Success in the university admission process in Germany: Regional provenance matters

Sebastian Braun*, Nadja Dwenger

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    9 Citations (Scopus)


    School education in Germany is under the responsibility of the federal states and as a consequence average grades differ widely across regions. Since school leavers apply nationwide for admission to university, regional provenance may thus matter a lot for the success probability in the admission process. Using a comprehensive dataset of the German central clearing house for university admissions in 2006/2007, we show that success rates indeed differ dramatically between federal states, provided that grades are not made comparable across state boundaries. Most of the variation in success can be explained by state-level differences in grading. By defining quotas for federal states and restricting competition among applicants to the state-level, the link between state-level grading and success rates in the university admission process can be broken.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)71-80
    Number of pages10
    JournalHigher Education Academy
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - Jul 2009


    • Admission to university
    • Central clearing house
    • Federal education system
    • Federalism
    • Germany


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