CHE predicts that the rush of new students is here to stay

CHE Consult was commissioned by the CHE Centre for Higher Education to conduct model calculations on the development of the demand for higher education. The number of students starting university will remain at more than 425,000 each year up until 2050, which is far higher than 2005 levels. As a consequence, the CHE Centre for Higher Education considers it to be a national responsibility to undertake a long-term, reliable reform of higher education funding beyond the present Higher Education Pact.

In 2005, the number of new students starting university in Germany was around 350,000 each year. Nowadays, approximately half a million people embark on higher education every year. Although the number of first-year students will decline by 2050, following a period of fluctuation, the figure will no longer fall below the 425,000 mark. The predicted levels are based on the assumption that the population will remain equally keen to study. Should even more people choose higher education over other forms of training and education, then the number of university entrants will be even higher.

It is a national responsibility to fund these high student levels; they can no longer be tackled with a temporary Higher Education Pact, concludes CHE Executive Director Jörg Dräger: “You can’t keep renegotiating funding every few years for a boom in student numbers that lasts longer than 40 years.” Funding under the Higher Education Pact had to be made permanent in order to guarantee the long-term, reliable financing of places in the entire higher education system.

In the basic model of the conducted model calculations on the development of the demand for higher education, the number of new students in the federal states was predicted based solely on assumptions on the demographic development of age groups and international students. In this case, the authors assumed that other conditions, such as the propensity to study, would remain the same. In their scenario model, they additionally simulated developments up to 2050 in the case of a moderate increase in the propensity to study.

The study entitled “Auf dem Hochplateau der Studiennachfrage: Was kommt danach? Modellrechnungen zur Entwicklung der Studienanfängerzahlen bis zum Jahr 2050“ (On the high plateau of demand for higher education: what comes after that? Model calculations on the development of levels of new students up to 2050) was written by Thimo von Stuckrad, Christian Berthold and Tim Neuvians. The publication is part of the CHE priority theme “Higher education is becoming the norm”.




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