Moving Through and Moving Away

(Higher) Education Strategies of Hungarian Students


  • Rita Hordosy University of Nottingham
  • Eleonóra F. Szanyi

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The existence of persistent and entrenched inequalities within the Hungarian education system is revealed in international comparison, thereby highlighting the strong link between students’ socio-economic background and educational outcomes. University entry and progression are patterned on student background, with a lack of systematic and robust support for disadvantaged students. Drawing on two rounds of the Active Youth survey of full-time university students (in 2015 and in 2019), this paper explores the diverse educational and career strategies of young people. After giving an overview of tertiary participation in relation to socio-economic background, it explores the financial experiences of university students, pointing to the related difficulties and mitigation strategies. The paper also looks at future migration plans, including their aim, planned duration, and key push and pull factors. The results point to social closure, along with large differences in student experiences throughout university, with international student mobility remaining the privilege of more advantaged students. The lack of equitable student pathways into, through, and beyond Hungarian higher education correspond to several policy areas. One conclusion is that the financial support system needs to be made more effective through better targeting and the provision of sufficient funding for students in need.

Author Biographies

Rita Hordosy, University of Nottingham

Rita Hordósy is a Nottingham Research Fellow at the University of Nottingham. Her research interests revolve around social justice issues in education and post-compulsory education trajectories, with her current work focusing on the research / teaching nexus compared across European universities. Previously she was a lecturer at the University of Manchester and a post-doctoral researcher at the University of Sheffield, exploring the diverse experiences of becoming a university student.

Eleonóra F. Szanyi

Eleonóra Szanyi-F. is a social scientist, holds a Ph.D. from the Corvinus University of Budapest in Sociology. She is a former researcher of the Hungarian Institute for Educational Research and Development, and as an expert on youth and education, she was a member of the “Hungarian Youth 2016” research team between 2016 and 2019. Her main research interest is the young people’s transition to adulthood. 




How to Cite

Hordosy, R. and Szanyi, E.F. 2020. Moving Through and Moving Away: (Higher) Education Strategies of Hungarian Students. Intersections. East European Journal of Society and Politics. 6, 4 (Dec. 2020). DOI:



Active Youth? Trends of political participation in East Central Europe