Dieter Dohmen

Dieter Dohmen

Hall of Fame Class of 2019

Dieter Dohmen has worked in all sectors of lifelong learning, from early to adult learning with its intersections to innovation, the labor market, demography, and social aspects.

As one of the few researchers to address the difficult issue of financing for adult education, he has been part of several German, European as well as world-wide projects to research this often-neglected issue. His comparative work related to the costs of education for adult learners in countries throughout Europe led to new insights regarding the different financial resources available to adult students. As a result, he was asked by the European Union to carry out comprehensive studies of the current financial support for adult education in all European states.

Dohmen has published more than 180 articles, and his research has provided empirical evidence that formalized forms of adult learning have a positive correlation with innovation and economic growth, particularly if linked to learning in the workplace. This research provides a solid, economic justification for public support to adult learning, while simultaneously advocating for learning-friendly working environments from employers.

He has developed innovative funding schemes, including a module-oriented funding scheme for higher education, the study credit model, which allows a flexible approach to individual studying pathways, without harming those pursuing part-time studies and holding institutions accountable for high-quality programs.

In 2006, he developed a training voucher scheme that was introduced for the financing of further professional education in Germany. With the concept of an Education Investment Fund, he introduced the concept of social impact funding as a model of public-private partnership to the financing of education. A similar concept, the graduate contribution, relates the individual financing of higher education to individual returns, a fair and just cost-sharing model, that allows institutions to flexibly adjust the payments for higher education to individual living conditions.

Dohmen is the founder, owner, and managing director of FiBS Forschungsinstitut für Bildungs-und Sozialökonomie—the Research Institute for the Economics of Education and Social Affairs, in Berlin.