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Higher education funding

Czechia

3.Funding in education

3.2Higher education funding

Last update: 9 February 2024

 

Funding

Tertiary education is provided by higher education institutions and tertiary professional schools. Financing of tertiary professional schools is governed by the Education Act, and financing of higher education institutions is set by the Higher Education Act.

 

Funding of tertiary professional schools

The tertiary professional schools (vyšší odborné školy) are funded under the Education Act. The funding principles are explained in the part Early childhood and school education funding. In these schools, students partly make a contribution to the costs (for details, see Fees at tertiary professional schools).

 

Funding of higher education institutions

The basic principles of funding of higher education institutions (vysoké školy) are set by the Higher Education Act. The principles of financing public higher education institutions are set out in Part Two, the principles of financing private higher education institutions in Part Three and the principles of financing public higher education institutions in Part Sixteen of this Act.

State higher education institutions are funded from the state budget i.e. from the budgetary resources of the central bodies which administer the relevant institutions (the Defence University predominantly from the Ministry of Defence, the Police Academy from the Ministry of Interior). In the above-mentioned cases, the Higher Education Act permits the provision of funds to a military university and the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports. This provision is related to security studies students who are not active service soldiers. The Higher Education Act also lists the competencies of the Ministry of Defence and the Ministry of the Interior for the respective state universities. In the area of funding these are specifically the distribution of the state budget resources and the control of legality and efficiency of resource handling. Furthermore, for example, these Ministries set the level of fees at their institutions.

A legal entity authorised to operate as a private higher education institution is obliged to secure funds for its educational and scientific, research, developmental, artistic, or other creative activities. The Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports may provide private higher education institutions with funding for the types of scholarships defined, see Private higher education institutions.

The financing of public higher education institutions, described in this section, comes from a number of sources. The main source (about 70 % of the public higher education institutions' annual income) is the state budget (Chapter of the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports). Other resources are the means provided by other public resources (from state resources, the National Fund, regional and municipal budgets), yields of auxiliary activities, fees associated with studies, returns on property, or gifts and legacies.

Public higher education institutions must draw up balanced budgets. The final account settlement with the state budget and financial audit is carried out at the end of a calendar year and the results are submitted to the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports (for the monitoring of the management of higher education institutions, see Accreditation and external evaluation in Chapter 11).

Revenue from the state budget

The basic principles of the financing of public higher education institutions (vysoké školy) are set out in Section 18 and Section 18a of the Higher Education Act.

The most important source of income for the public higher education budget is the state budget which is annually set by the State Budget Act. The funds are provided to the public higher education institution in a decisive amount through Chapter 333 of the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports (MEYS), in the following three forms:

  1. Contribution from the state budget to educational activities and related scientific and research, development, and innovation, artistic or other creative activities (hereinafter “educational and creative activities”);
  2. Support for research, experimental development, and innovation from public budgets (provided pursuant to a special regulation – the Act on the Support of Research, Experimental Development, and Innovation);
  3. Subsidy from the state budget (hereinafter “subsidies”).

1) The contribution for educational and creative activities, which is the decisive item of institutional financing of public higher education institutions, is (according to Section 18 (3) of the Higher Education Act, without setting its amount) an eligible income of the public higher education institution.

Under the Higher Education Act, the type and financial intensity of accredited degree programmes and lifelong learning programmes, the number of students and the achieved results in educational and creative activities and their intensity are decisive for determining the amount of the provided contribution. The decisive factor for determining the amount of the contribution is also the strategic plan of educational and creative activities for the field of higher education, elaborated by the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports (at present the Strategic Plan of the Ministry for Higher Education for the period from 2021) and the annual plan for the implementation of this strategic plan and the strategic plan of the public higher education institution.

Pursuant to Section 18a (1) of the Higher Education Act, the Ministry of Education decides on the granting of a contribution by a decision based on a written application of a public higher education institution. It is provided to public HEIs during the year on the basis of a processed payment calendar. In order to ensure activity at the beginning of the year, public HEIs are granted an advanced payment for the contribution.

2) Support for research, experimental development and innovation is provided to the extent and under the conditions stipulated by the Act on Support of Research, Experimental Development and Innovation, as institutional or targeted support.

