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Higher education funding

Croatia

3.Funding in education

3.2Higher education funding

Last update: 31 March 2023

 

 

Funding

The major structural change in terms of funding models is stipulated by the new Act on Higher Education and Scientific Activity (OG, 119/2022) which entered into force in October 2022.

 

It includes provisions on the model of financing through funding agreements consisting of the basic component of the budget, development component of the budget and performance component of the budget. The content framework and procedure for concluding funding agreements is also stipulated by the new Act.

 

National Council for Science, Higher Education and Technological Development is the highest expert body that takes care of the development and quality of higher education in Croatia. Some of its main tasks regarding higher education are proposing and encouraging the adoption of measures to improve higher education, proposing criteria and ratios for the distribution of budget funds, proposing and encouraging participation of other subjects, proposing and encouraging measures related to the polycentric system of higher education and proposing the network of public higher education institutions among other tasks.

 

Higher education is mostly provided by public HEIs which are state financed. The organisational autonomy and academic freedom are guaranteed by the Constitution.

 

The public funding of higher education institutions (HEIs) is regulated by the Act on Higher Education and Scientific Activity, stipulating that the activity of higher education institutions is funded by the founder’s resources, assigned revenue and own resources.

 

The founder’s resources include:

  • funds from the State Budget of the Republic of Croatia for financing the activity of a HEI whose founder is the Republic of Croatia (public higher education institution)
  • funds from the budget of a local or regional self-government unit for financing the activity of HEIs founded by the local or regional self-government unit prior to entry into force of this Act
  • founder's resources for financing the activity of a private HEI.

Public HEIs are financed by the funds from the State Budget of the Republic of Croatia through funding agreements. Funds from the State Budget of the Republic of Croatia are allocated to a public HEI based on the funding agreement for financing the basic component of the budget, the development component of the budget and the performance component of the budget.

The basic component of the budget of a public HEI includes funds from the State Budget of the Republic of Croatia used for financing the basic needs of the public HEI that are related to performing its activity as laid down in the Act on Higher Education and Scientific Activity.

The amount of the basic component of the budget of a public HEI is determined on the basis of historical data on the number of employed teachers, researchers and associates, the proposal for development of the public higher education institution as well as the expenses arising from performing the regular activity that are covered from the State Budget of the Republic of Croatia.

The performance component of the budget comprises the funds from the State Budget of the Republic of Croatia that are allocated to a public higher education institution on basis of its performance in meeting the objectives and indicators as laid down in the funding agreement.

Universities, polytechnics, professional schools of higher education and public research institutes may be financed only from those sources that do not affect their independence and credibility. Own income can be made only from the activities that do not have a detrimental effect on the realisation of the goals of the HEI or a public science institute.

 

The funds for the development of the science and higher education systems, science, research and art projects and programmes, science, art and research infrastructure and equipment, science publications, science conferences and science and professional associations are distributed by the Ministry of Science and Education, following a public call and in the accordance with the opinions of relevant committees appointed by the minister. The funds are distributed taking into account the distribution of funds for the same purpose in the budgets of other state administration institutions and those of local and regional governments.

 

Minimum salaries of the science and higher education staff are determined under the collective agreement in accordance with the law.

 

Public universities, polytechnics and professional schools of higher education are financed from the state budget, taking into account the determined capacities of an individual HEI, the prices of individual study programmes and the assessment of quality, as determined on the basis of the evaluation carried out in accordance with The Act on Higher Education and Scientific Activity, stipulating that the activity of higher education institutions is funded by the founder’s resources, assigned revenue and own resources.

 

Private HEIs may also be financed from the state budget, pursuant to a previously concluded agreement, provided that: they conduct an activity for which public needs exceed the provision of public HEIs or that the given activity is of a special national interest; that they meet all the legally prescribed requirements; that they meet the criteria and priorities set by the National Council, taking into account the available funds and the quality of a private HEI.

 

Budgetary funds designated for HEIs are allocated to the beneficiaries as a lump sum, and the beneficiaries are then responsible for further distribution of the funds for particular purpose, in accordance with the statute and other acts.

