In accordance with the Law of National Education (Law 1/2011, with its subsequent amendments and additions), public education is free of charge. Fees may apply for some activities and for some education levels, cycles and study programmes. The funding for public, private and religious school education comes from public funds or from other sources, as provided by law.
The funding for accredited private and religious school education comes from fees, public funds – for preschool and compulsory education – as well as from other sources, as provided by law. Funding is allocated based on and within the standard cost per student or per preschooler, in accordance with a methodology developed by the Ministry of Education. The Ministry of Education, through its specialised body, determines the standard cost per preschooler/student every year.
The state provides basic funding for all preschoolers and all students in primary, secondary, vocational and high-school education – public, accredited private and religious education – and, as appropriate, for the beneficiaries of preparatory courses for the national baccalaureate examination.
Funding of the pre-university education units comprises:
- basic funding
- complementary funding
- additional funding.
Basic funding in school education is based on a principle that the financial resource follows the student, which means that the budgetary allocation for a student or a preschooler is transferred to the school attended by that student. Basic funding ensures the normal course of the education process in school education in accordance with national standards. Basic funding comes from the state budget, from amounts broken down from the value added tax and other revenues of the state budget, through the local budgets, for the following categories of costs:
- salaries, bonuses, indemnities and other salary entitlements in cash, provided by law, as well as their related contributions
- in-service training and assessment of staff
- internal regular student assessment
- material costs and the cost of services
- current maintenance costs.
The basic funding for a school is determined by multiplying the standard cost per student/preschooler by coefficients that are specific to that school and by the number of students and is approved every year by a Government decision. Basic funding, which is approved annually through the law of the state budget, is distributed to rural localities, towns and districts of Bucharest by the general departments of county public finances and of Bucharest respectively, with specialised technical assistance from the county school inspectorates and Bucharest School Inspectorate.
In the basic funding for school establishments where the teaching language is one of the national minority languages, the standard cost per student and per preschooler is calculated with a coefficient that is increased based on some correction factors, taking into consideration the teaching in the national minority language or the teaching of the national minority language. For these schools, the linguistic and geographic isolation and the low number of students and preschoolers are considered.
Complementary funding covers the capital expenditure, social charges and other costs associated with the public-school education process. Complementary funding comes from the local budgets of the administrative-territorial units to which the school establishments belong, from amounts broken down from the value added tax, for the following categories of costs:
- investment, capital repairs, consolidation
- subsidies for boarding schools and canteens
- national regular student assessment
- grants for students
- student transportation
- commutation costs for teachers, under the law
- costs related to the regular compulsory medical examination of employees in school education except for examinations which are free of charge in compliance with the law
- costs related to school competitions and extracurricular educational activities organised in the education system
- occupational safety and health for employees, preschoolers and students
- management of emergency situations, and
- costs related to participation in European cooperation projects in education and training.
The funding related to the expenditure with salaries, bonuses, indemnities and other salary entitlements in cash, provided by law, as well as their related contributions is allotted to schools based on the standard cost per ante-preschooler/preschooler/student. This category of expenditure does not include the allowances for transport to and from the workplace, as well as the salary expenditure in kind, as they are not a part of basic funding.
The standard cost per ante-preschooler/preschooler/student is determined for each education level, path, profile, specialisation/field of study depending on the number of ante-preschoolers/preschoolers/students, the teaching language, other specific educational indicators and the urban/rural area.
The funding related to the expenditure with training, student regular assessment and the expenditure stipulated under the budgetary heading "goods and services" is based on the standard cost per ante-preschooler/preschooler/student.
The standard cost per ante-preschooler/preschooler/student for expenditure related to salaries, bonuses, indemnities and other salary entitlements in cash, provided by law, as well as their related contributions, where the coefficient is 1, corresponding to the standard cost per student in lower secondary education in urban areas is calculated according to a methodology.
In 2021, the standard cost for coefficient 1 is 6 111 lei (RON).
The amounts from the state budget are distributed through the budget of the Ministry of Education based on an order of the education minister.
The amounts for covering the expenditure related to a county school inspectorate or Bucharest School Inspectorate are determined by multiplying the number of ante-preschoolers/preschoolers/students by the standard costs indicated in methodology.
