Baden-Württemberg’s universities and universities of applied sciences are concerned about their future viability: A new agreement now under negotiation is set to replace the current higher education funding agreement in January 2021 – potentially exacerbating their already difficult financial situation. In a joint statement, they therefore demand that the annual three-percent increase included in the current higher education funding agreement be continued as a permanent part of the universities’ core funding. They also call for an increase in basic funding for all universities of at least 1000 euros per student and year. One of the main objectives of this increase in funding is to cover the structural budgetary deficits caused by rising operating costs for university buildings and to simultaneously increase the universities’ budgets for meeting their core responsibilities in research, teaching, and transfer. Another key challenge they call attention to is the digitalization of research, teaching, and administration. This also requires additional funding that is essential to ensure the future viability of Baden-Württenberg’s universities and universities of applied sciences.
The University of Freiburg emphatically supports these urgent demands. As the universities and universities of applied sciences emphasize in their joint statement, the general conditions for students, researchers, and members of administrative, service, and technical staff have steadily deteriorated in the past years: The universities have been forced to cope with the increases in student enrollment primarily by offering temporary programs and taking on additional burdens – and yet the Standing Conference of the State Ministers of Education and Cultural Affairs predicts that the demand for places for admission at Baden-Württemberg’s higher education institutions will remain high in the coming decade. Without needs-based funding, the universities and universities of applied sciences would thus be forced in 2021 at the latest to roll back their services, accept lower quality standards, and possibly even cut places for admission on a large scale.
“The universities and universities of applied sciences are the driving force of Baden-Württemberg as a center for innovation and business,” stresses Prof. Dr. Hans-Jochen Schiewer, rector of the University of Freiburg. “But they need adequate funding to meet their core responsibilities in teaching, research, and transfer. Ensuring that they receive needs-based funding in the long term is essential for the future viability of the state as a whole.”
Joint press release of the State Rectors’ Conference of Baden-Württemberg’s Research Universities and Baden-Württemberg’s Universities of Applied Sciences