 

The university senate adopts the budget of a university, upon the dean’s proposal, whereas a professional council adopts the budget of a polytechnic or a professional school of higher education, based on the dean’s proposal. University’s constituent units set aside a part of their own income, contributing to the university budget for capital investments and developmental programmes, in accordance with regulations of the university.

 

Public HEIs use the funds in accordance with the Act on Higher Education and Scientific Activity and the regulations governing the state budget execution. With the approval of the contracting parties, a part of the public universities’ activities may also be financed on the basis of special agreements concluded between the Ministry and the public university.

 

Pursuant to the Act on Higher Education and Scientific Activity, the autonomy of all public university-based HEIs in the Republic of Croatia involves: the internal organisation, development of education, scientific and professional programmes, financial autonomy in accordance with this Act, making decisions on the approval of projects and international cooperation, other types of autonomy, in accordance with the law.

 

University Council for financing of scientific activity and higher education is an expert body of the National Council, consisting of 15 members, three of which come from research institutes, six come from universities, two from polytechnics, two members are union representatives and two are appointed by the minister. Members of the University Council are appointed by the National Council by a majority vote on the basis of the proposal by the Rectors’ Board, Council of Polytechnics and Professional Schools of Higher Education, public research institutes, universities, polytechnics and professional schools of higher education, the Ministry and the union. Members of the University Council are appointed for a four-year term.

 

The Senate is an elected expert body appointed in accordance with the university statute, ensuring a balanced representation of all the constituent units of the university and of various areas of science and art. Employees in academic titles constitute at least 60% of the members of the Senate. Students’ representatives, elected by students in accordance with the Statute of the University, constitute at least 10% of the members of the Senate from among undergraduate and graduate students a maximum of 20% from among postgraduate students.

Other employees are represented in the Senate in accordance with the statute. The Senate makes decisions at sessions. The session is convened and chaired by the rector.

 

The Rector is the head of the university and he represents the university and is responsible for the legality of the university's work. The rector has the powers and duties of the director of the institution. Vice-rectors assist the rector in his work.

 

Vice-rectors participate in the Senate’s activities without the right to vote.

 

A science and higher education union representative is also invited to partake in the Senate’s meetings, without the right to vote.

 

The Senate, as stipulated in the statute, decides on all the academic, professional, scientific and art-related issues, including the decisions regarding the organisation of scientific, professional and teaching activities, selection of teachers, developmental and business-related issues as well as other issues specified in the Act on Higher Education and Scientific Activity. Within the scope of its competence, the Senate is responsible for, among other things: educational, scientific or artistic and professional issues financial policy and adoption of the university budget, discussion of financial reports and adoption of the final balance statement and decisions on capital investments.

 

The dean represents a polytechnic or a professional school of higher education and he/she holds the rights and obligations of a head of the institution. For academic issues, the dean is accountable to the advisory board and for the legality of financial transactions and rational use of material and staff resources to the administrative council.

 

The public higher education is free for the full-time students following certain preconditions. Therefore, the majority of full-time students at public higher education institutions do not pay any tuition fees. The right to exemption from paying the tuition fee is stipulated by the regulation on the manner of funding public higher education institutions from the State Budget.

Accordingly, the right to exemption from paying the tuition fee is exercised by full-time students at public higher education institutions enrolled in the first year of study for the first time as well as students enrolled in a higher year of study on condition that they had obtained 55 or more ECTS credits in the previous academic year.

 

The student is entitled to exemption from paying the tuition fee for the number of times that corresponds to the number of years determined for completion of the study, and they may exercise this right within a limited time period which is a year longer than the number of years determined for completion of the study.

 

Full-time students at public higher education institutions who are not entitled to exemption from paying the tuition fee from the State Budget pay their own tuition fees according to a model determined by the university for its own constituent units and by the polytechnic, based on the principle of ensuring access to higher education to the largest possible number of students, as well as on the basis of the linear model of paying the tuition fee. Part-time students cover fully or partially the cost of study, in line with the general regulation of the higher education institution.

 

The objectives of subsidising tuition fees payable by full-time students include: ensuring equal access to higher education to all full-time students in Croatia; stimulating completion of higher education; increasing enrolment rates in study programmes at HEIs and increasing the number of acquired qualifications in natural, technical, bio-medical and bio-technical sciences.

