EUROSTUDENT VI results: At least 72 % of students transition into higher education within two years after leaving school

Transition into higher education

The large majority of students in all countries enter higher education within two years of graduating from secondary school. However, up to 28% of students take longer than two years to transition into higher education after leaving school for the first time. Students who have delayed the transition into higher education in this way are on average older than their peers who transitioned directly. Such delayed transitions are also more common among students without higher education background and students with prior work experience before entering higher education. Higher shares of delayed transition students are also found among non-university students, students in the field of education (incl. teacher training), and low intensity students.


Moreover, across all countries, the share of delayed students is highest in the group of students who are dependent on own earnings, compared to those dependent on family contributions or student support. This might also be due to the fact that other income sources may not be available to them.

Breaks between degree programmes

On average, a third of Master students has had a transition period of more than a year between their previous study programme and their current Master programme. Depending on the country, this varies from around 10 % to up to two thirds of Master students.


More detailed EUROSTUDENT data indicate that breaks of more than 2 years between a previous programme and the current Master programme are reported particularly by non-university students, those without higher education background, and those having used an alternative access route for entry into higher education. Large shares of students with an at least 2-year delay between degree programmes (25 % and above) are found in the field of education (incl. teacher training); business, administration, and law; health and welfare; and services.

The duration of transitions within the higher education system appear to be related to those for transition into higher education: none of the countries with the highest shares of direct transitions into higher education register particularly high shares of long interruptions between Bachelor and Master studies, and vice versa.

More detailed EUROSTUDENT VI results and analyses can be found in:


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