Tag: cost-sharing

News: New report on impact of cost-sharing

fee_studyAt a time when various models of cost-sharing have been introduced in many higher education systems and yet more are considering such measures, the impact of changes in cost-sharing is an important question. The EU funded a study conducted by DZHW and HESA to examine these questions, with nine case studies on countries like Austria, Canada, UK-England, Finland, Germany, Hungary, Poland, Portugal and South Korea.

The central question for the report is formulated as: “Do changes in cost-sharing have an impact on the behaviour of students and higher education institutions?” The study examines net costs for students (incl also living costs), and the changing balance of revenues in the budgets of higher education institutions. The key findings include the following:

In the case studies examined, introduction of cost-sharing increased overall system incomes and did not lead to substantial decrease in public funding, with the exception of financial crisis (Canada) or other extraordinary situations (i.e massive enrollment growth in Poland). It should be noted that he most recent reform in England was not included in the study due to its recent nature.

It was also highlighted that income from tuition fees does not always lead to better student experience as student-staff ratios rose despite increased revenues. Instead, the cases examined in the report showed that extra revenue was in many cases used up by expanding enrollments, administrative costs, or even subsidising research activities.

Student blogger: Potential pathways towards more diversified funding in Ghana

Palmah A. Howusu

Palmah A. Howusu

This guest entry is written by Palmah A. Howusu who is now a second year Master student at the Hedda Master Programme in Higher Education. Palmah is from Ghana and has earlier worked as a teacher in Ghana for over ten years. Furthermore, she holds a bachelors degree in Psychology. In this entry, she writes about the  problems with current funding system in Ghana and suggest some potential alternative solutions to diversify funding of higher education in Ghana. 

Governments all over the world are finding it difficult to continue funding higher education and Africa is the most affected since the majority of her support is from donor countries. This makes the questions of how to diversify university funding especially important.

In Ghana, higher education consists of eight universities, ten polytechnics and other professional institutions. Admission into higher education institutions is determined by students’ performance at the Senior Secondary School Certificate Examination (SSSCE). Higher education was traditionally free in Ghana and qualified students were entitled to free boarding and lodging. Nevertheless, the trend has changed in the past 30 years as the government has not been able to meet the financial needs of the modern university hence reducing its subsidies. The government considered several steps towards adjusting the financial structure of the higher education system: public-private partnership, increasing the number of public universities, and in 1997, cost sharing was introduced.

Financing of higher education was divided between the Government (70 per cent) and the remaining 30 percent was divided among three sources (university internally generated revenue, students’ tuition fees and private donations). Academic facility user fees of ($60-$220), residential facility user fees and hall dues were $130 and $25 respectively in 2011/2012 academic year. These fees were introduced at a minimal level but are being increased as the years go by. Consequently, students who were living in university housing pay both while those off campuses pay non-residential facility user fees of about $19. Though it is only 10% of the total university cost that was shifted to students and parents, many people were not in favour of cost sharing leading to students’ riots in the 90s. However, by now the fees are seen as a ‘necessary evil’.

Guest blogger: The future higher education funding settlement – cost-sharing versus public/private substitution

Dr. Vincent Carpentier (Institute of Education, University of London)

Dr. Vincent Carpentier is Reader in History of Education at the Institute of Education, University of London. He is the Programme Leader of the MA in Higher and Professional Education and Associate Editor of the London Review of Education. His comparative research on the historical relationship between educational systems, long economic cycles and social change is located at the interface of economic history, history of education and political economy. His recent publications include Global Inequalities and Higher Education, Whose Interests Are We Serving? (Palgrave MacMillan, 2010 – co-edited with Elaine Unterhalter) and articles in various academic journals. More about his publications here.

This piece draws on the article ‘Public-Private Substitution in Higher Education: Has Cost-Sharing Gone Too Far?, Higher Education Quarterly, 66(4), 363-390, 2012.

Debates on the alternative ways of funding higher education should lead to reflect on the nature and the aim(s) of higher education. This is especially the case during crisis times which invite us to question the increasing competition between the social, political, cultural and economic rationales behind changes in higher education policies and institutional practices. How can we keep a balance between learning for its own sake and professionalisation? Is higher education a public, private or mixed good? A reflection on those issues can best be informed by interdisciplinary insights.

The principles by which a society defines what higher education is (or should be) have a strong practical impact on the design and implementation of higher education funding settlement. Key questions should be considered here. How do governments manage (or struggle) to articulate policies regarding funding, equity and quality? Who pays and who benefits from higher education? What are the implications of the rise of private funding such as fees and the emergence of private provision? What are the financial and non financial barriers to access, participation and outcome? How can these barriers be removed? How should a fair and efficient higher education system be organised? How to address these questions in an increasingly global context?