Iceland

Recent developments:
  • New Quality Board for Icelandic Higher Education established in 2010/11 and development of mandatory institutional accreditation on a five-year basis

Organisational autonomy: medium low

The law requires that the executive head’s appointment and dismissal are formally validated by the ministry. The rector’s term of office is stated in the law, as is the procedure for their dismissal. Universities can select part of the external members on their governing bodies, with the rest appointed by the ministry. Guidelines exist in the law for the academic structures of Icelandic universities. Universities are able to establish legal entities but they have to be established or be closed with permission of the ministry and their work has to relate to university missions.

Financial autonomy: medium low

Universities may freely allocate internally the public funding they receive. They may keep surpluses with the approval of the ministry. Public universities are not allowed to borrow money directly. With the exception of the University of Iceland, most university buildings are owned by the government and cannot be sold without its approval. Public universities may not charge tuition fees at any degree level for national and foreign students, but may collect registration fees under a ceiling set by the government.

Academic autonomy: medium high

Universities negotiate with the government on overall student numbers. Universities can only open programmes in the study fields for which they have been accredited. Institutional accreditation is mandatory and carried out by the national agency. At Bachelor level universities face restrictions regarding the language of instruction for certain programmes.

Staffing autonomy: medium high

Universities are autonomous in the recruitment and promotion of senior academic and administrative staff. Salary bands are set through central negotiations between unions and the government. Dismissals are strictly regulated due to the civil servant status of staff.

Organisational weighted 49% unweighted 45%

0

0% Selection procedure for the executive head

The selection of the executive head is validated by an external authority

100

100% Selection criteria for the executive head

The selection criteria for the executive head are not stated in the law

40

40% Dismissal of the executive head

The dismissal is confirmed by an external authority and the procedure is stated in the law

This applies to 5 other countries: Brandenburg, Latvia, Luxembourg, Slovakia, Spain

0

0% Term of office of the executive head

The exact length is stated in the law

57

57% External members in university governing bodies

Universities cannot decide as they must include external members

External members are partly appointed by the university and partly by an external authority

This applies to 6 other countries: Austria, Croatia, France, Wallonia, Hesse, Slovenia

60

60% Capacity to decide on academic structures

Guidelines exist in the law

This applies to 3 other countries: France, Italy, Serbia

60

60% Capacity to create legal entities

Other restrictions

This applies to 7 other countries: Denmark, Ireland, Latvia, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Sweden

Financial weighted 60% unweighted 55%

60

60% Length of public funding cycle

100

100% Type of public funding

Block grant and there are no restrictions on the allocation of funding

60

60% Ability to borrow money

Universities can borrow money with other types of restrictions

This applies to 3 other countries: Lithuania, Poland, United Kingdom

80

80% Ability to keep surplus

Surplus can be kept but the approval of an external authority is needed

This applies to 2 other countries: Luxembourg, Portugal

60

60% Ability to own buildings

Universities can sell their buildings with the approval of an external authority

This applies to 5 other countries: Croatia, Luxembourg, Norway, Slovenia, Switzerland

40

40% Tuition fees for national/EU students at Bachelor level

Universities can set the level of tuition fees under a ceiling set by an external authority

This applies to 4 other countries: Hungary, Italy, Portugal, United Kingdom

40

40% Tuition fees for national/EU students at Master's level

Universities can set the level of tuition fees under a ceiling set by an external authority

This applies to 2 other countries: Hungary, Italy

40

40% Tuition fees for national/EU students at doctoral level

Universities can set the level of tuition fees under a ceiling set by an external authority

This applies to 2 other countries: Hungary, Italy

40

40% Tuition fees for non-EU students at Bachelor level

Universities can set the level of tuition fees under a ceiling set by an external authority

This applies to 2 other countries: Wallonia, Italy

40

40% Tuition fees for non-EU students at Master's level

Universities can set the level of tuition fees under a ceiling set by an external authority

This applies to 2 other countries: Wallonia, Italy

40

40% Tuition fees for non-EU students at doctoral level

Universities can set the level of tuition fees under a ceiling set by an external authority

This applies to 2 other countries: Wallonia, Italy

Staffing weighted 68% unweighted 67%

100

100% Recruitment procedures for senior academic staff

Recruitments are carried out freely by universities

100

100% Recruitment procedures for senior administrative staff

Recruitments are carried out freely by universities

67

67% Salaries for senior academic staff

Salary bands are negotiated with other parties

This applies to 5 other countries: Denmark, Finland, The Netherlands, Norway, United Kingdom

67

67% Salaries for senior administrative staff

Salary bands are negotiated with other parties

This applies to 6 other countries: Brandenburg, Finland, Hesse, The Netherlands, North Rhine-Westphalia, Norway

0

0% Dismissal of senior academic staff

Dismissals are strictly regulated due to civil servant status for all staff

This applies to 9 other countries: Croatia, France, Wallonia, Hungary, Italy, The Netherlands, Norway, Slovenia, Spain

0

0% Dismissal of senior administrative staff

Dismissals are strictly regulated due to civil servant status for all staff

This applies to 7 other countries: Croatia, France, Hungary, Italy, The Netherlands, Norway, Slovenia

100

100% Promotion procedures for senior academic staff

Universities can freely decide on promotion procedures

100

100% Promotion procedures for senior administrative staff

Universities can freely decide on promotion procedures

Academic weighted 78% unweighted 77%

60

60% Overall student numbers

Universities negotiate with an external authority

100

100% Admissions procedures at Bachelor level

Admission criteria are set by the university

This applies to 8 other countries: Estonia, Finland, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Poland, Slovakia, United Kingdom

100

100% Admissions procedures at Master's level

Admission criteria are set by the university

60

60% Introduction of programmes at Bachelor level

Other restrictions

This applies to 9 other countries: Austria, Brandenburg, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Flanders, Hesse, Latvia, Sweden

60

60% Introduction of programmes at Master's level

Other restrictions

This applies to 9 other countries: Austria, Brandenburg, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Flanders, Hesse, Latvia, Sweden

60

60% Introduction of programmes at doctoral level

Other restrictions

This applies to 7 other countries: Austria, Estonia, Finland, Flanders, Latvia, Poland, Sweden

100

100% Termination of degree programmes

Universities can terminate degree programmes independently

83

83% Language of instruction at Bachelor level

Universities can choose the language of instruction for certain programmes

This applies to one other country: Lithuania

100

100% Language of instruction at Master's level

Universities can choose the language of instruction for all programmes

100

100% Selection of quality assurance mechanisms

Universities cannot select quality assurance mechanisms

0

0% Selection of quality assurance providers

Universities cannot choose the quality assurance agency

100

100% Capacity to design content of degree programmes

Universities can freely design the content of degree programmes and courses (other than for the regulated professions)