 

 

Financial Autonomy and Control

Autonomy of universities at all university HEIs in Croatia, in accordance with the Act on Higher Education and Scientific Activity, includes as follows: organisation of the internal structure, definition of education, science, art and professional programmes, deciding on the acceptance of projects and international cooperation financial autonomy in accordance with the Act, making decisions on the approval of projects and international cooperation, other types of autonomy, in accordance with the law.

 

The Senate, in compliance with the Statute, decides on all academic, professional, scientific and art-related issues, including the decisions regarding the organisation of scientific, professional and teaching activities, selection of teachers, developmental and business-related issues as well as other issues specified in the Act. Within the scope of its competence, the Senate is responsible for, among other things: financial policy and adoption of the university budget, discussion of financial reports and adoption of the final balance statement and decisions on capital investments.

 

The dean represents a polytechnic or a professional school of higher education and it holds the rights and obligations of a head of the institution. For academic issues, the dean is accountable to the advisory board and for the compliance of financial transactions with the law and the rational use of material and staff resources to the administrative council.

 

Administrative supervision of the compliance with the law and general founding acts of HEIS and other science organisations shall be carried out by the Ministry of Science and Education. Supervision is implemented in such a way that the autonomy and the regular activities of the university and other science organisations are in no way affected. On the basis of the supervision findings, the Ministry may terminate the execution of decisions and activities of the university or science organisations which are not carried out in accordance with the law.

 

Introduction of programme agreements with HEI started in 2012, when the Ministry, in collaboration with the Ministry of Finance, met the financial requirements for the conclusion of three-year agreements with HEIs, pursuant to which the cost of the implementation of the full-time study programmes could be covered in its entirety. The intention behind the agreements was to define, in addition to financial planning, the development goals of public HEIs and the indicators for monitoring their realisation, and to include representatives of public HEIs, students and the Ministry in the process of negotiation and conclusion of all aspects of the agreements.

 

The decision on the participation in the process of preparation of programme agreements was made autonomously by HEIs, in accordance with their interest. They also independently decided whether they want to conclude the agreements on programme-based financing or continue the subsidised financing by the Ministry based on the former financial model.

 

Higher education institutions also independently decide on the results they would like to achieve in the three-year period within the set objectives and listed the indicators to be used in measuring their performance in achieving the set results. The implementation of programme agreements is monitored by committees consisting of HEI and Ministry representatives and which will be able to negotiate, adjust and enhance the previously agreed programme agreement frameworks, even after the implementation has commenced.

 

Fees within Public Higher Education

The public higher education is free for the full-time students following certain preconditions. Therefore, the majority of full-time students at public higher education institutions do not pay any tuition fees. The right to exemption from paying the tuition fee is stipulated by the regulation on the manner of funding public higher education institutions from the State Budget.

 

Accordingly, the right to exemption from paying the tuition fee is exercised by full-time students at public higher education institutions enrolled in the first year of study for the first time as well as students enrolled in a higher year of study on condition that they had obtained 55 or more ECTS credits in the previous academic year. The student is entitled to exemption from paying the tuition fee for the number of times that corresponds to the number of years determined for completion of the study, and they may exercise this right within a limited time period which is a year longer than the number of years determined for completion of the study.

 

Full-time students at public higher education institutions who are not entitled to exemption from paying the tuition fee from the State Budget pay their own tuition fees according to a model determined by the university for its own constituent units and by the polytechnic, based on the principle of ensuring access to higher education to the largest possible number of students, as well as on the basis of the linear model of paying the tuition fee.

 

Part-time students cover their cost of study fully or partially, in line with the general regulation of the higher education institution. 

 

Financial Support for Learners' Families

Pursuant to the Act on Higher Education and Scientific Activity, support provided by the Ministry of Science and Education within the framework of the student standard in higher education comprises direct and indirect student support.

Direct student support covers the award of state scholarships and support for covering transportation costs for full-time students with disabilities, while indirect support refers to subsidised accommodation for full-time students in student and pupils' dormitories as well as covering part of the cost of meals in student restaurants.

Subsidised accommodation in student dormitories, the available capacities at pupils' dormitories and exceptionally for private accommodation is provided for students studying outside their place of residence who are deemed eligible following the competitive call run by student centres or higher education institutions, in the amount of EUR 26,54 per month.

