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EUA launches major new report on financial sustainability of European universities

February 24, 2011

EUA launched its major new report on the financial sustainability of European universities on Tuesday evening at a special reception in Brussels.

The report, “Financially Sustainable Universities II: European Universities Diversifying Income Streams”, is the outcome of a two-year EC-supported project (European Universities Diversifying Income Streams - EUDIS) and its findings are based on an online survey completed by more than 150 universities across 27 countries, by site visits and by workshops involving a wide range of institutions.

Participants at the event learnt more about this crucial issue for Europe’s universities. As the number of university students continues to rise across Europe, and the economic downturn has led to cuts in public funding in many countries, higher education systems are faced with the challenge of creating sustainable funding models to secure the future of university education.

This report underlines that universities need both sufficient resources and a long-term planning horizon to invest in their future academic and research activities, and thus to continue fulfilling their role in society. EUA believes that future financial sustainability depends on reliable, sufficient public funding, and on the autonomy and support necessary to explore successfully complementary funding options.

The report gives a detailed description of how European universities are currently financed, and looks into the sector’s expectations for future evolutions. It also analyses the many different barriers currently preventing universities from pursuing additional income streams (considering internal challenges and external regulatory barriers) and the possible drivers for stimulating ‘income diversification’.

During the event, Professor Maria da Graça Carvalho, Member of the European Parliament in charge of a report on simplification of funding programmes, reiterated the Parliament’s commitment to exploring practical solutions for reducing the administrative burden that universities face when applying for European funds. Jordi Curell, Director at the Commission’s Directorate General for Education and Culture, also spoke at the event and underlined the importance of the funding topic for European higher education.

EUA’s Thomas Estermann, one of the report authors, outlined the main conclusions of this project, which reveals that additional funding sources cannot replace sufficient public funding. He concluded by outlining the project recommendations for creating more sustainable funding models for the future.

Download the report here.

Download the press release to read some of the main conclusions and recommendations from the report.

Photo (left to right): Lesley Wilson, Secretary General, EUA; Jordi Curell, Director, DG Education and Culture, European Commission; Maria da Graça Carvalho, Member of the European Parliament; Thomas Estermann, Head of Unit Governance, Autonomy and Funding, EUA