Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) in Cyprus receive funding both from public and private sources. The largest proportion of funding for public HEIs comes from government. The government funding (government grant and tuition fees for undergraduate studies) stood, in 2011, at 69% of the total budget of the University of Cyprus, 92.7% of the Cyprus University of Technology and 84.7% of the Open University of Cyprus. Private HEIs mainly raise their fund from tuition fees.
The various public grants allocated to HEIs are determined through negotiation based on budget estimate submitted by each institution. Public funding is allocated according to budget headings. The estimate covers the institution's requirements arising from the level of student enrolment, developments in the existing infrastructure, the setting up of new faculties and the introduction of new programs.
The basic funding for research is based on the needs presented by institutions during the negotiation phase. There are no specific criteria related to research.
Sources of private funds
A variety of sources of private funding are available to HEIs in Cyprus. These include for tuition fees for students; donations from private entities or individuals; use of research results and research contracts in the form of joint research projects between HEIs and private contracts; fees from service provision, such as continuing education for adults or companies, consultancy services, organisation of events; setting up of commercial companies; partnerships with the business world; sponsorship of posts; loans; rent/revenues from property; interest on financial investments.
An existing legislative framework, which authorizes HEIs to own the intellectual property rights to the results of research conducted by their staff, constitutes a public incentive for HEIs to seek private funding.
Financial autonomy and control
Public universities are fully self-administered public corporate bodies. The University Council is responsible for the management and control of the financial affairs of the university and its property, as well as the preparation of its budget which must be submitted to the Council of Ministers and the House of Representatives through the Ministry of Education and Culture.
An established system of external financial audit of the use of public funding provides transparency in institutional financial practices. At the end of each academic year, the university submits an annual report to the Ministry of Education and Culture.
Fees within public higher education
The fees of the public universities are set by their Council within the limits defined by the Council of Ministers and they are payable to the universities. Fees for Cypriot and EU undergraduate students total €1,709 per semester (€3,417 per academic year) and are fully paid by the Government. International undergraduate students from out with the EU countries pay fees which range from €3,417 to €6,834 per academic year.
Postgraduate students, Cypriot or international, pay fees set by the Council of Ministers. As regards the Master programs, fees for Cypriot and EU students range from €4,100 to €10,250 according to the program. Fees for non-EU students range from €9,000 to €10,000.
Fees for Ph.D. programs range from €4,000 to €6,500 for Cypriots and EU students and from €7,000 to €9,500 for non-EU students, provided that the studies will be completed within 12 semesters. Otherwise, every additional year will be charged with €1,000.
Cypriot and EU undergraduate students at the Open University of Cyprus do not pay fees. They only pay a fee of €700 per Thematic Unit to cover general operating and administrative costs. International students from out with the EU countries pay fees, which are set at €1,350 per Thematic Unit. Fees for Master's studies depend on the program. Fees for doctoral studies are set at €1,350 per academic year for the first three years and €675 per academic year for the next five years.
Note: Because of the economic crisis all the three public universities have reduced their fees as from the academic year 2013-2014. The University of Cyprus and the Cyprus Technological University decided a reduction of 20% and the Open University a reduction of 10% on their fees.
Cypriot and EU students in all public non-university level institutions, except for the Mediterranean Institute of Management, do not pay fees. The postgraduate programs of the Mediterranean Institute of Management (MIM) involve fees which are set at €3,426 per year and are payable to the institution.
Financial support for learners’ families
There are no tax benefits for parents or family allowances. However, the family's financial position has an impact on the financial support granted to the learner (see sub-section below).
Financial support for learners
Targeted measures for student welfare
A package of targeted measures for student financial support is available from the Government to undergraduate Cypriot and EU students of public and private universities and public institutions of higher education provided that their family’s gross annual income does not exceed the maximum amount of €12,000. The measures cover student accommodation; transport; food; purchase of books; and, purchase of PCs (for students in the first year of studies only). A new Student Welfare Service has been established to manage the student grant and the student allowances.
A 'student grant' can be awarded to short cycle and 1st and 2nd cycle students to support their studies in Cyprus or abroad. To be eligible students must have resided in Cyprus for at least five years before enrolment. Grants are based on a mixture of need- and merit-based criteria, as they are awarded on the basis of an assessment of the financial situation/socio-economic conditions of the students and academic performance. The amount of the grant is based on family income. A need-based grant amounts to €3,692 maximum, while a merit-based grant ranges from €3,000 to €4,000. The percentage of recipients of grants among full-time, first-cycle students was 10% in the academic year 2016-2017. Merit-based grants were 2% and need-based grants 10%. ?/?
The 'student allowance' is a targeted need-based grant to cover living, books, rental, and computer expenses of 1st cycle students based on their socioeconomic status. The amount is €3,692 per year.
Study loans are available only for owners of property in the occupied part of Cyprus. This is a state loan for 1st, 2nd and 3rd cycle students who study in Cyprus or abroad. The annual amount ranges from €1,700 to €8,000 and should cover living expenses and tuition fees. Repayment, in general, starts one year after graduation and should be completed within 20 years. The interest rate of the loan is 1.75 %.
Around 1.5 % of students take out the loan.
Scholarships are available both to undergraduate and postgraduate students. The Cyprus State Scholarship Foundation (Ίδρυμα Κρατικών Υποτροφιών Κύπρου – Ι.Κ.Υ.Κ.) awards scholarships based on students' academic performance. Students studying in 1st cycle programs may receive up to €3,000 per year, in 2nd cycle programs €4,000 per year, and €4,000 in a Ph.D. program (3rd cycle).
Scholarships are also available to Greek students in Cyprus. By decision of the Council of Ministers, the Government of Cyprus grants scholarships to Greek nationals accepted to public universities in Cyprus, on the basis of their results in the Pan-Hellenic Entrance Examinations.
A number of state scholarships are granted to Cypriots and Greeks of diaspora on the basis of socio-economic and academic criteria as well.
According to a Memorandum of Cooperation in Education, signed by the governments of Greek and Cyprus for the years 2011 – 2016, the two countries reciprocally provide a number of scholarships for postgraduate studies or research.
Student Identification Card and Youth Card
The Youth Board of Cyprus in collaboration with the Ministry of Education and Culture are issuing the Student Identification Card to students in Cyprus and abroad. All students registered in accredited programs are eligible for a student card.
The Student Identification Card offers benefits exclusively for students of Higher Education and it is connected to the Youth Card Euro < 26 STUDENT offering low prices to products and services in Cyprus and in 41 countries in Europe.
A number of other measures provide financial support to students in Cyprus, such as free medical and pharmaceutical care offered by all public hospitals; scholarships and prizes offered by their schools on the basis of economic and academic criteria, as well as individuals, organisations or industries; guidance on financial problems and financial support by the Student Welfare Funds. A monthly salary is granted to students of the Police Academy during their three-year training.
Private HEIs mainly raise their fund from tuition fees. Students at the private institutions, either at the university or the non-university level of studies, pay fees, which are set by the Councils of the institutions and approved by the Ministry of Education and Culture. As noted earlier (see sub-section on Financial Support for Learners), the undergraduate students of private institutions of higher education are eligible to the package of targeted measures of the Government for Cypriot and EU students, provided that their family’s gross annual income does not exceed the maximum amount of €12,000.