The right to subsidised accommodation is exercised by students in accordance with the Ordinance on the conditions and manner of exercising the right of full-time students to subsidised accommodation. The Ordinance on the conditions and manner of exercising the right to covering the cost of meals for students (OG, 120/13) lays down the conditions, the manner of exercising the right and the level of right to support for covering the cost of meals for students.

This right is exercised by students in different amounts depending on the level of the granted right expressed in the number of full daily meals, which is realised and proven by a student card. Moreover, full-time students are entitled to compulsory and supplementary health insurance. Tax benefits for parents are provided in the form of tax relief for dependent children, if the taxable annual income of the dependent person is not higher than EUR 1990,84. Tax free minimum earnings threshold increases based on the number of dependent children.

In addition, funds are provided each year to support student councils for student programmes and projects in the total amount of EUR 600.000,00. These funds are allocated to higher education institutions running the calls.

 

Student food and accommodation

The Ordinance on the conditions and manner of exercising the right to covering the cost of meals for students lays down the conditions, the manner of exercising the right and the level of right to support for covering the cost of meals for students. This right is exercised by students in different amounts depending on the level of the granted right expressed in the number of full daily meals, which is realised and proven by a student card. The Ministry's support covers 71.24% of the calculated price of the menu meal and 50% of the calculated price of other individual meals and food products. A total of 97,402 students are entitled to covering the cost of meals, with approximately EUR 19,000,000.00 being paid annually.

 

Pursuant to individual decisions of the Minister and according to the geographical and traffic characteristics of a student’s place of residence, a student is awarded level 2 rights, or the right to two subsidised meals a day.

 

The right to the subsidy towards the cost of student meals is granted to full-time students in a university undergraduate programme, university graduate programme, integrated undergraduate and graduate university programme, short-cycle programme, undergraduate professional programme and specialist graduate professional study programme at a higher education institution in Croatia, who is a citizen of an EU-member state and who meets the prescribed requirements.

 

Higher education institutions may conclude an agreement with student meal service providers, regulating the way in which the HEI provides subsidy towards the student meals of full-time students who are citizens of a non-EU member state or a full-time student whose stay in Croatia is arranged under an agreement concluded between a Croatian and a foreign HEI. Exceptionally, the beneficiary of the subsidy may be a student who is a foreign citizen and who is a Ministry scholarship holder, based on the reciprocity principle, if the right to subsidy was agreed under international student exchange programme agreements (Erasmus, CEEPUS and international bilateral agreements) or under a special decision by the Ministry.

 

The duration and the period during which this right is granted to the beneficiaries stipulated in item 4 of this Article are regulated under a special Ministry’s decision.

The right to the subsidy is not granted to: a student who is to enrol in the next academic year or a new study programme of the same level, and who has accumulated less than 18 ECTS-credits in the previous academic year; a student who has accumulated less than 36 ECTS-credits during two consecutive academic years; a student who is changing the academic programme for the second time, enrolling in a study programme of the same level for the third time.

 

The subsidy covers a part of the cost of daily meals in the restaurants with which the Ministry or an institution authorised by the Ministry (a student centre, HEI) has concluded an agreement on the provision of student meals. The subsidy beneficiaries are granted different subsidy amounts, depending on the level of awarded rights, expressed as the number of subsidised complete meals per day. The level of right to a subsidy is marked by the following numbers: 1, 2 and 2.5, signifying the right to a subsidy of one, two or 2.5 subsidised meals a day, respectively.

 

The level 1 right is granted to all subsidy beneficiaries, including those who were granted the right to accommodation in boarding homes providing meals. The level 2 right is granted to the following categories of students: beneficiaries with a temporary address in the town in which they study, but with a permanent address outside of the county in which they study; beneficiaries who have a permanent or temporary address registered in a place with poor public transport connections with the town in which they study; foreign citizens who are beneficiaries of international exchange programmes (Erasmus+, CEEPUS and international bilateral agreements) as Ministry’ s scholarship holders; foreign citizens from non-EU member states studying in Croatia.

 

The level 2.5 rights is granted to the following groups of beneficiaries: the students who were, under the public call, granted the right to accommodation in student dormitories or boarding homes providing student meals; students of very low socio-economic status; students who are top athletes, if proved that they temporarily live in the town in which they study and that this town is different than the place of their permanent address.

