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EACEA National Policies Platform:Eurydice
Higher education funding


3.Funding in education

3.2Higher education funding

Last update: 27 November 2023


Under the Law on Higher Education and Research, funds for higher education and research institutions are comprised of the following:

  • basic state budget financing for state higher education and research institutions, 
  • state budget appropriations to higher education and research institutions for studies, 
  • state investment programmes and projects provided to state higher education and research institutions, 
  • income received as tuition fees as well as income received from commercial, research activities and services rendered, 
  • competitive funding of research programmes, 
  • donations from state foundations, 
  • funding from international and foreign foundations and organisations, 
  • charitable donations made under the Law on Charity and Sponsorship, 
  • other legitimately received funds. 

Funds from the basic state finance budget are allocated to state higher education and research institutions for research, experimental development (social, cultural), artistic activities, administration, economic, and other needs. The funds are allocated based on evaluations of the research/artistic activities of these state higher education and research institutions.

The state budget also funds study tuition fees for student places which are funded by the state,  reimburses tuition fees paid by the best-performing students in non-state-funded study places,, including targeted funding of studies, state loans or state-supported loans, social scholarships and other support.

The Minister of Education, Science and Sport announces a preliminary number of state-funded student places for the first cycle and integrated studies in each study area or a set of study fields by 16 February of each year. The Minister also annually approves a standard tuition fee for all study cycles and study programmes which do not award a degree (i.e. the size of the student’s basket) which is calculated taking into consideration the qualification requirements for the teaching staff, the student-teacher ratio and studies-related expenses for the acquisition of goods and services. The standard tuition fee helps higher education institutions fix the tuition fee for fee-paying studies. In cases where a tuition fee fixed by a higher education institution does not exceed the standard tuition fee, the tuition fee of the institution is paid using the state budget funds. In cases where a tuition fee fixed by a higher education institution exceeds the standard tuition fee, the state budget funds are used to cover the standard tuition fee.

Admission to state-funded study programmes of the first cycle and integrated study programmes, is organised centrally. It is administered by the Lithuanian Higher Institutions Association for Organising Joint Admission (Lithuanian acronym – LAMA BPO). To get enrolled into different study fields or areas, school leavers, are ranked based on the results of the Matura examinations. . In order to apply for state-funded study places at universities, a person must have passed the Lithuanian language, foreign language and maths state exams, while those applying to colleges must have passed either the state or school Lithuanian language, foreign language and maths exams. An exception will be applied for applicants willing to study art programmes in higher education institutions. 

The number of state-funded student places of the second cycle and doctoral studies and also studies which do not award a degree, is fixed by the Government each year prior to 11 March. It considers concrete study fields, takes account of national economic, social and cultural development needs as well as the financial capability of the state. Student places for second cycle studies and studies which do not award a degree are distributed among universities by the Ministry of Education, Science and Sport, according to the results of their research/artistic activities and/or the choice of those enrolling in study programmes for the first cycle and integrated study programmes according to a study or research field. Doctoral student places are distributed for higher education and research institutions by the Ministry of Education, Science and Sport, in accordance with the results of research/artistic activities and doctoral studies.

In November 2012, the Government approved the procedure for allocation of state budgetary funds for non-state higher education Institutions. It states that if there are any specific factors preventing particular specialists from being trained at the state higher education institutions, budgetary funds may be allocated for their studies at non-state higher education institutions or a branch of a foreign higher education institution established in Lithuania.

Targeted higher education funding

Targeted higher education funding for the implementation of specific but often not popular study programmes was introduced in Lithuania in 2012. It took into account the demand for particular specialists necessary to the state and the further development of different regions and industries. Students on the artistic programmes have a possibility to gain the grant. 

The higher education institutions may gain the targeted financing not only for the studies of the first-year students, but also for the studies of already existing students to partially cover their study fees and continue their studies. When allocating targeted funding, the student, the higher education institution and the employer sign a three-way agreement that also defines the conditions of funding. The employer is required to contribute to the funding of the future employee’s studies and once qualified, the student must continue to work for the employer for another three years. A poorly performing student or a student that does not comply with the agreement loses the targeted funding and has re-pay the already invested funding back to the state. All responsibilities and an example of a three-way agreement are presented in the Description of the implementation of the allocation of the state’s targeted funding study programmes.

