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The Structure of the Federal Budget

Education and research – priority areas of Federal Government policy

Around 15.3 billion euros will be available for education and research in 2015. This represents another increase in the budget of the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF). It will be roughly 1.2 billion euros bigger than in 2014 – an increase of 8.7 percent. The fact that the BMBF budget has been increased yet again, even in a period of budgetary constrictions, demonstrates that education and research continue to be a major priority of the Federal Government.  

Starting in 2015, the Federal Government will fund all financial assistance provided to university and school students under the Federal Training Assistance Act (BAföG) on its own. Previously it had done so together with the Länder (the German states). This will permanently reduce the financial burden of the Länder by around 1.2 billion euros each year. This will provide them with the necessary financial leeway to fulfil their core education tasks particularly in the higher education sector.

A total of approximately 2.3 billion euros will be available in 2015 to provide BAföG financial assistance. Furthermore, the 25th amendment of the BAföG provides for increased entitlements as well as higher allowances for income and assets as of 2016. Thus, at the end of this legislative period, more young people will be entitled to BAföG assistance and so have the opportunity to achieve higher qualifications than at any time in the past 30 years.

Under Germany's Higher Education Pact, the Federal Government has provided the Länder with approximately 6 billion euros towards the funding of additional university places since 2007. Approximately 1.8 billion more will be provided in 2015 alone. Beyond that, the Federal Government will provide almost 10 billion euros for additional places up to 2023. This is part of the agreement of 11 December 2014 between Chancellor Merkel and the Minister-Presidents of the Länder for the continuation of the Higher Education Pact. Another 200 million euros will be invested in 2015 to improve study conditions and the quality of teaching in higher education under the Qualitätspakt Lehre (Quality Pact for Teaching). Meanwhile, 45 million euros is earmarked under the new national programme to improve the quality of training for school teachers known as the Qualitätsoffensive Lehrerbildung for 2015 alone; the total figure up to 2023 is 500 million euros.

Further priorities include the strengthening of vocational education and training, and support for disadvantaged children and youth. This is reflected, for example, in the provision of additional funds to strengthen lifelong learning which will be increased by 40 percent in 2015 to a total of around 240 million euros. Of this, some 12 million euros will be devoted to digital media in education. Considerably more funds than before are also earmarked for careers orientation measures and supporting intercompany training, amounting to a total of approximately 120 million euros.

A total of around 5.3 billion euros is being invested in institutional research funding. This includes a further 5 percent increase in funding for the research organizations involved in the Pact for Research and Innovation. As of 2016, the Federal Government will assume sole responsibility for the Pact's annual increase in funding.

The 2015 budget also provides for an increase in funding for research projects under the Federal Government's new High-Tech Strategy; for example, it provides 7 percent more funding for electronic systems as well as for production and service-sector research, work and skills development. Approximately 3 percent more funding is planned in 2015 for environmental technologies and basic research in the life sciences as well as for instruments of knowledge and technology transfer. There will be approximately 10 percent more BMBF project funding for targeted support of research at universities of applied sciences in 2015 than in 2014.

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© 09/04/2015 00:00 Bundesministerium für Bildung und Forschung