Funding the Higher Education System: International Experience and Russian Practice

Anastasia E. Sudakova, Dahel Mustafa Saleh Dahel


Relevance. Education is a significant factor in economic growth. However, the discussion about the principles for distributing higher education funding is still open, and the cases of individual countries are not sufficiently covered in research literature.

Research objective. The study aims to determine the principles of financing based on the case studies of Russian universities. Foreign financing mechanisms are analyzed and compared with Russian practice that has similar foundations. Financing mechanisms are classified according to their distribution principle.

Data and methods. The statistical base for the study is the data of a large-scale higher education monitoring project of 2019-2021. The study was conducted in more than 650 Russian universities. In order to determine the principles of financing, a correlation analysis is carried out to identify the correlation between the indicators. Universities are grouped by regions with different socio-economic characteristics, subgroups of universities within the regional division were identified.

Results. The distribution of funding among Russian universities is based on the principles of quasi-competition and equalization. Universities located in regions with low indicators of socio-economic development are mainly financed to achieve equalization of educational activities, and, as the socio-economic situation in the region improves, funding is channeled into equalization of research activities. Another more obvious conclusion is that research activities of universities that participate in state programs are funded based on competition, while other universities have lower correlation between indicators, which leads us to the assumption that other universities’ research activities are funded based on the principles of equalization.

Conclusions. The novelty of the study is the results that enrich the understanding of the principles for funding distribution in the Russian higher education system. Contrary to most studies of the concentration of resources around a limited number of institutions, the study concludes that resources and funding are distributed based on equalization, supporting the less competitive units of the system, and directing funding to regions with less stable socio-economic characteristics.


higher education, financing higher education; competition; equalization; development of universities, funding universities

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Online ISSN 2412-0731