 

Subsidised accommodation in student dormitories, the available capacities at pupils' dormitories and exceptionally for private accommodation is provided for students studying outside their place of residence who are deemed eligible following the competitive call run by student centres or higher education institutions, in the amount of EUR 26,54 per month. The right to subsidised accommodation is exercised by students in accordance with the Ordinance on the conditions and manner of exercising the right of full-time students to subsidised accommodation (OG, 63/19).

A total of 13,114 students exercise the accommodation right in 18 student dormitories and the available capacities at 12 pupils' dormitories.

Student transport

In December 2022, the Government of the Republic of Croatia adopted a Conclusion on the continuation of the pilot project of free public rail transport for children and students of primary and secondary schools in the territory of the Republic of Croatia for the period from January 1, 2023 to December 31, 2024, whose the estimated value is EUR 265,445.61 per month, while the annual value is EUR 3,185,347.40 or  EUR 6,370,694.80 over a two-year period duration of the project from January 1, 2023 to December 31, 2024.

With the pilot project implemented in the period from October 1, 2021 to November 30, 2022, the number of children who regularly used rail transport, from the initial 7,000 users before the introduction of the pilot project, increased to 49,450 users.

On the basis of the adopted Conclusion, the unlimited use of railway transport for children and students for daily trips to school and occasional trips such as day trips, visits to the doctor, summer vacations and other trips is enabled, which will contribute to further increasing the mobility of children and students, stopping emigration to urban areas and supporting the demographic revitalisation, improving the standard of living of citizens and reducing poverty, revitalising passenger train traffic in underdeveloped areas and encouraging the use of rail transport.

In accordance with the Ordinance on the conditions and procedures for the realisation of the right to the subsidy towards transport cost for full-time students with disability (OG 23/15), the right to subsidised transport is granted to full-time students enrolled in an undergraduate university programme, graduate university programme, integrated undergraduate and graduate university programme, a short-cycle programme, an undergraduate professional programme or a specialist graduate professional programme and to full-time students of postgraduate programmes at HEIs in Croatia who meet the prescribed requirements.

 

The right to the subsidy is granted to full-time students with a disability degree of least 60%, in accordance with the Ordinance on the methodology of expert evaluation (OG 153/14). The right to the subsidy may be used in the period of the duration of the full-time study programme and during 12 months following the period, and it is determined based on the confirmation of the student’s status issued by the HEI. The students who are not enrolling the given year of the study programme for the first time are entitled to the subsidy if they accumulated at least 30 ECTS-credits in the previous year.

 

The right to the subsidy is not granted to: the students who, over the course of the study programme, accumulated a number of ECTS-credits which, divided by the number of years of study that the student has enrolled in, amounts to less than 30 ECTS-credits. Any academic year in which the student requested a suspension of student rights, in accordance with the Act on Higher Education and Scientific Activity, is not included in this criterion; students who have changed the study programme more than twice and who are enrolled in the first year of a third study programme of the same level; students enrolling in a degree programme of the same level as the programme in which they already acquired a degree and for which they used the right to the subsidy; students receiving a financial support for transport from another source; students who do not meet the prescribed requirements; students who have requested a suspension of the student status for the period for which they are requesting subsidised transport; students of postgraduate study programmes who fail to enrol in the next semester at the beginning of in the new academic year.

 

The subsidised amount towards the cost of student transport is stipulated by a minister’s decision before each academic year, in accordance with the earmarked funds in the state budget. The Minister may revise the amount of funds to be allocated for the subsidies towards student transport costs over the course of an academic year, depending on the balance of the earmarked funds in the state budget.

 

 

Grants and scholarships

Pursuant to the Act on Higher Education and Scientific Activity, support provided by the Ministry of Science and Education within the framework of the student standard in higher education comprises direct and indirect student support. Direct student support covers the award of state scholarships and support for covering transportation costs for full-time students with disabilities, while indirect support refers to subsidised accommodation for full-time students in student and pupils' dormitories as well as covering part of the cost of meals in student restaurants.

