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EACEA National Policies Platform:Eurydice
Types of higher education institutions


7.Higher education

7.1Types of higher education institutions

Last update: 27 November 2023

According to the Greek Constitution (article 16), higher education is public. No private HEIs exist in the country.

Admission of students has to do with their performance in the national pan-hellenic exams at the end of grade C of lykeio (upper secondary school).

According to law 4777/2021 for the admission to higher education institutions a number of criteria, by priority order, is taken into consideration:

  1. The Minimum Admission requirements of each department, faculty.
  2. The total sum of marks gained in the 4 lessons being examined in the pan-hellenic exams at each scientific field.

More specifically:

The Hellenic Open University is an independent and fully self-governed HEI in the form of legal entity of public law.  Its seat is in Patras.  Its mission is to provide high-quality university education via distance learning at both undergraduate and postgraduate level. Law 2552/1997 regulates its operation.

The International Hellenic University is an independent and fully self-governed HEI. It has registered offices in Thessaloniki.  It operates as an academic unit of the institution called "University Centre of International Programmes Studies", stipulated by law 4610/2019 with the aim to provide higher education in a foreign language to Greeks and foreigners.

In 2002, the technological sector merged the School of Pedagogical and Technological Education (ASPETE). It was established in Athens to substitute the former School of Vocational and Technical Teacher Training Institute (SELETE).  It includes 3 departments of engineering educators of various specialisations.  It offers technological excellence to graduates.  It also has a pedagogical department.  Its mission is to provide knowledge to undergraduates in the field of humanities and science studies.

Law 4521/2018 established the University of West Attica. It is the merger of two technological educational institutes:

  • TEI of Piraeus
  • TEI of Athens.

In addition, law 4559/2018 introduced two more mergers:

  1. The merger of the TEI of Epirus with the University of Ioannina
  2. The merger of the TEI of Ionian Islands with the Ionian University.

According to law 4610/2019:

  1. The International Hellenic University has merged with:
  • The TEI of Thessaloniki
  • The TEI of Central Macedonia
  • The TEI of Eastern Macedonia and Thrace.
  1. The University of Western Macedonia has merged with the TEI of Western Macedonia
  2. The Greek Mediterranean University has been established and has merged the TEI of Crete
  3. The University of Patras has merged the TEI of Western Greece (except for 4 departments)
  4. The University of the Peloponnese has merged the TEI of Peloponnese and 4 departments of the TEI of Western Greece
  5. The University of West Attica has merged the National School of Public Health (ESDY).

According to law 4589/2019, the following are being completed:

  • The merge of University of Thessaly and the TEI of Thessaly
  • The merge of the TEI of Central Greece with the University of Athens, the University of Thessaly and  the Agricultural University of Athens (Geoponiko Panepistimio Athinon).

The Military Educational Institutions (ASEI) are equivalent to those of the university sector.  They offer equivalent higher education and degrees (law 3187/2003).

Merchant Naval Academies (AEN) are state institutes of higher education under the Ministry of Shipping and Island Policy. Since 2005-2006, AEN are equivalent to TEIs.

Last, the state offers vocational and other specialised training in institutions of higher learning.  The duration of studies does not exceed 3 years.  The following fall under this category: