Skip to main content
European Commission logo
EACEA National Policies Platform:Eurydice
Higher education funding


3.Funding in education

3.2Higher education funding

Last update: 27 November 2023


Short-cycle higher education

The Organisation and Financing of Education Act (en) and the Norms for financing higher vocational colleges Rules (sl) specify the funding of higher vocational colleges. Funding sources and basic rules thereof are similar to those that apply to upper secondary schools.

The Ministry of education allocates funds for the following purposes:

  • school’s work-related expenses
  • expenses for implementing programmes
  • costs related to maintenance of facilities and buildings, and
  • management and development.

The Ministry enters into funding agreement with higher vocational colleges for the next financial year. The main aim of such agreement-based funding is to provide quality and efficient education, as well as improved efficiency of studies and realisation of study programme goals. In recent years, the ministry allocated funds by the decision of the minister, because the austerity measures did not allow for the agreement-based funding.

Annual funding of study programmes is calculated according to preliminary annual prices of cost per student (specified by the minister for each upcoming year), and the number of full-time year 2 students, graduates and the study programme.

Work-related expenses include staff salaries, cost of goods and services, as well as costs of other activities (development, international cooperation). The state also funds activities of the Association of Higher Vocational Colleges, common registration services, as well as development and counselling activities provided by the Institute of the Republic of Slovenia for vocational education and training.

Higher education

Financing higher education institutions is broadly specified by the Higher education Act (sl). It stipulates that higher education institutions may draw on funds from different sources, including the budget of the Republic of Slovenia; student fees and other contributions; sales of services; donations, inheritances, gifts, etc. The national budget finances those higher education institutions that have been established by the government and those that hold a concession. According to the Act, the former are funded for the following purposes:

  • study activities
  • student extra-curricular activities
  • investments and maintenance, and
  • development projects.

The national budget also finances the operation of some libraries; Slovenian language classes at universities abroad; Slovenian language lessons for foreigners; some nationally important projects, such as the operation of Higher Education Application-Information Services; investments in public student dormitories; subsidised accommodation and transportation for students.

Research work is funded in accordance with special regulations.

Private higher education institutions with a concession are awarded funds for study and extra-curricular activities and may be awarded funds for development projects.

However, private higher education institutions without a concession can also apply for funding in public tenders for development projects.

Higher education institutions can charge fees for part-time studies and programmes that are not funded from public sources. The level of fees and other payments (enrolment fees; costs for the provision of a study programme in the field and study travel; payments for individual services) must be set in accordance with the Minister's Rules on fees and other payments in higher education. Public institutions and institutions with a concession are not allowed to charge fees for full-time accredited undergraduate studies to citizens of the Republic of Slovenia and citizens of EU member states.

The International Association of Universities, with headquarters in the Republic of Slovenia (there is currently just one such association), receives funding for its operation as a special budget item.

Until 2010 the funding of public universities and autonomous higher education institutions from the state budget was governed in detail by the Decree on Public Funding of Higher Education and other Institutions from 2004 to 2010. Since 2011, the funding has been regulated by the Decree on public financing of higher education and other institutions (sl).

Study activities include the provision of first and the second cycle study programmes on level one and two and related research work, artistic and professional activities, library, information, administrative and other infrastructure activities. Funds for study activities are provided as integrated funds for higher education institutions (lump sum financing). They are determined once per annum by a ministerial order and deposited on a monthly basis into the institution's account.

Extra-curricular activities include university sports activities and study-related interest activities.

Funds for investments of higher education institutions are set in accordance with the annual plan for the management of tangible assets of the higher education institution and the adopted budget. Funding for maintenance investments and equipment are set by the decision of the Minister, issued on the basis of the criteria adopted by the Ministry.

In the context of the pillar for financing development, funding is aimed at activities that promote variety, international cooperation and quality, as well as social dimension of studies. Funding is awarded on the basis of annual public invitations to tender.

In accordance with the Higher education Act (sl), funding from the national budget can be used for the co-founding of doctoral studies. In the 2010/2011 academic year, the government Decree on the co-funding of doctoral studies (sl) entered into force. The co-funding of doctoral studies is also implemented through young researcher plans, managed by the competent agency.

The government also subsidies student accommodation at public and private institutions and in accommodation provided by other entities registered as student accommodation providers, which include private landlords.

In accordance with the Research and Development Act, funding for research and development activities is provided from the national budget and other sources of financing. It is provided for research and infrastructure programmes, research and development projects, training and development of research and development experts; international scientific and technological cooperation; financing scientific publications and communications, and other purposes.

Financial autonomy and control

Short-cycle higher education

The introduction of a new funding system (2008) gave higher vocational colleges considerably more financial autonomy and responsibility than they had before. Colleges now develop their now operation and development programmes for two years in advance and report to the Ministry of education about the implementation of those programmes at the end of each financial year. They specify the organisation of study work, study groups and other activities of the academic year, as well their development trends in an annual work plan. They are not allowed to exceed the imposed or defined daily and weekly study workload per student. They are required to comply with all other regulations relating to the size of student groups, methods of studies, health and safety.

