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This month, the German Student Services provider – Deutsches Studentenwerk (DSW) - has published the results of its 20th Social Survey, which explores how students in German higher education live, work, and study. In 2012, when this study was conducted, there were around 2.5 million students enrolled in German higher education institutions, which was a record high of 55% of the same-age entrants to higher education in the country’s institutions. The survey was conducted on a sample of 15 128 students via a questionnaire covering various aspects of student life. The 20th Social Survey focuses on ‘first-degree students’, who are in the study defined as follows:
“Students who have not yet completed a degree program are considered first-degree students. In addition, students whose first degree was a bachelor’s degree and who are currently enrolled in a master’s program are also regarded as first-degree students. The deciding factor is whether their degree program qualifies for assistance under the BAföG on the basis of continuation of the initial course of study at an institution of higher education (Section 7 [1a]) of the BAföG). Students with no academic degree who have been admitted to a master’s program based on their professional qualifications are also considered to be first-degree students.”
This study is among the many to confirm the relevance of parents’ educational background: 77 out of 100 children make it to university if their parents have an academic background. In families without academic education, this figure drops significantly - to only 23%. When it comes to further studies, nearly two-thirds of the students who decide to pursue doctoral degrees come from families with academic backgrounds (65 %), while more than half of those are from families where both parents hold academic degrees (36 %).
The DSW studies, conducted every third year (the previous one was in 2009), aim to support higher education policy making by providing a comprehensive account of the student experience - from housing to finances, family situation, cultural background and many other relevant factors that influence and make part of students’ lives in German higher education.
20th Social Survey (English, PDF)
Foreign students in Germany 2012 special report (English, PDF)