3) The entitlement to a subsidy for the development of a public higher education institution is stipulated in Section 18 (5) of the Higher Education Act. In addition, a subsidy may be granted to a public higher education institution in particular for student accommodation and meals. The Ministry of Education decides on the granting of a subsidy on the basis of a written application of a public higher education institution. The amount of the subsidy is determined by the strategic plan of the public higher education institution and the strategic plan of the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports. In the form of a grant, public universities are also provided with funds for projects co-financed by the EU.

Specific procedures for financing public higher education institutions from Chapter 333 of the MEYS, with the exception of program funding (EDS / SMVS), research and development (hereinafter referred to as “R&D”) and subsidies for EU programs, are described in detail in The Rules for allocating contributions and subventions to the public higher education institutions by the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport (the “Rules”). The Rules are updated annually and, after consultation with HEIs representatives, approved by the Ministry of Education and published on its website.

Funds provided according to the “Rules” are divided into 4 budget headings (BH_I – BH_IV):

1/ Budget heading I – The institutional part of the budget represents approximately 80 % of the total budget (BH_I – BH_IV). These funds are provided in the form of a contribution to the operation of public universities. "Budgetary sphere I" consists of three parts - a fixed part, a power part and, since 2019, a part called 'social demand'.

The fixed part, which accounts for about 80% of the budget heading I (without earmarked funds for social demand), is the basic stabilizing factor for the management of public HEIs. The amount of funding provided to individual public higher education institutions is based on their performance in educational activities. The fixed part guarantees to the HEI that with stable performance, measured by the number of students and the financial demands of provided study programmes, it will be granted a predictable financial amount with regard to the possibilities of the state budget.

The fact of stable performances is verified by comparing the actual values as of 31.10 of the current academic year with the values in the reference year for which the shares of individual schools in the funds were set, in the following two parameters:

  • the number of full-time equivalent studies enrolled in first grades of all types of study programmes
  • the value of the average coefficient of economic demandingness of these studies

The performance-related part in the amount of the remaining 20 % (without earmarked funds for social demand) represents the financial incentive tool of the Ministry of Education especially for improving the quality of educational and creative activities of public HEIs. The amount of funds provided to individual HEIs is based on their success in comparing a set of performance and quality indicators. In their current form, these indicators are:

  • Graduation rate
  • International mobility
  • Employability of graduates
  • Results of research, development, and innovation
  • Results of artistic activities
  • External incomes
  • Number of students-self-payers and revenues from their studies
  • Number of foreigners in academic staff

In order to maximize the objectivity of the evaluation of the performance part indicators, public HEIs are divided into 4 segments, in which the comparison takes place, based on a match in the set parameters (art HEIs, non-university HEIs), or on the basis of the comparable size and research and development outputs.

The setting of financial contribution in the section “social demand” (currently there is the support of medical faculties for increasing the number of students in the study programme General Medicine, support for improving the conditions of academic staff at the faculties of education, support of faculties of education and of other faculties providing study programmes educating prospective teachers, and support of study programmes educating prospective teachers in deficit specialisations at non-pedagogical faculties (mathematics, physics, chemistry, biology, informatics) is based on expert evaluation of costs needed for a specific purpose and on the possibilities of the state budget.

2/ Budget heading II – Social affairs of students; in the extent of approximately 10 % of the total budget (BH_I – BH_IV) includes funds provided to public higher education institutions in the form of a contribution for scholarships for doctoral students, social scholarships, and accommodation scholarships, resp. in the form of subsidies for support for student accommodation and meals. Furthermore, funds intended for subsidies for scholarships for students studying at private HEIs are included in this budget heading.

3/ Budget heading III – Development of HEIs; represents about 5 % of the total budget and contains funds for the development of public HEIs. The funds are provided in the form of subsidies for centralised development programmes and in the form of a contribution to the implementation of the Programme for the Support of Strategic Management of Higher Education Institutions 2022–2025, former the contribution to the implementation of institutional plans.

4/ Budget heading IV – International cooperation and others represent the remaining approx. 5 % of the total budget in headings I – IV. This budget heading supports the international cooperation of public higher education institutions (support for stays abroad of students and academic staff within the framework of programs established by international agreements or bilateral contracts of public higher education institutions) and supports educational activities of public HEIs from the indicator F – Education Policy Fund. Through the use of this fund, long-term support for the study of students with special educational needs and support for lifelong education programmes for seniors within the so-called Universities of the Third Age is provided. The fund also supported education in socially important areas, such as support for study programs important for the security of the state or support for creative artistic activity. In 2021, the F-Fund also supported students with Belarusian citizenship who were prevented from studying in their home country. 