The college administration (council in cooperation with the strategic council) approves the respective development programme and the annual work plan and reports on its implementation; makes decisions in regards to the introduction of over standard programmes and other programmes; adopts the college financial plan and annual financial statement. The head teacher is responsible for developing the abovementioned documents and, after the documents are adopted, for their implementation.

The Association of higher vocational colleges is responsible, in particular, for the development of higher vocational education, development of graduate employment programmes and employment follow-up, cooperation with council of experts, committee for accreditation of higher vocational education programmes, employers, ministries, higher education, as well as with international associations.

Financial supervision of the spending of earmarked funds is the responsibility of the ministry of education. It examines annual financial reports submitted by higher vocational colleges. Supervision of compliance with law is the responsibility of the school inspectorate. Respect for student rights in the on-the-job-training is supervised by the labour inspectorate. The Court of Audit of the Republic of Slovenia monitors the spending of public funds.

Higher education

With the introduction of a new financing system (i.e. a lump sum system) in 2004, higher education institutions have gained significant financial autonomy. A tertiary education institution distributes its annual funding for study-related activities according to its own rules, which it is required to inform the Ministry of Education about. Monitoring and supervision of the spending of earmarked funds is the responsibility of the Ministry of Education, Science and Sport, Budget Supervision Office of the Republic of Slovenia and the Court of Audit of the Republic of Slovenia.

In accordance with financial regulations (and the detailed guidelines of the Ministry of Finance and the ministry responsible for higher education) each year higher education institutions prepare an annual work programme consisting of the work programme and the financial plan. Higher education institutions also prepare an annual report on the implemented work, consisting of the balance sheet, statement of revenue and expenditures, notes to the accounts and the business report. The annual report and the annual work programme must be published on the higher education institution’s website.

Fees within public higher education

Higher vocational colleges

Public higher vocational colleges and private higher vocational colleges that hold a concession may not charge fees to full-time students. Fees may only be charged for programmes that are not funded from public sources and for part-time studies. At enrolment, students pay an enrolment fee, primarily to cover costs of study materials, student pass and examination materials, protective clothing and uniforms, trips and field work. The minister of education specifies with the rules the max. price for services that higher vocational colleges my charge to students. In the academic year 2018/2019, this price was €20 to €30. The tuition fee for one part-time study year at public higher vocational colleges and those holding a concession was €1,000 to €3,200.

Higher education institutions

Public higher education institutions and private higher education institutions that hold a concession may not charge fees to citizens of the Republic of Slovenia or citizens of other EU Member States for studies in accredited full-time undergraduate programmes.

Higher education institutions may charge fees for part-time studies or study programmes that are not funded from public sources and for supplementary study programmes. The level of fees is determined on the basis of the Rules on tuition fees and other payments in higher education. They specify the elements that comprise the costs of undergraduate study and specialisation study programmes per year (including salaries, contributions and payments by employers and other personal income, administrative costs, technical costs and other material costs). Fees for postgraduate programmes may be increased due to higher material costs. In calculations, the higher education institution cannot take into account costs that are already covered by public funding or by other earmarked funds.

Fees for all programmes except for supplementary programmes are paid for each academic year separately. Fees for supplementary study programmes are paid for the entire duration of the respective programme.

In view of the above mentioned minister’s rules, other contributions may be charged to full-time as well as part-time students, such as: costs of enrolment, costs related to the implementation of a study programme on location and expert study excursions, costs of the fourth and any subsequent exams of the same subject, as well as costs of other separate services.

In the academic year 2020/2021, the fee for the higher education first and second cycle study programmes was €21 to €35.70.

Part-time students and students abroad paid €2,200 to €15,000 (first and second cycle study programmes). (Eurydice, 2020)

Financial support for learners' families

For details see Family benefits.

Financial support for learners

Accommodation of higher vocational college students in residence halls for upper secondary students and transportation subsidies are specified similarly as for upper secondary school students. The government subsidies for staying in residence halls for upper secondary students are also available to students of higher vocational colleges. The transportation subsidies are available to them under the same conditions as to upper secondary school students.

Higher education students are entitled to state-subsidised accommodation expenses in institutions registered for the provision of student accommodation and also to private landlords. The subsidised grant is linked to the student's performance; economic situation; distance from home, and the student's social and health situation. Subsides may be granted to companions of disabled students; student's partner if they have a child, and for the student's chid. The subsidy totals min. 20% of the average monthly living costs. Subsidies are provided for twelve months per year or 10 months per year in the event of residence with private landlords, and are calculated separately for every new academic year.

In the school year 2014/2015, the residential halls for upper secondary students and higher education students or with private legal entities registered to pursue the activities of student residential halls hosted 24.1% of all full-time students in higher education study programmes and 3.3% of full-time students in higher vocational study programmes. (SURS, September 2017)

Transportation subsidies are specified by the Road transport Act. The right is reserved only for students and adult learners who reside at least 2 km from the education institution. The subsidised fare is intended for those beneficiaries who drive from their place of residence to the place of education on a daily basis. They fall within the competence of the Ministry of transport.

