Work to do on Catalan universities as public funding remains low

Due to subsequent cuts after economic crisis, further education centers are also more expensive than European average

An empty classroom at the University of Barcelona (by ACN)
An empty classroom at the University of Barcelona (by ACN) / ACN

ACN | Barcelona

January 16, 2018 03:14 PM

The new Catalan government will have work to do in terms of public universities once it is appointed in the coming weeks. This is because over the last several years, the economic crisis and subsequent cuts in government spending, have had a significant impact on universities in Catalonia, according to a study released by the Observatory of the University System (OUS).

Indeed, from 2009 to 2015, public funding went from 73% of to 60% of the total financing of the Catalan university system. Catalan universities, therefore, are, not only among the most expensive in Europe, but also amongst the least publicly funded.

University government funding in the country is only ahead of Greece, Latvia, and Ireland, while fees paid by students exceed both the Spanish and European average, surpassed only by tuition fees in the UK. 

The author of the study, Vera Sacristan, emphasized that this reduction of funding affects the hiring of new staff as well as the acquisition of new talent that could guarantee the construction of the future for a university.

Investing in the future

She also stated that the situation of the last ten years has been “worrying”, highlighting how countries in central and northern Europe decided to invest in education in order to combat the crisis, rather than taking the austerity route. This focussing on universities as an “investment of the future” reconstructs economies once the crisis is over, she highlighted.

Catalonia, on a shoestring

The report demonstrates how public university funding in Catalonia is below the European average. With regard to spending on universities based on GDP, Catalonia is situated between Hungary and Italy, with the lowest figure in the 29 states.