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EACEA National Policies Platform:Eurydice
Higher education funding


3.Funding in education

3.2Higher education funding

Last update: 27 November 2023


The main peculiarity of the funding system applied to state Higher Education Institutions is that the subsidy rendered is based on the number of students enrolled.

The main forms of funding mechanisms for each higher school are determined by the number of students, professional fields and evaluation for accreditation, publishing of textbooks and scientific works; municipal social spending; capital expenditure. Each state university may form its own funds and to define procedures for their spending.

The average number of students in all professional fields is multiplied by the norm set by the Decree № 162 on 20.06.2001 (as amended by the Decree № 238/07.09.2004) to obtain the grant to support the training of any professional field. The sum of subsidies to support the training given to all professional fields gives the subsidy to support the training at the state university.

The average number of students in each professional field is calculated as follows:

N = A + AP/3 + 2*AD + 2*ADP/3 + S

N - average number of students

A - absolute number of Bulgarian students in regular education state

AP - absolute number of part-time Bulgarian students

AD - absolute number of Bulgarian PhD students in full-time education

ADP - Bulgarian absolute distance learning PhDs

S - absolute number of students accepted under the Decree № 103 of 31.05.1993 on carrying out educational activities for Bulgarians abroad and the Decree № 228 of 20.05.1997 on the acceptance of nationals from FYroM for students in state Universities in Bulgaria.

The number of doctoral students is included in the professional field in which the relevant state university has the largest number of learners.

Financial Autonomy and Control

Higher education institutions enjoy academic autonomy. The academic self-government finds expression in the right to raise funds and independently decide on the terms and conditions for their appropriation and to the right to independently conclude contracts with the state or with other users for basic and applied research, as well as for upgrading the qualifications of specialists of higher education.

The Bulgarian National Audit Office schedules financial checkups and external audit related to the activities of all universities. The Ministry of Education, Youth and Science is obliged to submit reports for expenditures monthly to the Ministry of Finance (MoF) of each university and the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences, and a quarterly summary report to the MoF and the National Audit Office.

Fees within Public Education

Decree of the Council of Ministers approves the fees for application and training in state universities each year.

In principle all students pay fees. Students graduate and doctoral students - citizens of the Member - States of the European Union and European Economic Area or the Swiss Confederation can be taken in the Bulgarian universities, and to pay fees for their studies in the rules laid down for the Bulgarian citizens. This is an important step for expanding the European dimension of higher education and equal access opportunities for young people wishing to obtain higher education in Bulgaria.

Persons with dual citizenship, one of which is Bulgarian, pay half the size of a fee when applying and have accepted such terms and conditions set by the Council of Ministers. Fees not paid by students and doctoral candidates adopted by intergovernmental agreements in which this issue is settled on a reciprocal basis.

Foreign students and post-graduate – citizens of third countries for the European Union enrolled in state universities pay tuition fees provided for foreign students and post-graduate.

Exempt from payment of fees in state universities are: orphans, persons with disabilities and disabled workers, war invalids, people kept up their majority in homes for children deprived of parental care, senior cadets in military schools and doctoral students in the past two years of doctoral studies. They are also entitled to additional benefits regulated by the statutes of higher school.

Fees are not paid by students and doctoral candidates adopted within intergovernmental agreements in which this issue is settled on a reciprocal basis.

The highest amount of student fees are set to specific training requirements for the following programs: "Dentistry", "Medicine", "Pharmacy", "Veterinary Medicine", "Film and TV Directing”, “Film and television cinematography" and professional fields "Music and Dance and Visual Arts".

Financial Support for Learners' Families

There are no specific provisions for support of learners' families from the general population. However, the Law for Social Support offers financial support to disadvantaged groups who fall under one of the following conditions:

  • Pregnant women and mothers raising children up to 3 years of age studying in regular, extra mural and evening form of education in the higher schools;
  • In case of incidentally occurred health, educational, communal and household and other vitally important needs of the persons and the families one-time support can be granted once a year;
  • For children, accommodated for bringing up in a family of relatives or friends or in receiving family, the family receives monthly support till the child finished secondary education, provided it is no later than 20 years of age.

Financial Support for Learners

Grants and Scholarships

Council of Ministers increased the maximum amount of student scholarship from 90 to BGN 120. The scholarships for doctoral candidates were almost doubled – from BGN 250 to BGN 450.  A one-off bonus of BGN 1000 is granted if the doctoral candidate submits his / her dissertation in time. A further bonus of BGN 1000 is granted if the doctoral candidate defends his / her dissertation thesis within one year after its submission. Each university receives BGN 4000 for holding the dissertation thesis defence procedures.

Extra funding of BGN 10 million for student scholarships, BGN 2 million for practical internships and training at companies and organizations, and a further BGN 4 million to support doctoral candidates, post-doctoral students, and young researchers are provided by the Human Resources Development Operative Programme.

Concluded between Bulgaria and other countries bilateral intergovernmental exchange programs provide grants on a reciprocal basis. Ministry of education, Youth and Science announces a competition for scholarship for Bulgarian citizens, students in Bulgarian state universities for training in foreign universities under the Ordinance on state requirements for admission of students in higher schools of Republic of Bulgaria and in the implementation of intergovernmental agreements for educational, cultural and scientific exchanges. In general, the host country provides: scholarships and medical help under current legislation, exemption from tuition fees and exemption from taxes for a residence permit or extension of stay.


Law on student loans actually started operating in 2010. Its purpose is to support studies and doctoral students in universities in Republic of Bulgaria. The maximum amount of loans to pay tuition fees is formed on the basis of fees for a period equal to the remaining period of training to borrowers, according to the curriculum of the subject and title, or educational and scientific degree.

Eligible for obtaining credit are undergraduate and graduate students - Bulgarian citizens, citizens of another countries - member of the European Union, other countries of the European Economic Area or the Swiss Confederation at the time of application to contract credit simultaneously meet the following requirements: have not completed 35 years and are undergoing full-time training for the acquisition of educational qualifications: Bachelor (BA or professional bachelor) and "Master" or the educational and scientific degree "doctor" in the established and operating legitimately order a public or private university or scientific organization.

Loans shall be given for the whole or part of the period of education for covering tuition fees and/or living allowance. The right to use a loan for living allowance shall arise in case of having or fully adopting a child during the study period and shall belong to the parent, exercising parent rights, or, if those are the two parents, to only one of them.

Private Education

The Law on Higher Education in Bulgaria allows private higher education institutions to enjoy academic autonomy. They are not funded by the state budget and have autonomy to spend their own budget according to their own policy. These private institutions have their own revenue by the fees and financial support by different kind of sponsorship from organization, companies, etc.