Leuphana opens new paths into Higher Education

Education Ministry approves new Funding

Lüneburg. Leuphana University Lüneburg will use a distinctly new project to encourage schoolchildren from families with underprivileged educational backgrounds to pursue a university education. The Lower Saxony Ministry for Education and Culture has now pledged almost 400,000 Euros for the university’s plans.  Increasing participation in education as well as providing equal access to educational opportunities are the driving forces behind the Ministry’s funding program: “Opening Paths to Education - Winning over first-generation Students.” Nineteen universities applied in response to the public call for proposals - seven were ultimately successful. Leuphana applied with its project: “Piloting into Education! Piloting through Education!” It aims to build up an extensive infrastructure for providing information, advising, and support that can smooth the academic path for school children whose parents did not attend university.

The project’s initiators in Leuphana College developed the idea together with university facilities such as the writing workshop, the video editing team, the Center for Excellence in University Didactics of Mathematics, and the Center for the Future of Teacher Education. They want to ease first-generation students’ path from high school to the university, as well as their entry into subsequent phases of higher academic education. Schoolchildren will thus be paired up with university students, who will help pilot them through the educational system. The first step will be to enhance the capabilities of these youths for university study. This process will be initiated through a targeted information campaign in intermediate, comprehensive, and vocational schools. Next university students, who serve in the schools as “educational pilots,” will encourage the high school students and build their enthusiasm for a university education. Afterwards, they will be offered individual sample courses, so that they can get their first impression of university life.

The university will also help the schoolchildren make decisions about their education by analyzing their strengths and interests and by offering support through workshops and advising sessions. This mentoring will continue also during the first phase of their studies: experienced students, who are first-generation academics themselves, will guide the newcomers and help them enter into the university world.
In formulating this project, Leuphana received invaluable cooperation from the Student Union of East Lower Saxony and the Federal Employment Agency. The Student Union will contribute its know-how in questions related to educational financing, housing and social life, while the Agency for Employment in Lüneburg-Uelzen will be especially involved in offering occupational orientation and informational events.

The majority of the funding grant will be applied to cover the personnel costs during the project’s three-year span. The grant recipients are confident that the newly built structures and networks can be maintained even after the grant period ends and that future first-generation students, therefore, will continue to have a vital resource available to them when making decisions about a potential university education.