A significant share of financing of public higher education institutions is represented by the funds from Chapter 333 of the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports for research and development, provided on the basis of the Act on Support of Research, Experimental Development and Innovation, funding for programme financing and resources obtained through the participation of schools in projects supported by EU (operational programmes and newly through the National Recovery Plan).

Other public sources of funding for public higher education institutions are funds provided from other chapters of the state budget, resources from local government budgets or public funds from abroad.

 

Other revenue

Other revenues used by the higher education institutions (vysoké školy) for their activities are as follows:

  • Yields from the property come from the management of assets, which are directly owned by a public higher education institution, namely to the extent of free capacity after its use for the activities for which the higher education institution was established. Such assets consist of movable and immovable assets, rights and other asset values.
  • Yields from the main activity are represented by payments for education provided, in addition to accredited study programmes.
  • Yields from complementary activities, which are payments for other than educational activities, i.e. when a public higher education institution uses its expertise to provide paid services, e.g. expert and analytical activities for the clients. At the same time, complementary activities must not endanger the quality, scope, and accessibility of the institution's core activities.
  • Income from fees associated with studies, see Fees at higher education institutions.

A public higher education institution may also use non-budgetary resources acquired by means of competitions organised by various domestic and foreign grant agencies and funds and sponsorship.

 

Financial autonomy and control

Financial autonomy and control of the tertiary profession schools (vyšší odborné školy) is described in section Financial autonomy and control in early childhood and school education.

The basis of financial management of a public higher education institution (vysoká škola) is its budget set for the calendar year. The budget of a public higher education institution must not be drawn up in such a way that it foresees a deficit. The budget is used exclusively to finance activities for which the higher education institution was established, as well as to finance supplementary activities (for details about supplementary activities funding see Other revenue).

According to the Higher Education Act, the following funds are established by the public higher education institution:

  • a reserve fund, whose main purpose is to cover losses during subsequent accounting periods
  • a capital assets regeneration fund
  • a scholarship and bursary fund
  • a fund for bonuses
  • a fund for earmarked financial resources
  • a social fund
  • a fund for operational purposes

The Act at the same time sets the principles of establishment and possibilities of use of these funds. The reserve fund, the fund for bonuses, the capital assets regeneration fund, and the fund for operational purposes are made from profits (after tax); the last two funds are established also from the balance of state financial contribution to HEIs activities. The scholarship and bursary fund is composed predominantly of study fees. The resources from the earmarked financial resources fund can be used by the HEI only for the purposes for which they were provided. The Act also regulates the conditions of transfers between funds.

The specific conditions of use of these funds are set by internal regulations of the particular HEI. The resources from the earmarked financial resources fund can be used by the HEI only for the purposes for which they were provided. For details see Other revenue).

Fees within public higher education

 

Fees at tertiary professional schools

All tertiary professional schools (vyšší odborné školy), including public ones, levy tuition fees, which constitute an income for the legal entity of a school. The level of tuition fees in individual study fields of tertiary professional schools, which are established by the state, a region, a municipality, or union of municipalities, is set by the school head. The conditions, due dates of tuition fees, options for reductions or exemptions from such tuition fees and the maximum level of fees to be charged are set by the Decree on Tertiary Professional Education. According to the Decree, the fees for public institutions currently are between 2 500 CZK and 5 000 CZK a year (between EUR 106 and EUR 212; EUR/CZK 23.67 – 23 February 2023). The law sets the highest possible payment according to the field of education of the tertiary professional school. In exceptional cases, the school head may decrease the charges by up to 50 % for a student. Usually, the fees are to be paid in two instalments (the winter and summer terms).

Fees at private and denominational schools – see Private tertiary professional schools.

Fees at higher education institutions

A public higher education institution (vysoká škola) can set:

  • fees for the admission procedures
  • fees for study/tuition fees in case of exceeding the standard length of study prolonged by one year
  • fees for study in a foreign language

In the first two cases, the fee amount is derived from the so-called basis for setting fees relating to the studies, which is announced by the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports annually, up to January 31. The basis is 5 % of the average formula funding (i.e. of non-capital expenditure funded by the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports from the state budget to public higher education institutions in the previous calendar year). For the academic year 2022/23, the Ministry of Education set the base to 4 418 CZK (EUR 187; EUR/CZK 23.67 – 23 February 2023). 

