10 January 2011 | Briefing

Impact of the economic crisis on European universities - 01/2011

The results of the continuous EUA monitoring of the crisis clearly show that European higher education systems have been affected very differently, which reflects to some extent the impact that the crisis has had on their respective national economies. Some countries, such as Norway and France for instance, have benefitted from stimulus packages provided by their governments at the beginning of the crisis, although these have not always been used to relieve the effects on teaching and research as core university activities.

Furthermore, European countries have been affected at different stages of the crisis. In some countries universities saw the impact of the crisis as early as the beginning of 2009 while others were affected only later or, in a few isolated cases, have only experienced little direct impact so far.

At the time of writing this report it has become clear however that the economic crisis has left few higher education systems unaffected. While institutions in most countries still report being faced with uncertainty and expect further - and possibly deeper - cuts to come in the forthcoming months and years, some countries, such as the United Kingdom, prove that cuts are likely to have a significant restructuring effect on higher education systems around Europe. As other governments struggle with austerity measures and balancing their deficits, the full extent of effects on higher education systems around Europe still remains to be seen. Furthermore, the cuts in public spending tend to hit higher education budgets with somewhat of a delay as a result of different budgeting periods, which will make further monitoring and in-depth analysis essential.

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