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Students debate financing of higher education

Is higher education financing a looming disaster? Student representatives from across Europe are asking this question and debating models for higher education financing at a seminar in Madrid on May 3-5.

The seminar is titled “Public funding and social dimension of higher education: investing into the future or borrowing from it?”. The event takes place at the Universidad de Politécnica de Madrid and is co-organised by ESU and its Spanish member, Coordinadora de Representantes de Estudiantes de Universidades Públicas (CREUP).

Speaking about the situation in Spain, CREUP International Officer Guilermo Rodriguez said: “The economic crisis  has put on the table things like the way of financing HEI, increasing or implementing tuition fees, external income, restructuring of the grant system, and even the governance structures.”

After the economic crisis hit Europe, many countries have had budget cuts in the education sector. ESU is a staunch opponent of tuition fees as a way of bridging the gap between resources needed and resources currently provided to higher education. But ESU Chairperson Ligia Deca said in her opening speech that students also need to come with more than just criticism to the proposed solutions to the financing problems.

“The Spanish EU Presidency has clearly prioritised social rights for European citizens.  We hope the Spanish Presidency will push for inclusion of benchmarks to increase the participation rate in higher education. The EU 2020 strategy is meaningless without ambitious targets for higher education, which is one of the essential ways to improve social mobility”, Deca said.


The seminar takes place from May 3-5. On May 6-8, ESU organises its 58th Board Meeting.


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