EUA presents latest data on university funding

20 March 2019

EUA has launched the latest edition of its Public Funding Observatory, which offers information on 33 different higher education systems across Europe. The data is presented in a report and an online interactive tool that is updated annually. EUA has also published individual country reports.

The latest edition of the Public Funding Observatory categorises countries into three different areas over the period 2008-2017: systems with sustained growth in funding, systems with sustained funding decreases and those showing improvements.

Some key findings include:

  • of 16 systems with higher funding, only six have enough to match student enrolment rates;
  • 17 systems had lower levels of funding, with five experiencing larger student numbers;
  • nine countries fail to re-invest in universities even though they have positive GDP growth;
  • eight countries re-invested but for half it is not enough to address the cumulated funding gap;
  • recovery appears solid in two countries that are now exceeding 2008-funding levels.

“As there are signs of recovery, it is crucial not only to re-invest in universities, but to efficiently manage funding at all levels,” explains Thomas Estermann, EUA Director of Governance, Funding and Public Policy Development. “Not only is more funding needed, both at the EU level and at national level, it is also key to simplify funding schemes and foster alignment of funder practices.”

EUA has been following the evolution of public funding to universities since the 2008 financial crisis. The study reveals that since then, the divide between higher education systems that increase public funding, and those that reduce investment, is getting wider. It also shows that any recovery that can now be detected is slow and fragile.

The monitoring is conducted in close cooperation with EUA’s collective members, the national rectors’ conferences, which regularly provide extensive funding data from their countries.

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