Although Germany has invested in the higher education sector, which led to an increase in the share of students entering college, Germany still ranks closer to the bottom among OECD countries when it comes to social mobility. Still only 62 percent of college-eligible students whose parents have no more than vocational training enroll in college compared to 81 percent of their peers who have a least one parent with college degree. This research project jointly conducted by DIW Berlin and WZB aimed at investigating what drives this “education gap” and whether information about college benefits and costs might be relevant to narrow this gap. The literature in education economics and education sociology identifies among others financial constraints and missing information as two important reasons why students from non-college families, who obtain a college-entrance degree (Abitur in German), do not enroll in tertiary education. The research objective of this project is to determine educational policy measures that could affect students decision making in favor of tertiary education. This study sheds light on whether the provision of information in a randomized controlled trial with more than 1,000 German high school students results in higher college enrollment rates. We collected data from students prior to the information intervention and followed them for at least four consecutive years.
Other project participants: Frauke Peter, Alessandra Rusconi, Martin Ehlert, Claudia Finger, Johanna Storck, Vaishali Zambre