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Higher education funding


3.Funding in Education

3.2Higher education funding

Last update: 15 February 2024


The law on higher education mentions the following sources of funding in public higher education:  State budget, student tuition fees, income from services rendered or generated by third parties, donations, scientific activities, international projects, bilateral or multilateral agreements, funding from special funds.

The resources obtained from services, research, consultancy or any activity carried out by academic staff are divided between the academic staff and HEI, pursuant to existing legislation and regulations approved by Governing Board. Public higher education institutions regulate those distribution modalities by their internal acts.

According to the article 110 of the Law on higher education and Decision of Council of Ministers no. 75, dated 12.02.2018 "On the approval of the financing model", as amended,the State Budget is distributed to HEIs in the form of a grant consisting of:

  • the teaching grant, which should not be less than 85% of the total annual grant;

  • development policy grant for public institutions of higher education, which is up to 10% of the total annual grant;

  • the grant for scientific research work and creative activities, which should be 5% to 10% of the total annual grant.

The teaching grant is administered by the National Agency for Financing Higher Education (NAFHE), which based on the criteria approved by DCM no. 75/2018, distributes the teaching grant to fund public Higher Education Institutions and students of public HIEs as a support fund for students. 

The development policy grant for public institutions of higher education is administered by the Ministry of Education and Sports and distributed to HEIs in support of priority policies as infrastructure improvement, internationalisation, etc.

The scientific research and creative activities grant is administered by the National Agency for Scientific Research and Innovation (NASRI) which distributes this grant based on the criteria approved by DCM no. 75/2019. Differently from the two other grant, the scientific research and creative activities grant might finance both public and private HIEs and scientific research institution, which in this case compete for these grants equally. 

The income obtained from the services, scientific research activities, consultancies, as well as any income realized from the activity in which the academic staff participates is divided between the academic staff and the HEI, according to the regulation approved by the Board of Administration. Public institutions of higher education regulate in their internal acts the manner of using the funds created, with the exception of income from the State Budget.

According to article no. 108 of the Law on Higher Education, HIEs operate according to the principle of financial autonomy. The HEI draws up a medium-term budget plan, which is part of the institution's strategic development plan, updated annually. All income generated by public institutions of higher education is used by them and the unused part of the income is carried over to the following year.


Financial Autonomy and Control

The State funded (public) higher education institutions enjoy financial autonomy guaranteed by the law on higher education. Autonomy means freedom of higher education institutions to run their own affairs regarding staff, students, curricula, teaching and evaluation, governance, finance and administration. For expenses that are paid by state budget however as described above they have to report to respective institutions on how the money is spent.

In accordance with Law on Higher Education all higher education institutions enjoy academic freedom and institutional, organizational and staff selection autonomy. In addition, law guarantees financial autonomy by granting to HEI the right to generate legitimate incomes from teaching activities, scientific research activities, arts and sports activities and by any other economic income in line with the legislative framework in force. Furthermore, the same law grants to higher education institutions the right to receive funds from the State and other organizations, to define internal rules for distribution of funds, use of income and to administer real estates and the income wealth that they possess legally.

Fees within Public Higher Education

According to the new law on higher education, fees are determined by HEIs, including public ones, within the ceiling provided in bylaws.

Financial Support for Learners' Families

There are no structural measures targeting learners' families. All existing structural measures apply to students directly.

Financial Support for Learners

Student loans

The new law on higher education provides for a student loan scheme in Article 114. It states that Ministry of Education Sports and Youth mediates the students’ lending process, with the aim of providing financial support to afford the costs of studies. In principle, the student loan scheme will be open to all students who gained the right to study in a higher education institution. A Decree of Council of Ministers shall provide for the student loan scheme. Despite the fact that the law entered into force on 6 October 2015, the necessary bylaws need to be drafted to make this scheme functional.

Student grants

The student support fund includes three funding categories:

  • scholarships for excellent students;
  • scholarships for students enrolled in study programmes that constitute a national priority;
  • scholarships for students belonging to disadvantaged social groups;

Scholarships for excellent students are awarded at the national level to students with maximal Grade point average GPA at entrance, regardless of study programmes and institutions where they attend their studies. The student continues to benefit from this grant if her/his results continue to be excellent throughout the years of study.

Scholarships for students are granted to students who have chosen to attend a study programme in a public higher education institution, which constitutes a national priority area, as defined by Council of Ministers.

Scholarships for disadvantaged social groups are distributed to students who are admitted to a public higher education institution and meet the criteria to be considered as students in need, as defined by Council of Ministers.

The Agency for Funding in Higher Education awards these grants according to specifications made to the relevant Decision of Council of Ministers.

Private Education

The main source of income for the functioning of such institutions are tuition fees. Based on the new law on higher education, the private higher education institutions may benefit from State budget funds only in two cases: from scholarships offered to students who decide to study in a private higher education institution and from scientific research fund if the private institution is awarded a project dedicated to research.