The Subsidizing student meals Act (sl), the enforcement of which is the responsibility of the competent ministry for labour, social affairs and equal opportunities, specifies that persons holding the student status who are enrolled in higher vocational colleges and higher education institutions in the Republic of Slovenia and are not employed are entitled to subsidised student meals. Beneficiaries include all students from foreign universities who reside in the Republic of Slovenia under international exchange programmes. The beneficiaries are entitled to one subsidised meal per working day, whereas students with special needs and students who are already parents are entitled to ten additional meals per month. Students' children are also entitled to such meals. In the 2022/23 academic year, the amount of subsidy per student meal was €2.82.

As specified by the Scholarship Act, the enforcement of which is in the domain of the competent Ministry for labour, social affairs and equal opportunities and the Public Scholarship, Development, Disability and Maintenance Fund of the Republic of Slovenia, the following scholarships may be awarded:

  • government scholarships (financially disadvantaged students)
  • employer scholarships (to attain qualifications for specific occupations)
  • Zois scholarship (talented students)
  • scholarships for shortage occupations
  • scholarships for Slovenian national minorities in neighbouring countries and Slovenians abroad, as well as
  • scholarships AD Futura (for education abroad of Slovenian citizens, study visits abroad, competitions abroad).

Most scholarships awarded are government scholarships, followed by the Zois scholarships and employer scholarships: The proportion of other scholarships is less significant. In 2014/15, over one fourth (27%) of students were scholarship recipients.

Since 2014, the underage upper secondary students may apply for government scholarships and for shortage occupations scholarships. It is possible to combine scholarships, which enables candidates to receive a higher final amount. It is a more flexible system, it encourages individuals to take a more active approach to planning of their education and/or professional career. The scholarships are given to students of first and second cycle study programmes. Ad futura scholarships for third cycle students aim to support international mobility.


International mobility is of particular importance for the internationalisation of the Slovenian higher education, it is declared in all strategic documents and, in particular, in the Resolution on National programme of higher education. There are special funds allocated to support mobility of students and lecturers.

Special scholarships are available for this purpose from the Public Scholarship, Development, Disability and Maintenance Fund of the Republic of Slovenia, for example, to cover the fees of undergraduate or postgraduate studies, living costs and other study costs. This fund may also be used to finance short-term research cooperation and participation of Slovenian doctoral students abroad, short study trips abroad, namely for the part of a study programme obligation that is recognised at the Slovenian higher education institution, as well as for pedagogical or research contributions of visiting scholars (lecturers or researchers) at universities or research institutions in Slovenia.

The government and Zois scholarships may be transferred to the study abroad (in these cases, they are higher, as a rule); the same is true for scholarships given by employers that may be in part state-funded and the European Social Fund as part of uniform regional schemes through unified regional schemes via common regional schemes. The most funds for the mobility of students and lecturers comes from the EU programmes, primarily from the Erasmus+ and CEEPUS, as well as other bilateral agreements.

Eurydice report National student fee and support systems in European higher education

You can find more data on student fees and support in Slovenia in the Eurydice annual report National Student Fee and Support Systems in European Higher Education 2022/2023 which provides a comparative overview of which students pay fees, how much they pay, and to what extent they receive financial support during their studies. Individual country sheets outline the main elements of national systems. While attention mostly focuses on first and second cycle full time students, it also shows data for short cycle students.

Private education

Short-cycle higher education

Most private vocational colleges are financed by private funds, that is, fees. Such schools have the status of private institutions and as such make their own decisions in regards to their financing. The law poses only the following restrictions:

  • minimal staffing requirements to start providing services
  • programme accreditation
  • consent from the Council of Experts for Lecturers (licence), and
  • entry in the register of schools at the ministry of education.

Higher vocational colleges which are financed by school fees provide only part-time study. Fees are lower than the programme cost per student that would apply to full-time study. Students commonly pay in instalments. All part-time students who are not employed or do not have the status of an unemployed person are entitled to receive study support under the same criteria as full-time students.

Higher education

Since the Higher education Act (sl) was passed in 1993, higher education programmes may be provided by private higher education institutions. Their establishment and operations are specified by law. Study programmes have to be accredited. In the same way at for public higher institutions, the internal and external evaluations take place, and the same rules apply to students and teaching faculty. The only difference is the financing method. Private higher education institutions with a concession receive public funds to finance study and extra-curricular activities. They are not eligible for funding of investments and maintenance; however, they may apply for the part-financing of development projects through special calls for tender. Such funding is also available to private higher education institutions without a concession.

In the academic year 2021/2022, there were 18 private higher vocational colleges (29 public), three private universities (3 public), and 39 private independent higher education institutions (1 public). (Eurydice, 2022)