to an additional 3% - 5% funding. Finally, the Excellence Initiative, which at first received EUR 470 million of annual funding and has been successively raised to EUR 530 million, will be continued beyond its original expiry date of 2017, maintaining the current funding.