Financial autonomy and control

The Law on Higher Education and Research specifies that a higher education institution enjoys an autonomy which covers academic, administrative, economic and financial management activities and is based on the principle of self-governance and academic freedom. A higher education institution has the right to choose its study and personal development fields, the direction and form of its research and experimental development (social, cultural), professional artistic activities and its dissemination of cultural and scientific knowledge. It can define a portfolio of studies, fix tuition fees, prepare and approve study programmes in compliance with the requirements laid down under legislation, provide other education, including, continuing professional development and expert services, and publish study-related, scientific and other literature. An institution is free to establish its own structure, internal working arrangements, staff numbers, their rights, duties and conditions of payment for work, staff position requirements, the procedures for recruitment and selection to fill vacant positions and conduct performance evaluation of employees. It can admit or exclude students in accordance with the procedure laid down by its statute, award student scholarships from its own or sponsors’ funds, and set forms of cooperation with natural and legal persons of Lithuania and other countries. It can also manage, use and dispose of its assets, and carry out commercial activities that are legal and are directly associated with the targets of the institution.

These institutions are accountable, under the relevant legislation, for how they use the allocated, targeted state budget funds. For each higher education institution, their internal audit service, and the National Audit Office, check the effective use of state budget funds in a particular higher education institution.   

Fees within public higher education

Students who study at state-funded, state higher education institutions do not have to pay to the institution any fees directly related to the implementation of the study programme. Anyone who has been enrolled in a student place not funded by the state, must personally cover the cost of the tuition fees, as determined by the higher education institution. Alternatively, a tuition fee or part thereof, not funded by the state, may be covered by their employer, a higher education institution or other natural and legal persons.

An individual can retrospectively apply for a state-funded student place once they have been awarded their first higher education degree. 

Financial support for families of students with special educational needs

The provision of financial support for disabled people studying at institutions of higher education is regulated by the Procedure for Providing Financial Support to Disabled Students Seeking Higher Education. It sets out the financial aid measures and amounts available to people with disabilities studying at higher education institutions, the conditions for awarding, granting and terminating these measures, the procedures for financing the financial aid measures and any reporting on the use of the funds received. Financial aid measures are described in more detail in Chapter 12.5, Specific support measures

This category of financial support is administered by the Department for the Affairs of the Disabled under the Ministry of Social Security and Labour. The department also provides all the necessary information concerning this form of support. 

Financial support for learners' families

Under the Law on Income Tax for Individuals (2002), residents of Lithuania are entitled to a deduction from their annual taxable income for payments made by them during the tax period for studies, including doctoral studies, dependent upon the prior completion of a first higher education and/or a first relevant qualification. In the event that a studying resident of Lithuania is under 26 years of age and is not an income tax payer or has no possibility to exercise this right to have payments for studies deducted from their income, one of their parents/foster parents or guardians may have those expenses deducted instead. As a result, the studying resident or one of their parents may recover part of the tuition fees paid.

Financial support for learners

State-supported loans

The granting of state-supported loans started in the autumn semester of 2009. A state-supported loan is a loan that has a state guarantee and is provided by a credit institution. Eligible students are short-term, first cycle, integrated study, second cycle, doctoral, residents, VET students, i.e. persons having the status of a student. Exceptions include:

  • those who have received loans where the amount of the state loan applied for, excluding interest, would be higher than the maximum amount of the loans, i.e. the maximum amount of the basic social allowance under the 505 basic social benefits (€24,745).
  • anyone who has temporarily suspended their higher education studies or are on academic leave.
  • those in default of their obligations under agreements concluded for state loans or state-supported loans.
  • foreigners, except for citizens of the Member States of the European Union and other countries of the European Economic Area and permanent residents of Lithuania.

State-supported loans include:

  • loans for the payment of tuition fees: within one year of studies, the size of this loan cannot exceed the amount of tuition fees paid by the student for one year of studies or part thereof (if the particular institution of higher education and research provides a discount on the tuition fee). The loan is paid directly into the higher education institution's account. 
  • loans for living expenses: within one year of studies, the size of this loan cannot exceed €3,920 a year. It is paid in equal instalments each month until 1 July of each year (or until the end of studies for final-year students), into the borrower's personal account. 
  • loans for the payment of partial studies under international (interdepartmental) agreements: within one year of studies, the size of this loan cannot exceed €2,940. It is paid into the borrower's personal account in one sum. 

Repayment of state-supported loans begins 12 months after the student’s graduation, termination of studies, or expulsion from an institution of higher education. The loan repayment period is 15 years. Borrowers start paying interest on the principal amount to the credit institution immediately after receipt of the first instalment of the loan. Interest is paid on the amount loaned and amount outstanding. 

Scholarships for students of doctoral studies

All full-time science and arts doctoral students whose doctoral studies are financed by the State are provided with doctoral scholarships, the amounts of which are:

  • €760 (19 basic social benefits) for first-year doctoral students.
  • €880 (22 basic social benefits) for second-, third- and fourth-year doctoral students.

