The Higher Education Pact 2020 aims to strengthen universities and other higher education institutions on a long-term basis. After all, high numbers of young people are likely to begin degree courses in coming years. Furthermore, universities will face increasingly strong international competition and therefore need to raise their profile in research. That is why the Federal Government and the German states are supporting universities in developing their study programmes and making stronger contributions to the indirect costs of research projects. Funding is also explicitly being allocated to measures that lead to more students successfully completing their courses. An additional goal is to open higher education up to people who have gained vocational or professional qualifications.
38.5 billion euros by 2023
In total, the Federal Government will make 20.2 billion euros available for the Higher Education Pact by 2023 (from 2007). The German states will supplement this with a total of 18.3 billion euros. Accordingly, the Higher Education Pact will provide roughly 38.5 billion euros for the expansion and improvement of courses at German higher education institutions.
The three pillars of the pact
In what is now its third phase, which lasts until 2023, all three pillars of the Higher Education Pact will be strengthened:
- Expansion in higher education places
In coming years, the Federal Government and the German states will jointly fund up to 760,000 additional higher education places (compared to 2005). For this purpose, the Federal Government alone will spend some 10 billion euros by 2023. The states will commit funding of a comparable amount and thereby guarantee the overall funding.
- Increased research funding
Research will also be strengthened: so-called programme allowances will be paid for new research projects approved by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG) until 2020. This means that DFG funding will be topped up by 22 per cent to finance the indirect costs of research projects. As a result, universities will have access to an additional total sum of over 4.5 billion euros in the years 2007 to 2020.
- Quality Pact for Teaching
The Quality Pact for Teaching is the third pillar of the Higher Education Pact. It has been supporting universities in student counselling and the improvement of the quality of teaching since 2011. The Federal Government is making available roughly 2 billion euros for this purpose until 2020.