Higher education students in Croatia are awarded two types of state scholarships: scholarships for students studying in STEM and ICT areas of science and need-based scholarships (on the basis of lower socio-economic status). Scholarships for students studying in STEM and ICT areas of science are awarded to a total of 1,388 students and they are paid in 9 monthly rates in the amount of EUR 600,00 for STEM teaching study programmes and EUR 300,00 for other STEM study programmes. Scholarships on the basis of lower socio-economic status are awarded annually to a total of 12,000 students and they are paid in 9 monthly rates in the amount of EUR 200,00.

In accordance with the Ordinance on the conditions and method of exercising the right to a state scholarship based on socio-economic status (OG, 110/2022) the right to a state scholarship is granted to full-time students who are citizens of Croatia or a member state of the European Union, the European Economic Area and the Swiss Confederation, and full-time students who enjoy international and temporary protection in accordance with the Act on International and Temporary Protection, who are enrolled are entitled to a state scholarship from Article 1 of this regulation. to universities in the Republic of Croatia:

- in an undergraduate university programme, graduate university programme, integrated undergraduate and graduate university programme, short professional studies, undergraduate professional programme and specialist graduate professional programme and students with disabilities and students who are under guardianship or were under guardianship as children or were recognised as having the right to social housing service or as children were recognised as having the right to social housing service based on regulations in the field of social welfare, who are registered at postgraduate university studies, in accordance with the provisions of the Ordinance.

The students of the specified status may apply for a state scholarship in the following categories:

  • D-1 – the students who are children of the killed, deceased and missing, under the circumstances laid down in the Act on the Protection of Disabled Civil and Military War Victims, and children of peacetime disabled military and civil war victims whose disability occurred under the circumstances specified in the same Act
  • E – students of a low socio-economic status
  • P – students with disabilities and students who are under guardianship or were under guardianship as children or were recognised as having the right to social accommodation service or as children were recognised as having the right to social accommodation service based on regulations in the field of social welfare, who are enrolled in postgraduate university studies.

Furthermore, students who meet the following general conditions may apply for a state scholarship: full-time students, who are citizens of Croatia or another EU-member state with a registered address in Croatia and an approved status of a foreigner with residence in Croatia, enrolled in HEIs in Croatia.

 

State scholarship applications are assessed and awarded in different categories to the students who meet the following specific requirements:

D-1 – the category with three specific requirements: average monthly income per household member may not exceed 60% of the minimum budgetary basis, determined annually, based on a special regulation; proof of the status of a child of a killed, deceased or missing person or the status of a child of a disabled peacetime military or civil victim enclosed to the application; Statement on the members of the household.

E – the category with two specific requirements: average monthly income per household member may not exceed 60% of the minimum budgetary basis, determined annually, based on a special regulation; Statement on household members enclosed to the application.

P – the category with five specific requirements: disability evaluation certificate, or, in case of students without adequate parental care, confirmation of the student’s placement in a foster home or a foster family by the age of 18; enrolment in a postgraduate university programme, as attested by the certificate issued by the HEI providing the programme; the unemployment status, as proved by the statement of the competent employment authority; in case of disabled students, the average monthly income per a household member should not exceed 100% of the budgetary basis determined annually, based on a special regulation; the Statement on household members should be enclosed to the application in case of students with disabilities.

 

The following categories of students are not eligible for the award of state scholarships in any of the categories:

  • students who collected less than 45 ECTS-credits in the previous academic year, unless the student is enrolling for the first time in the first year of a programme (the period during which the student has requested the suspension of the student status does not count);
  • students who have in the course of the study programme accumulated a number of ECTS-credits, which, when divided by the number of previously enrolled academic years, is smaller than 45, not including the current academic year; who, in the academic year in which they are applying for the scholarship, enrolled in the first year of a same-level programme in the full-time student status for the second time (applicable only to students who changed the study course in the year in which they are applying for the scholarship);
  • students who have changed the study programme more than twice and thus enrolled in a study programme of the same level three times, in the full-time student status.

The state scholarship is paid in at least nine monthly instalments of at least EUR 200.00 by the 15th of the month. If funds are provided for this in the State Budget of the Republic of Croatia, the Minister may, in the competition for the award of state scholarships, also prescribe the award of a larger monthly amount of the scholarship and/or the award of scholarships in a larger number of monthly instalments.