Fees for the admission procedure are not more than 20 % of the basis (see above), usually CZK 600 – 800 (EUR 25 - 34; EUR/CZK 23.67 – 23 February 2023). 

According to the Higher Education Act, fees for study are applied by the HEI to a student who takes more than one year over the standard time to complete a Bachelor's or Master's degree study programme. The fee is at least 1.5 times the base for every further six months of study in which the student attends the institution. The standard duration of study includes any time studying on previous uncompleted programmes; on the contrary, the period of parenthood is not taken into account.

The actual amount of fees (or exemption from them – see Financial support for learners) is set by the higher education institutions. The head of higher education institution (rektor) may reduce the fees, waive or defer the date of payment of the fees, taking into account the study results and the social circumstances of a student.

If students are taught in languages other than Czech, the public higher education institution sets study fees. The law does not set any limits on this fee.

The courses within lifelong learning can be provided either for free or fee-based.

"Zeroth years" are usually fee-based.

The fees for studies at state higher education institutions are set by the Ministry of Defence and by the Ministry of the Interior.

The income from fees (with the exception of fees for a study in a foreign language) constitutes a scholarship fund, which may not be used for any other purposes.

Fees at private higher education institutions – see Private higher education institutions.

 

Financial support for learners' families

One parent can make a claim for the tax benefit (a tax relief or a tax bonus) for each "dependent child", up to the age of 26. Under the Act on Income Taxes in the case of a disabled child, the tax benefit increases to twice the amount.

Since the legal age (is 18) child allowance is allocated to students directly (according to the Act on State Social Support).

For details see Financial support for learners' families in early childhood and school education.

Financial support for learners

Students (and where relevant, their families) can receive financial support from the budget of the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs and from higher educational institutions using the budget of the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports.

Pupils and students can receive child allowance until the age of 26 depending on the financial situation of the family and regardless of the type of school.

Health care is free of charge under the general health insurance system. Health insurance for pupils and students is paid by the state till the age of 26.

A student who is working can reduce the tax up to the age of 26 (respectively 28 in the case of a student of an on-site doctoral study programme).

See detail in Financial support for learners' families in early childhood and school education.

 

Support for students at tertiary professional schools

Tertiary professional schools (vyšší odborné školy) may provide school meals or accommodation if necessary. The charges for school meals are set within the range of financial limits set by the Decree on School Catering; i.e. for the purchase of food, this is CZK 24 to 54 for lunch (EUR 1 – 2 ; EUR/CZK 23.67 – 23 February 2023) and CZK 77 to 169 for the whole day (EUR 2 to 4). The charges for accommodation are regulated by a separate decree. The level depends on whether a room is classified as category I or II. For category I, the charges can be at the maximum of CZK 1 600 for every calendar month (EUR 68); for category II, CZK 900 per bed for every calendar month (EUR 38; EUR/CZK 23.67 – 23 February 2023).

Further special assistance is available for students in the form of educational and psychological services.

The head of a tertiary professional school may, with the consent of the founder, issue Scholarship Rules according to which pupils and students may be granted scholarships for excellent results.

The system of reduced fares is described in Financial support for learners in early childhood and school education.

 

Support for students at higher education institutions

Grants / scholarships are granted to students by their institution or faculty in compliance with the scholarship regulations, which are included in the internal regulations of the institution, in the following circumstances:

  • excellent academic achievement
  • excellent achievement in research, development, innovation, arts and in other creative activities contributing to the deepening of knowledge
  • for research, development, and innovation activities
  • for a student in a difficult social situation
  • other situations deserving attention (based on this category, support for accommodation is provided)
  • to support studying abroad
  • to support studying in Czechia
  • for students of doctoral programmes

Awarded scholarships are financed from the scholarship fund of a higher education institution, from subsidy or from financial contribution. For this purpose, the budget breakdown of the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports for higher education institutions (vysoké školy) establishes separate indicators through which individual HEIs are provided with financial amounts for specific scholarships.