When the amounts distributed to some schools based on the standard cost are insufficient for the payment of entitlements, the school inspectorates may redistribute the amounts between the schools of a county/Bucharest or may allocate the amounts which are still undistributed, as appropriate. The redistribution or, as appropriate, the allocation of undistributed amounts to schools from other counties is the responsibility of the Ministry of Education.
Financial autonomy and control
The funding for school education establishments is set forth by law and is allocated from the state budget through the budget of the Ministry of Education. School education establishments cannot alter the amounts they receive through a Government Decision and any possible redistribution of amounts is the responsibility of school inspectorates after some checks of the amounts used.
Fees within public education
No fees are charged in public school education.
Financial support for learners' families
The financial support from the state budget and/or from the local budgets for families with children in school education consists in:
- free textbooks for students in compulsory education
- awards, grants/scholarships, places in school camps and other such material incentives for students with high achievements, as well as for students with outstanding achievements in VET or in cultural and sports activities
- the programme “A croissant and milk” for preschoolers in public and private kindergartens with normal hours (4 hours) and for all students in the preparatory grade and grades 1-8 in public and private education (Government Extraordinary Decree No 96/2002, with its subsequent amendments and additions)
- free school supplies for students from disadvantaged backgrounds (Law 126/2002)
- ensuring participation in school camps
- need-based grants for disadvantaged groups
- the programme “Vocational scholarship” (Government Decision No 1062/2012) for all students in vocational education
- the programme Euro 200 (Government Decision No 1294/2004) for students in public and accredited private education with a gross income of less than 150 RON/family member
- the programme “Money for high-school” (Government Decision No 1488/2004) for students from disadvantaged groups during their high-school studies.
Financial support for learners
Students in full-time public education may receive high achievement scholarships, merit scholarships, study scholarships and need-based grants. The amount of a scholarship/grant given from sums broken down from some revenues of the state budget and the number of scholarships/grants are determined annually through a decision of the local council and of the county council/local councils of Bucharest respectively. The general criteria for the award of scholarships/grants are laid down by the Ministry of Education. The specific criteria for the award of high achievement, merit and study scholarships and need-based grants are laid down annually by the boards of schools, within the limits of the allocated funds and in relation to the thoroughness of students’ school activities. Students may also receive grants based on a contract with economic operators or other natural or legal persons. Foreign learners in school education may receive scholarships/grants under the law. Students who are Romanian ethnics residing abroad may receive scholarships/grants under the law.
Ante-preschoolers, preschoolers and students in public and authorised/accredited private schools benefit from free medical, psychological and speech assistance, in school medical, psychological counselling and speech offices or in public medical facilities.
Students in compulsory education and accredited/authorised high-school education benefit from a 50 % discount for local public transportation – on surface, on water and underground – and for domestic road, railway and marine transportation, throughout a calendar year. As a special protection measure, orphan students, students with special needs, as well as children living in institutions may benefit from free transportation for all transport categories that have been mentioned, throughout a calendar year. Students who cannot attend a school in their locality have their transportation costs reimbursed from the budget of the Ministry of Education, through the schools they attend.
Students have a 75 % discount on fees for access to museums, concerts, theatre performances, opera, cinema and other cultural and sports events organised by public institutions. Students who are Romanian ethnics living abroad and receiving a scholarship of the Romanian state benefit from free access to museums, concerts, theatre performances, opera, cinema and other cultural and sports events organised by public institutions.
The state subsidies all costs related to high-school attendance for students from rural areas or from a disadvantaged socioeconomic background, as well as for students attending vocational schools. The subsidy method is determined by a Government Decision initiated by the Ministry of Education.
The financing of the accredited private and confessional pre-university education is made from tuition fees, which are established by the board of directors of each educational institution or unit, in accordance with the law.
The state provides basic funding for pupils and preschoolers in private and denominational education, accredited, as well as for students in general compulsory private education and denominational education, accredited. Also, the state provides basic funding for vocational education, private high school and religious, accredited. Funding is based on and within the limits of the standard cost per student, per pupil or per preschool, as the case may be, according to the methodology developed by the Ministry of Education.
According to the law, basic funding for preschoolers is provided by the state, starting with the 2019-2020 school year. However, this term was extended by emergency ordinance until the beginning of the 2021-2022 school year.
The Ministry of Education, through the specialized body, establishes annually the standard cost per pupil / preschool / student, which is the basis of the basic funding.