The EUROSTUDENT topics cover many relevant areas related to students’ lives, focusing on their social and economic conditions. In this way, important information to assess the social dimension of higher education in Europe is provided.

Characteristics of national student populations

EUROSTUDENT collects information on students’ characteristics, including age, family status, sex, migration background, and impairments. This information helps to paint a picture of the diversity of student populations in Europe, which vary greatly on many of these characteristics. For example, the average age between the two countries with the youngest and oldest student population in the last EUROSTUDENT round differs by almost eight years!

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Socio-economic background

Information on the educational and financial background of students’ parents allows us to investigate to which extent educational inequalities related to these aspects exist in EUROSTUDENT countries. How are students’ background characteristics related to their study choices? EUROSTUDENT VI has shown that in many countries, differences between students with and without higher education background can be found with regard to their choice of institution, degree programme, study abroad intentions, and more.

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Transition into and within higher education

Analysing the different access pathways and transition routes into higher education in the different countries of the European Higher Education Area gives insight into the degree of openness in the systems. How many students have taken an extended break between leaving school and entering higher education? To what extent are alternative routes into higher education, such as recognition of competences, used? EUROSTUDENT data on allow looking at these and similar questions for different types of students. EUROSTUDENT data also features transitions between first- and second level programmes.

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Types and modes of study

Several different aspects are covered under this topics heading. One the one hand, simple information on the enrolment into different degree programmes (short-cycle, Bachelor, Master, etc.), fields of study, types of higher education institutions, and formal study status (part-time vs. full time) provides an overview as well as a backdrop for other analyses. On the other hand, subjective evaluations of study quality and information on study interruptions, as well as the reasons behind them, give insights into students’ assessment of their study situation.

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Students’ time budget

How much time do students spend in lectures, studying, and working in the EUROSTUDENT countries, and how satisfied are they with their time use? Weekly time use for different student groups can be investigated under this topic heading. Of particular interest is the relationship between the time students are able to spend on their studies and the time they spend working in paid jobs. Previous results, for instance, show that an increase in time spent on paid work is associated with time spent on studies.

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Students’ employment

A closer look at students’ paid work can be taken under this topic heading. How many students are in gainful employment? What are the reasons for working? And how much do students earn? Questions such as these, as well as many others, can be analyses by drawing on EUROSTUDENT data on this topic.

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Students’ resources

The different income sources available to students (public support, parental support, transfers in kind, self-earned) are analysed in this topic. How much income do students have available? Which sources do students draw on to finance their studies? The findings show different models and patterns of study financing across Europe. EUROSTUDENT also shows to which extent students are currently experiencing financial difficulties – in the past round, these affected around a quarter of students seriously or very seriously.

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Students’ expenses

To complement data on students’ income in the previous topic, EUROSTUDENT also collects information on the main expenses of students. How are students spending their money? Of particular interest are the questions of accommodation costs and study fees.

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Housing situation

Students’ housing situation is quite varied across Europe and depends to a large part on on students’ age. While a majority of students lives with their parents in many countries, other forms of housing, such as student accommodation, living with friends/in shared accommodation, or living with a partner and/or children of course also occur. Besides looking at the different forms of accommodation, EUROSTUDENT data also provides information on students’ assessment and satisfaction with their living situation.

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Cross-national student mobility

Student mobility has long been a focus topic of EUROSTUDENT. Besides information on different types of mobility experiences students have had during the course of their studies (e.g. duration, destination, funding, organisation, etc.), EUROSTUDENT also investigates reasons for not going abroad during studies by asking students about the obstacles they face. In the current EUROSTUDENT round, detailed data on internships abroad will be available for the first time.

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Future plans and assessment

Because EUROSTUDENT surveys students directly, the available data reflect not only statistical facts, but additionally offer insight into students’ assessment of their current and future situation. Throughout the topics, we strive to incorporate students’ perspective on the topics of relevance directly, e.g. by asking them to rate quality aspects of their studies or inviting them to indicate their satisfaction with the amount of support they receive. In this way, EUROSTUDENT hopes to provide a multi-dimensional view of the social and economic conditions of students’ lives.

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