High(er) Level Efforts – Studying for professional reorientation

Iris Schwarzenbacher, Jakob Hartl, Angelika Grabher-Wusche

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The Austrian higher education sector has unquestionably opened up to “non-traditional students” over the past two decades. But has it actually opened up or has it partitioned itself instead and thus continued the “channelling” of educational opportunities in the tertiary sector based on socioeconomic class? What is the reality of studying like and what are the actual circumstances for those who want to leave the beaten path and reorient themselves professionally via higher education? Do the high costs and multiple burdens have an impact on the choice of a study programme, its length and its success? Based on data including the Student Social Survey 2015 (Studierenden-Sozialerhebung 2015), this article shows that the students investigated do not appear to have equal access to all areas of the tertiary sector. For example, there are substantial differences between women and men, and a greater than average number of students reorienting themselves professionally can be found at universities of teacher education or at universities of applied sciences. The authors conclude that people reorienting themselves professionally are a highly vulnerable group not the least because of multiple (material) burdens. Universities could show that they take tertiary adult education seriously by focusing more strongly on this group and creating part-time programmes.
Translated title of the contributionHigh(er) Level Efforts – Studying for professional reorientation
Original languageGerman
Article number12
Number of pages9
JournalMagazin erwachsenenbildung.at
Issue number34
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2018


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