Go back

Higher education pays off for Germany, finds OECD survey

Germany gets an exceptionally good return on public higher education spending, according to an international survey by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development.

The OECD found that the return of public money, derived from spending, income and tax paid over a lifetime, is about $170,000 (€124,650). The sum is derived by subtracting Germany’s average higher education spending of $41,000 per student from the overall $210,000 of public income derived from a working person with a degree over their lifetime.

The total return on investment is nearly twice as high as the OECD average of $91,000 per student, the OECD said.

The OECD study, which compared 34 countries, found that higher education also pays off for individuals in Germany. The study showed that men could expect to earn 12 per cent more on average than those without degrees, while women can expect to earn 8 per cent more.

“A good education is the basis not only for economic, but also for social participation, so much is clear,” said Cornelia Quennet-Thielen, a state secretary at the German research and education ministry.

Germany’s spending on education increased from 8.6 per cent of the total public budget in 1995 to 10.4 per cent in 2008. This was above average for OECD countries, the ministry said.