Education International
Education International

Downward trends in higher education funding in Europe

published 31 July 2013 updated 1 August 2013

The European University Association released the latest edition of its Public Funding Observatory report which monitors the impact of the economic crisis on universities and identifies trends in public funding to higher education institutions across Europe since 2008. The report is launched in tandem with a new interactive online tool which provides a range of data for 23 European systems.

The latest EUA update provides a new analysis of the pressures that many countries face in terms of funding for higher education institutions, in particular by taking account of the impact of inflation and changes in student numbers. The report confirms that while no system has been left completely unaffected by the crisis, there is still a risk of a widening gap in terms of university funding between different parts of Europe. Many countries in eastern and southern Europe still appear to be more affected by the crisis than many countries in northern and western Europe although there are notable exceptions.

In 2012-2013, out of the 17 systems where data was available, eight reported cuts which range from small cuts to up to 25% (Italy, Netherlands, Slovakia, Croatia, Portugal, UK – England and Wales, Greece, Hungary). On average, staff and infrastructures were the two areas most affected by cuts in public funding. The report also shows that when looking at the inflation-adjusted public funding figures only seven systems out of 20 have a better funding situation in 2012 than in 2008 (Germany, Norway, Sweden, Austria, Belgian French-speaking Community, France, Netherlands), while 13 systems have a lower funding level in 2012 than in 2008 (Croatia, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Czech Republic, Spain, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Iceland, Italy, Lithuania, United Kingdom – England and Wales).

The public funding observatory tool and report can be viewed here.