From Dependence to Autonomy: A conceptual proposal based on the analysis of the living conditions of higher education students
EUROSTUDENT Researchers' Forum 2020
Our proposal for presentation is based on the analysis of the living conditions of higher education students, their possibilities of autonomy vis-à-vis their family of origin and the contribution of the state and paid work to their emancipation. Assuming that dependence on the family points to different societal and public support models in the European context, we seek to identify the patterns of family dependence regarding the weight of the family in income structure and housing conditions and which have been the national dynamics and arrangements regarding this dimension. This will make it possible to identify configurations of countries that point in different directions, sometimes to the prevalence of family dependency, sometimes to their own autonomy through payed work, or by state supported autonomy. These national patterns will also be internally differentiated, for instance, according to the students' age and their family (of origin), working and regional contexts. This will also allow us to discuss how the dependence on family resources affects their own academic experiences, such as those concerning internal mobility (in the case of students displaced from their family's residence and who may be in another region/city for study purposes), as in the case of students studying abroad. In-depth and systematic research on the living conditions of higher education students has revealed a great diversity in the empowerment of students. Such configurations may also gain expression from the point of view of expenses. For example, housing expenditure is highly dependent, apart from the region/city where they study, on the social and economic contexts of these students. Those with the highest housing expenses are the students who have a paid activity (where this is their main source of income), and already with a residential situation of greater autonomy of the family of origin and/or the state. Given the patterns of dependence and autonomy in the living conditions of higher education students in Europe, it will also be interesting to know how they perceive these conditions and their financial situation. There will also be an additional analysis on this, considering the consistency of the relationship, in comparative terms, between the stated living conditions, students' assessment of them and the type of autonomy or dependence of higher education students within the European framework.