Under the Higher Education Actsocial scholarship is granted to students of all higher education institutions who are entitled to the child allowance according to special legislation and whose relevant family income, ascertained for child allowance purposes, does not exceed 1.5 times the amount of the family subsistence minimum. The scholarship is awarded for a standard period of ten months in an academic year; the monthly amount of the scholarship corresponds to a quarter of the basic minimum wage rate per month. In 2022, the monthly amount of social scholarship was CZK 4 050 (EUR 171; EUR/CZK 23.67 – 23 February 2023).  

Funds for accommodation scholarships are provided to the HEI for students who meet the conditions set out in the Rules, i.e. study in the first study on-site, do not exceed the standard length of study and do not have a permanent residence in the district in which their place of study is located (in the case of study in the capital city of Prague, the student may not have a permanent address in Prague). The amount provided to the higher education institution is based on the budget possibilities of the state budget and in recent years it has been constant 5 400 CZK / student/year (EUR 228; EUR/CZK 23.67 – 23 February). The aggregate contribution is provided to a higher education institution, which according to the rules laid down in its internal regulation will award it to students in the form of a scholarship.

Public higher education institutions receive a separate part of the contribution for grants for students in doctoral programmes studying on-site within the standard duration. The amount provided by the Ministry of Education is 135 000 CZK per year and student (EUR 5 703; EUR/CZK 23.67 – 23 February 2023). The specific amount of scholarship is set in accordance with the internal scholarship rules of a particular HEI. Grants are usually smaller in the first year of study and higher in the years to follow.

Scholarships funded by the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports are also granted, depending on the programmes announced by the Minister and with respect to commitments arising from international treaties which Czechia has signed up to.

Meals are provided to students of higher education institutions in student canteens at subsidised prices which represent another non-direct student support from the budget of the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports.

Students benefit from favourable conditions for sport, physical fitness and a healthy lifestyle in public and state institutions, and sports clubs and other facilities are free at most higher education institutions. The same is expected of private higher education institutions.

The rector (rektor) may also, on the basis of the Act, choose to reduce fees, exempt a student from paying them (see Higher education institutions in the section on fees) or defer payment with regard to a student's achievements or social situation.

Reduced fares are described in Financial support for learners in early childhood and school education.

 

Private education

 

Private tertiary professional schools

Private tertiary professional schools (vyšší odborné školy) follow the rules set for private regional education. Tertiary professional schools can be established by e.g. a physical entity, joint stock company, limited company, civic association, and foundation. See more about the principles of their funding in Private schools in early childhood and school education. Private tertiary professional schools set their tuition fees themselves, according to the material and technical complexity of a given study field. The fees usually range from CZK 10 000 to 35 000 (EUR from 422 to 1 479; EUR/CZK 23.67 – 23 February 2023). 

Fees at denominational tertiary professional schools are usually similar to those of the public ones (see Denominational schools in early childhood and school education).

 

Private higher education institutions

Under the terms of the Higher Education Act, a legal entity authorised to operate as a private institution of higher learning is obliged to secure funds for its educational and scientific, research, developmental, artistic or other creative activities. The main part of their revenue predominantly comes from tuition fees. Private higher education institutions (vysoké školy) set study fees in their internal regulation, even for the standard length of study. These fees are not regulated by any legislation.

With effect from 1 January 2018, a provision was removed from the Higher Education Act, in the part concerning private higher education institutions, until then on the basis of the Higher Education Act, to obtain a state subsidy from the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports to support the development of the accredited study and lifelong learning programmes, related scientific, research, development and innovation, artistic or other creative activities. The only case of support for the implementation of accredited study programs at a private university, where the subsidy is provided as compensation for the provision of services of general economic interest and fulfilment of public service obligations (in study programs "nursing" and "midwifery" in connection with insufficient provision of graduates from public higher education sector) is therefore implemented on the basis of the Act on Budgetary Rules.

According to the Higher Education Act, private higher education institutions receive a subsidy to cover social grants in the amount set by law. Subsidies allocated to a private higher education institution for accommodation scholarships are provided under the same conditions as in the case of public higher education institutions. The conditions and procedures for allocating subsidies are set out in the Rules for Providing Subsidies to Private Higher Education Institutions.

The provision of subsidies to private higher education institutions for research and development is governed by specific directives regulating the support of research and development.