Widening access to higher education with the aim of creating more social equality (or at least equal opportunities for everyone) is a long-term goal in the higher education policy of the Federal Republic of Germany. Several reforms starting in the 1960s have tried to achieve this aim by establishing new universities and funding regimes, for example introducing a student loan system (‘BAföG’) for students from families with low income or the abolition of tuition fees. As a result, we can speak about a ‘Bildungsexpansion’ (education expansion), because there are more young people in higher education in Germany than ever before. The number of the graduates has also reached record highs. Despite these achievements, access to higher education still reflects social inequalities: There are still 3.3 times more students in higher education who are children of academics than students from a non-academic background (BMBF, 2013). This chapter asks whether German widening access policies have led to greater social equality? The answer: The education expansion has mainly benefited socially advantaged groups from a middle-class background, especially women. Therefore, especially for young men from disadvantaged migrant families with a low income, access to higher education is still very difficult to attain. The experiences of the German reforms clearly show that widening access to higher education has the potential to increase social mobility and to create more social equality, but to achieve this goal there are far more policy measures needed especially policies for direct support (like ‘BAföG’) and encouragement of socially disadvantaged groups.
Óhidy, A. (2018), "Widening Participation in Higher Education: Policies and Outcomes in Germany", Riddell, S., Minty, S., Weedon, E. and Whittaker, S. (Ed.) Higher Education Funding and Access in International Perspective (Great Debates in Higher Education), Emerald Publishing Limited, pp. 163-183. https://doi.org/10.1108/978-1-78754-651-620181009Download as .RIS
Emerald Publishing Limited
Copyright © 2018 Emerald Publishing Limited