These scholarships are paid from the university scholarship fund.

Doctoral students who carry out extensive research and doctoral art students who carry out extensive research or create and publicly perform works of art, are eligible for studies results support. This support can be up to 96 basic social allowances (€3,840) a year.

Doctoral students can also receive financial support to cover the expenses of an academic trip (trip to an international art or science event to present their scientific research or work of art, participation in an international seminar or doctoral students’ school, or traineeship in a scientific or educational institution, or any other institution that carries out scientific research). This financial support is given once per year and cannot exceed €1,140 (30 basic social allowances). 

Scholarships for academic achievements and financial support are allocated by the Research Council of Lithuania according to the Description of the Allocation and Payment of Scholarships for Academic Achievements and Financial Support for Doctoral Students.

Incentive scholarships

Incentive scholarships for the best performing students may be awarded from the funds of higher education institutions or other funds, taking into consideration a student’s academic results or other academic achievements. The funding of incentive scholarships in state institutions of higher education is established and these scholarships are awarded in accordance with a procedure that must be approved by the university senate (or academic council of a college) in coordination with student representatives. 

Study scholarships

A study scholarship is assistance provided by the State to the best-performing students who have completed their secondary education programme and who are enrolled in study places not funded by the State. The annual study scholarship is equal to the normative cost of studies. If the annual cost of studies set by a particular institution of higher education is lower than the normative cost of studies, the amount of the scholarship is equal to the cost set by the institution.

Social scholarships

Social scholarships are described in more detail in Chapter 12.5 Specific support measures.

Targeted scholarships

To enhance the attractiveness of study areas that are important to the State, targeted scholarships are additionally paid to the best performing students in marine or teacher training study programmes.

Presidential Nominal scholarships

In 1995, The Ministry of Education, Science and Sport established Presidential Scholarships to honour the Presidents of the Republic of Lithuania and to encourage the best Lithuanian students.

Up to thirty nominal Presidential Scholarships are awarded annually to the most talented students of public higher education institutions as follows:

  • 10 Antanas Smetona Scholarships for representatives of the humanities and arts study groups
  • 5 Aleksandras Stulginskis scholarships for representatives of mathematics, computer science and the physical sciences study groups
  • 5 Kazis Grinius scholarships for representatives of the life, health, veterinary, agriculture and sports study groups
  • 5 Jonas Žemaitis Scholarships for representatives of engineering and the technological sciences study groups
  • 5 Algirdas Brazauskas scholarships for representatives of the social sciences, educational sciences, law, business and public management study groups.

Of the five named scholarships for each field of study, one is awarded to a college student (€200, equivalent to 5 basic social allowances), two are awarded to a bachelor's degree student at a university (€200, equivalent to 5 times the basic social allowance), and two are awarded to a master's student (€280, equivalent to 7 times the basic social allowance). These scholarships are awarded for one year of study in recognition of academic excellence and scholarly activity. Candidates for the scholarships are selected on the basis of their academic performance, their study grades, scientific and artistic activities, participation in competitions, expeditions, research projects, published scientific papers, etc.

Support for Lithuanians abroad

The State Studies Foundation provides support for Lithuanians abroad who have completed their upper secondary education under the education programmes of foreign countries and international organisations, and also Lithuanians abroad who have completed their upper secondary education in the Republic of Lithuania, have lived abroad for at least three years, and who, upon their arrival in the Republic of Lithuania, had commenced their schooling in Grades 8 to 12 (Gymnasium Grades I to IV). They are eligible for two types of support (and may get both): scholarships and a social benefit. The monthly size of the scholarship is 3.26 basic social allowances (€130 per month). This is allocated for one semester and is paid every month until the end of the semester. The social benefit is a lump sum that is allocated according to the social situation of the applicant (€203-319). Support is not available to students if, in Lithuania, they study in the language of the country that they came from. 

Social benefit amounts: 

Student social status

Benefit amount (EUR)

Students under 26 whose parents or parent, or foster parents or guardians are deceased 


Students under 26 years of age with one deceased parent (foster parent or guardian)


Students under 26 years of age with one disabled parent (foster parent or guardian) 


Students under 26 from families with at least three minors (or adults under the age of 26), studying according to a formal education programme


Support for international students

A grant to cover the tuition fee is given to talented citizens from other countries and Lithuanians abroad to attract them to institutions of higher education to study in Lithuania and to expand opportunities for international students to learn the Lithuanian language and learn about Lithuanian history and culture. Support is allocated by way of a competition. The following types of scholarships can be awarded by Lithuanian higher education institutions:

  • for partial studies at all levels of study in various fields of study
  • for master's degree studies
  • for studying the Lithuanian language within Lithuanian language education programmes
  • intensive (up to one month) Lithuanian language and culture courses.

