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EACEA National Policies Platform:Eurydice
Funding in education


3.Funding in education

Last update: 12 June 2022

General government expenditure on education as a proportion of GDP in 2012 was 5% . Annual expenditure on public and private educational institutions per pupil/student in € PPS in 2013 was € 3,226 for ISCED 1-2, € 3,231 for ISCED 3-4, € 6,024 for ISCED 5-6. Annual expenditure per student was significantly below the EU average in 2011 and had decreased from 2010, with the exception of expenditure on tertiary education students, which increased.

Before the global financial crisis of 2008-09, the Croatian economy grew at a healthy 4-5% annually, incomes doubled, and economic and social opportunities dramatically improved. The prolonged crisis put this progress to the test as the country struggled with six years of recession. Consequently, education expenditure decreased. However, efforts are invested, among others, to increase the efficiency of spending in higher education by introducing performance-based funding.

New legislation was passed in 2013, paving the way for a comprehensive reform of higher education funding. Three-year pilot agreements, covering 10% of public funding for higher education institutions, were signed for the academic years 2012/13 – 2014/15. They are results-focused, including development goals and indicators and ensuring multi-year planning, and are a first step towards introducing full funding agreements. Gains in efficiency and large savings in the higher education sector were made through new legislation on subsidising costs for student meals, which came into force in October 2013.

Expenditure on pre-primary and primary levels of education about 59% of total expenditure on education. As for the public expenditure on public educational institutions per pupil/student in thousand EUR PPS, Croatia has relatively low expenditure on public educational institutions, about 40% lower than the average of observed countries. Majority of EU new member states spend even less than Croatia. Furthermore, public expenditure on educational institutions is positively correlated with country standard. Croatia has 4th highest proportion of students in public institutions, about 16 percentage points higher than the EU-27 average.

Private expenditure on education in Croatia is mainly targeted to the pre-primary and tertiary education.

Salaries are set centrally for all teachers in Croatia, without any consideration of demand and supply in different regions and/or teaching subjects. Salary levels at different career points are problematic in Croatia, since the increases are mainly driven by working experience and not necessarily quality. Student subsidies are numerous and considerable in their financial volume, but they are directed only to the maintenance or the occasional enlargement of the number of higher educated citizens.

Public subsidies to education mostly benefit households with higher incomes, since most scholarships and rewards go to students with better academic achievements, who tend to come from families in the top-income quintile that can spend more money to support.