DSW: Questions for Bundestag parties

Bundestag (Lower House of Parliament) election: University social pact, BAföG, pandemic studies – this is what the parties want

  • Deutsches Studentenwerk (DSW) poses five higher education policy questions to the current Bundestag parties
  • University social pact, BAföG, pandemic studies, internationalization
  • Answers of the parties in a DSW overview
  • SPD, Grüne and Linke clearly in favor of a federal offensive for student housing
  • Grüne, Linke and FDP want to make BAföG independent of parents
  • DSW President Rolf-Dieter Postlep: "All parties give high priority to social infrastructure"

Berlin, 20 August 2021
: CDU/CSU and FDP parliamentary groups have reserved their position on the central political demand of the student unions for a federal/state university social pact to expand dormitory and dining hall capacities, pointing to the responsibility of the states. SPD, Grüne and Linke, on the other hand, want to provide massive support for student housing at the federal level. This is the result of election test questions for the Bundestag elections, which Deutsches Studentenwerk (DSW) is presenting today.

DSW, the association of 57 student unions, asked the six parties currently represented in the German Bundestag these five questions:

  • Does your party (...) support the demand of the student and student unions for a federal/state university social pact in the amount of 3.5 billion euros, including for pandemic-related modernization of their dormitories and dining halls? If so, how?
  • What concrete need do you see for reform or change in BAföG?
  • What are your goals in university policy in the coming years?
  • What do you think the German university system will look like when the coronavirus pandemic is under control or even over?
  • The federal and state governments are recruiting foreign students; they need affordable housing and counseling. What does your party want to do about it?

Except for the AfD, all parties in Bundestag have answered these questions.

SPD supports the call for a university social pact; it writes: "We want to create additional 100,000 dormitory places by 2030." Die Linke also supports a university social pact; it wants to create 50,000 new dormitory places and set up a federal program with 1.5 billion euros annually. Grüne announce an "offensive for student housing."CDU/CSU parliamentary group points to the responsibility of the federal states, as does FDP. The latter adds, however, that it is open to talks "about the financial participation of the federal government''.

With regard to BAföG, all five current parliamentary groups in Bundestag see a need for action, although with significantly different emphases: CDU/CSU and SPD are more or less in favor of improvements within the existing framework of BAföG, with SPD wanting to merge BAföG with Aufstiegs-BAföG. Die Grünen, die Linke and FDP go far beyond this in their ideas: die Grünen have in mind a "parent-independent basic support for all students and trainees"; FDP wants a "parent-independent modular BAföG", and die Linke a "needs-based, parent-independent BAföG as a full subsidy".

DSW President Prof. Dr. Rolf-Dieter Postlep comments: "The programs of the parties on the subject of student financing and BAföG are quite different. It is not surprising that CDU/CSU and FDP continue to be critical of federal participation or co-financing of the social infrastructure via a university social pact. I am pleased that the three other parties have a decidedly different view. Overall, I think it is remarkable that all parties place a high value on social infrastructure".

DSW university policy election touchstones for Bundestag elections: Abridged answers of the parties at a glance:

When will a university social pact come? Analysis of the parties' election programs for Bundestag elections in the current DSW Journal 2/2021, starting on page 18:

This press release online:

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