Scholarship amounts are:

  • 10 basic social allowances per month for first cycle, second cycle and integrated studies students enrolled in partial and master’s degree studies.
  • 20 basic social allowances per month for third cycle students enrolled in part-time studies.
  • 15 basic social allowances per month for students enrolled in Lithuanian studies and Lithuanian language and culture courses.

Allowances may be granted to cover the cost of studies or Lithuanian language and culture courses and/or travel expenses. The travel allowance can only be granted for one trip – to arrive at the start of the study or course and to leave at the end of the study or course.

Detailed requirements for applicants, the procedure for organising the competition, etc. are set out in the Order of the Ministry of Education, Science and Sport on the Provision of State Support for Studies, Academic Mobility and Lithuanian Studies in Lithuania and Abroad.

Every year, the Ministry of Education, Science and Sport announces the Kazimieras Būga Scholarship Competition, inviting foreign Lithuanian Studies (Baltic Studies) Centres to select one candidate from among their own students and to submit their nomination to the Ministry. The amount of the scholarship is €320 per month (8 basic social benefits). These scholarships encourage foreign citizens to take a more active interest in the Lithuanian language and its studies, contribute to the development and improvement of the quality of Lithuanian studies abroad, the knowledge of Lithuanian culture and the promotion of Lithuania's image abroad.

The scholarship is open to bachelor's, master's, doctoral or equivalent students of higher education institutions in other countries, provided that they are studying Lithuanian studies and/or Baltic studies, have been studying the Lithuanian language for at least one year, and have been recommended by two lecturers (one of whom must be a Lithuanian language lecturer). The selection criteria for the Kazimieras Būga Scholarship are: good study results, research interests, motivation and the reasons for choosing Lithuanian language studies.

Reimbursement of the tuition fee

Tuition fees paid for first cycle and second cycle (for those who entered higher education after 1 January 2017) or integrated study programme students who have achieved the best academic results, may be reimbursed. Upon completion of a certain period of studies at a Lithuanian institution of higher education taking a student place not funded by the State, a student who has paid fees is entitled to reimbursement under the following conditions:

  • they have no academic debts.
  • they have fulfilled all the requirements of the study programme in the relevant academic year.
  • they have achieved an excellent or average level of achievement. 

The tuition fee or part of the tuition fee paid during the relevant period is reimbursed, up to a maximum of the standard tuition fee. Anyone who has completed compulsory initial military service or basic military training are also entitled to reimbursement of a part of the tuition fees paid for studies if they:

  • are studying for the first time at a higher education institution in the framework of first or second cycle or integrated study programmes, or have completed their studies.
  • performed military service after 1 September 2011.
  • studied in a place not funded by the State for the whole or part of the study period (semester).
  • have no academic debts.
  • began their studies no more than three years after the completion of military service.
  • completed military service no more than three years after the date of graduation.
  • started military service before 21 April 2015.

Reimbursement shall amount to 50 % of the tuition fees actually paid during the period of study for which reimbursement is granted, and not exceeding the standard tuition fee. The reimbursement of part of the tuition fee can only be granted for one course of study. The partial reimbursement is granted after the individual has completed the relevant study period:

  • the first two years of studies (in the case of part-time studies, the first half of the study programme),


  • the third year of studies before the end of the first cycle or the integrated studies (in the case of part-time studies, after the completion of the second half of the study programme), or
  • the second cycle studies.

Student mobility support

Students who are in full-time study programmes for all cycles and who according to international treaties or agreements are going to research institutions or institutions of higher education abroad to pursue partial study programmes, traineeships, or language and culture summer courses, are awarded, by way of competition, scholarships that are administered by the Education Exchange Support Foundation.

Private education

The so-called ‘study basket’ (or student’s basket) is the state funding of studies which is available to school leavers with the best performance record. State funding is provided to students of state-run higher education institutions following either a continual or extended form of studies. State funding may be provided to the students of private higher education institution if some programmes cannot be run in a state-run higher education institution due to objective circumstances. If the cost of studies in a private higher education institution exceeds the standard cost of studies established by the state, the student is required to cover the difference.  

An applicant who failed to receive a state-funded student place can choose a fee-paying study place and pay the full cost of studies. The cost of studies for fee-paying students is established and announced by each higher education institution. Upon enrolment to fee-paying study places, students become eligible to state-supported loans for covering the tuition fee.