one survey - for all

The student survey for higher education institutions

This nationally representative student survey combines various student surveys that were previously conducted separately under one roof: the Social Survey (Sozialerhebung, since 1951), the Student Survey (Studierendensurvey, since 1982), EUROSTUDENT (since 2000) and Studying with Impairments (beeinträchtigt studieren, since 2006). This has the advantage of reducing the survey density at higher education institutions; at the same time, it provides a representative data basis for educational reporting and research. Higher education institutions are the central partners for the success of the survey. For this large-scale student survey, it is necessary to invite every third student to take part in the survey online in the summer semester of 2021. In order for this project to succeed, we rely on your support, especially when it comes to approaching students.


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    In the future, the nationwide student survey will take place every four years. It covers a broad range of topics, from the social and economic situation (formerly known as the social survey), to health impairments of students, to challenges and general conditions in the course of studies, to career prospects and social values. The long-standing expertise of the participating institutions (DZHW, DSW, AG Hochschulforschung of the University of Constance) allows for a comprehensive and time-comparative examination of the topics relevant to students, higher education institutions, politics and science.

    The benefit for participating higher education institutions lies in the exclusive access to the data collected at your institutions, which can form the basis for study organization and evidence-based quality management, among other things. In addition, you will have access to the project-related publications (educational reporting). At the same time, researchers at your institutions can use the data for their own research purposes (Research Data Centre).

    The results are highly relevant for society, science, business and politics. For this reason, the study is funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) and supported by the Standing Conference of the Ministers of Education and Cultural Affairs of the Länder in the Federal Republic of Germany (KMK) and the German Rectors' Conference (HRK).

This is what the student survey is about

One survey - many topics


Social and economic conditions

  • Gender, origin, and migration
  • Family and health situation
  • Employment and financial situation
  • Housing
  • and other topics

Studies and study conditions

  • Study organisation and conditions
  • Study requirements in the digital semester
  • Internationalisation and digitalisation
  • Performances and acquisition of competences
  • and other topics

Attitudes and participation

  • Career and life goals
  • Equal opportunities
  • Free speech
  • political orientations
  • social and political involvement
  • and other issues

Education and career paths

  • Previous educational biography
  • Study progression, transfers and dropout
  • Study planning and success
  • Vocational and career planning
  • and other topics

One survey - many advantages

This is why participation is worthwhile for higher education institutions

You gain access to the your institution's own data within the framework of a password-protected data portal and you can use this data for internal quality management.

The researchers at your institutions can use the data for their own research purposes.

The comprehensive presentation and analysis of the student situation makes the concerns of students heard in higher education policy.

The situation of higher education institutions in Germany is made accessible to a broad public through educational reporting.

More than 250 higher education institutions are already participating. That is over 84% of all enrolled students.

Contact us
  • "The student survey in Germany is valuable for everyone involved: higher education institutions, students, research, education policy makers and student service organisations – the Studierendenwerke."

    Anja Karliczek
    Federal Minister of Education and Research
  • "The findings obtained in this student survey provide an essential basis for science-based education reporting."

    Prof. Dr. Kai Maaz
    Director at the DIPF | Leibniz Institute for Research and Information in Education
  • "As a former university president, I cordially invite all higher education institutions in Germany to participate in the student survey. If nothing else, the results provide a basis for the development of your own institution."

    Prof. Dr. Rolf-Dieter Postlep
    President of the German National Association for Student Affairs (DSW), former President of the University of Kassel
  • "One for all" is not just a motto, but a programme: data from the integrated student survey serves all stakeholders, students, higher education institutions, researchers and higher education policy."

    Prof. Dr. Monika Jungbauer-Gans
    Scientific Director DZHW
  • "One for all: the new, integrated student survey lives up to its claim because it shows politicians, the public, and higher education institutions in an empirically valid way how students are doing in Germany and how they think."

    Achim Meyer auf der Heyde
    Secretary General of the German National Association for Student Affairs (DSW)
  • "All for one and one for all. The survey will give students a voice - we should all stand together for that."

    Prof. Dr. Jutta Allmendinger
    President of the Berlin Social Science Center (WZB)
  • "Your voice will be heard - you can influence the study conditions in Germany. If you should take part in only one survey, then take part in this one!"

    Louisa Kruczek
    is a student at the University of Applied Sciences in Weihenstephan-Triesdorf, a member of the student council there and on the board of the student service organisations in Erlangen-Nuremberg and DSW
  • "I cordially invite higher education institutions to get involved in this important student survey; the data obtained is also of great value to the institutions themselves."

    Prof. Dr. Peter-André Alt
    President of the German Rectors' Conference (HRK)
  • "Take the time for this important, nationwide student survey if you are invited. You will help to communicate the situation of students to politicians and the public."

    Philipp Schulz
    is a student of Industrial Engineering at RWTH Aachen University, Vice-Chairman of the Administrative Board of the student service organisation (STW) in Aachen, Vice-Chairman of the Board of Directors of the German National Association for Student Affairs

    one survey - simple procedure

    Please note these dates

    November 2020

    If you do not yet participate, you will receive an invitation from us in which we ask for your participation.

    March 2021

    Take part! Register your higher education institutions for participation.

    April 2021

    Random samples are selected with the support from DZHW.

    May 2021

    Each and every third student is invited to participate in the survey. E-Mailing students will start in May 2021.

    May to September 2021

    The field phase is underway!

    End of 2021 until mid 2022

    Be excited. Data processing and data analysis begins in late 2021. The results are processed for the higher education institutions, student services, science, society and politics.

    one survey - extensive expert reports

    Partner institutions involved

    The consolidation and integration of the various studies on the "Student Survey in Germany" is carried out by the German Centre for Higher Education Research and Science Studies (DZHW) in cooperation with the Research Group on Higher Education (AG Hochschulforschung) of the University of Constance and the German National Association for Student Affairs (DSW) and is funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF).

    • DZHW

      The German Centre for Higher Education Research and Science Studies (DZHW) is a research institute funded by the German federal and state governments and based in Hanover. As an international centre of excellence for higher education and science research, DZHW conducts data surveys and analyses, produces research-based services for higher education and science policy, and makes its own and external data sets available to the scientific community via a research data centre. In the field of student research, DZHW has been conducting various surveys since 1976 and can draw on many years of expertise with regard to both methodological and content-related issues related to studying.

    • Research Group on Higher Education at University of Constance

      From 1982 to 2016, the Research Group on Higher Education at University of Constance (AG Hochschulforschung Universität Konstanz) conducted the former Student Survey, a regular nationwide survey funded by BMBF at higher education institutions on the topics of study situation and student orientations. Results provide a basis for higher education policy, the quality management of participating institutions and for public discussion on the one hand, and on the other hand for scientific work in higher education research. Within the study "The Student Survey in Germany", the Research Group is responsible for analysing three topics: social and study-related attitudes towards fairness, political orientations of students, and transitions to studies on the Bachelor's and Master's and doctoral level.

    • DSW

      The German National Association for Student Affairs (Deutsches Studentenwerk (DSW) is the association of the 57 public student services organisations in Germany - the Studierenden- or Studentenwerke - or STWs in short. The STW provide student services such as dining services, halls of residence, the Federal Financial Aid (BAföG), psychological and social counselling services, childcare as well as special services for international students and students with disabilities. DSW first developed and conducted a social survey on the economic and social situation of students in 1951, and established the social survey as a regular student analysis of student life. For more than 70 years, the social surveys DSW have drawn a realistic picture of the social and economic situation of students. The Social Survey is one of the most important and largest educational studies in Germany.