 

In the competition for the award of state scholarships, the Minister prescribes the period for which the scholarship will be awarded. The Minister shall issue a Decision on the number of state scholarships by October 15 of the current year, which shall be published on the Ministry's website. State scholarships are awarded on the basis of a public tender in which the method of proving fulfilment of the conditions is prescribed. The public tender for the award of a state scholarship is announced by the minister by October 15 of the current year for the academic year.

 

The competition for the award of state scholarships is carried out by the Commission for the Implementation of Public Tenders for the Award of State Scholarships, which is appointed by the Minister. The committee will adopt rules of procedure on its work.

 

The commission has seven members, including the president of the commission, of which three members are student representatives at the proposal of the Croatian Student Union, while ensuring the representation of representatives of university and professional studies, one representative of the Rector's Board and one representative of the Council of Polytechnics and colleges and two representatives of the Ministry. The composition of the Commission is announced in the competition.

At the time of the conclusion of the state scholarship award agreement, as well as during the agreement period, the student may not be a beneficiary of any other scholarship. In exceptional cases, students studying on the same level of study at a HEI abroad may receive another scholarship for the period of the placement and/or the period of mobility and international student exchange.

Mobility

As for mobility, the Agency for Mobility and EU Programmes implements: Erasmus+, which offers possibilities for spending a study period or a placement period abroad; CEEPUS (Central European Exchange Programme for University Studies), offering possibilities for spending a study or a placement period in one of the countries of the Central or Eastern Europe.

 

Students gaining mobility under CEEPUS are exempt from the payment of tuition fees at a foreign higher education institution; and bilateral programmes of mobility in higher education, offering possibilities for completing a semester, an academic year or a complete undergraduate, graduate or doctoral degree programme abroad.

 

The Ministry of Science and Education of the Republic of Croatia and the Agency for Mobility and EU Programmes yearly offer Bilateral Scholarships for study or research in any field of study; and Europass, a set of documents facilitating recognition of study/placement periods abroad.

 

In the last Bologna Process Implementation Report - EHEA in 2020, Croatia’s rate for incoming mobility to ISCED 6 – Bachelor level equals 2.3% (EHEA average 2.7%), Croatia’s rate for incoming mobility to ISCED 7 – Master level equals 2.9% (EHEA average 4.1 %), while Croatia’s rate for incoming mobility to ISCED 8 – Doctoral level equals 7.6% (EHEA average 8.1%).

 

The identified obstacles refer primarily to insufficient funds, which are primarily secured for ECTS mobility under the Erasmus programme. Incoming students represent a significant aspect of “internationalisation at home”.

 

The National Plan for Development of Education System until 2027 (adopted in March 2023) envisages measures to increase the level of internationalisation of higher education, which includes increasing the rate of mobile students and teachers.

 

New Act on Recognition and Assessment of Foreign Education Qualifications which entered into force in June 2022 is expected to support this increase. It includes provisions for automatic recognition of qualifications in upper secondary and higher education. 

 

The ESF funds 2014-2020 were targeted to increase the number of study programmes and modules in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM fields) as well as ICT. They are expected to contribute to the increase of incoming students in STEM and ICT. 

 

Student loans

There are no publicly-subsidised loans. Pupils and students have access to student loans which are offered by almost all the banks. Local and regional government units can negotiate subsidised loans or lower interest rates on student loans.

 

Private Education

In accordance with the  Act on Higher Education and Scientific Activity, a higher education institution is a legal entity that can be a university, faculty, art academy or polytechnic. The basic general act of a higher education institution is the statute. A higher education institution is established as a public or private higher education institution. Public higher education institutions are established by the Republic of Croatia by law. A private higher education institution is founded by a natural or legal person.

The public funding of higher education institutions is regulated by the  Act on Higher Education and Scientific Activity, stipulating that the activity of higher education institutions is funded by the founder’s resources, assigned revenue and own resources.

The founder’s resources include:

  1. funds from the State Budget of the Republic of Croatia for financing the activity of a higher education institution whose founder is the Republic of Croatia (public higher education institution)
  2. funds from the budget of a local or regional self-government unit for financing the activity of higher education institutions founded by the local or regional self-government unit prior to entry into force of this Act
  3. founder’s resources for financing the activity of a private higher education institution.