22 February 2011 | Report

Financially Sustainable Universities II: European Universities Diversifying Income Streams

Thomas Estermann and Enora Bennetot Pruvot

This report follows EUA’s first study on financially sustainable universities, which looked at the development of full costing in European universities and the ways to improve their capacity to identify better the full costs of all their activities.


“Financially Sustainable Universities II" 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’.

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