The educational mandate of universities in Germany is constricted to the short life span between high school graduation (Abitur) and career entry. This prevents an adequate response to the challenges of “lifelong learning”. This paper discusses the implied orientation of study programs towards ‚the normal student’ and describes the consequences of a lifelong learning perspective at universities, which acknowledges the diversity of students and offers respective programs. Furthermore the potential of e-learning within this context will be highlighted. It is a tool to make the organization of study more flexible and to create open programs for target groups with different requirements, i.e. for students with professional experience and employment. Additionally, the authors introduce the co-operative project „Study and Work: Aspects of Success of Lifelong Learning in Higher Education (STUBE)”, which is conducted within the educational research grant program of the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF). Here the participating universities develop and apply strategies to design study programs within the paradigm of lifelong learning.