Students from families with no academic experience are still underrepresented at German Universities, despite the fact that they obtain a university-entrance degree; they often take up another track of post-secondary education. What measures of educational policy could influence students to rather take up tertiary education than an alternative track? A new research project jointly conducted by DIW Berlin and WZB aims at answering this question.
The literature in education economics and education sociology identifies a variety of reasons why adolescents from non-academic families, who obtain a university-entrance degree (Abitur in German), decide against tertiary education. The research objective aims at determining educational policy measures that could lead adolescents to decide in favor of tertiary education. On the one hand decisions against tertiary education could depend on the potential lack of information on the benefits of university education compared to an apprenticeship, on how studies can be financed, and on how to apply for a desired university place. On the other hand students could decide against the take up of tertiary education for financial reasons, since studies are costly compared to apprenticeships for which the apprentice is paid. Against the background of these shortcomings, potential "counter measures" that could increase the take up rate of university education of adolescents from non-academic families should be determined.
The research objective will be analyzed for Berlin starting with a panel of pupils striving for a university-entrance degree before they graduate. These adolescents will be accompanied for at least five years using an online survey. In addition, the project aims at identifying how different admission policies of universities could influence adolescents' decision to pursue tertiary education.
The research project is funded by the Einstein-Stiftung Berlin. Two professors of the Free University Berlin and their teams, who are located at DIW Berlin and WZB, cooperate on this research objective. The field work is conducted by TNS Infratest Sozialforschung.
More information: www.best-up.eu