Financial

Financial autonomy refers to a university’s ability to decide freely on its internal financial affairs. The ability to manage its funds independently enables an institution to set and realise its strategic aims.

European universities receive an important proportion of their funds from the state. Whether this funding is provided as a line-item budget or a block grant, the extent to which it may be freely allocated to different budget lines and the length of the funding cycle are important aspects of financial autonomy.

The abilities to keep a surplus and borrow money on the financial markets facilitate long-term financial planning and provide universities with the flexibility they need to fulfil their diverse missions in the most suitable way. Similarly, the capacity to own and sell university-occupied buildings enables them to determine institutional strategies and academic profiles.

The ability to charge tuition fees opens up new private funding streams, which make up a significant percentage of university budgets in some higher education systems. In these cases, the freedom to charge and set the level of tuition fees is a crucial factor in deciding on institutional strategies.

Length of public funding cycle

3
countries
More than one year

This applies to 3 countries: Austria, Brandenburg, Luxembourg

26
countries
One year

0
countries
Less than one year

This does not apply to any country.

Type of public funding

1
country
Line-item budget

This applies to one country: Serbia

16
countries
Block grant and there are no restrictions on the allocation of funding

8
countries
Block grant is split into broad categories and there are no or limited possibilities to move funds between these

This applies to 8 countries: France, Wallonia, Hungary, Lithuania, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Sweden

1
country
Block grant but internal allocation possibilities are limited by law

This applies to one country: Croatia

5
countries
Block grant with other restrictions

This applies to 5 countries: Austria, Croatia, Hungary, Ireland, Poland

Ability to borrow money

6
countries
Universities cannot borrow money

This applies to 6 countries: Hesse, Hungary, Norway, Portugal, Serbia, Switzerland

8
countries
Universities can borrow money without restrictions

5
countries
Universities can borrow money up to a maximum percentage

This applies to 5 countries: Brandenburg, Ireland, Italy, North Rhine-Westphalia, Slovakia

5
countries
Universities can borrow money with the approval of an external authority

This applies to 5 countries: Croatia, France, Luxembourg, Slovenia, Spain

2
countries
Universities can borrow money from specific banks (designated by an external authority)

This applies to 2 countries: Brandenburg, Sweden

4
countries
Universities can borrow money with other types of restrictions

This applies to 4 countries: Iceland, Lithuania, Poland, United Kingdom

Ability to keep surplus

3
countries
Surplus cannot be kept

This applies to 3 countries: Ireland, Lithuania, Serbia

16
countries
Surplus can be kept without restrictions

1
country
Surplus can be kept up to a maximum percentage

This applies to one country: Norway

3
countries
Surplus can be kept but the approval of an external authority is needed

This applies to 3 countries: Iceland, Luxembourg, Portugal

4
countries
Surplus can be kept but its allocation is pre-determined by an external authority

This applies to 4 countries: Brandenburg, Wallonia, Poland, Sweden

2
countries
Surplus can be kept with other types of restrictions

This applies to 2 countries: Flanders, Hungary

Ability to own buildings

7
countries
Universities are not allowed to own their buildings

10
countries
Universities can sell their buildings without restrictions

6
countries
Universities can sell their buildings with the approval of an external authority

This applies to 6 countries: Croatia, Iceland, Luxembourg, Norway, Slovenia, Switzerland

5
countries
Universities can sell their buildings with other types of restrictions

This applies to 5 countries: Finland, Flanders, Ireland, Latvia, Poland

0
countries
Universities are not allowed to sell their buildings

This does not apply to any country.

3
countries
Other restrictions

This applies to 3 countries: France, Wallonia, Portugal

Tuition fees for national/EU students at Bachelor level

4
countries
Universities are free to set the level of tuition fees

This applies to 4 countries: Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Serbia

1
country
Universities and an external authority cooperate in setting the level of tuition fees

This applies to one country: Switzerland

5
countries
Universities can set the level of tuition fees under a ceiling set by an external authority

This applies to 5 countries: Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Portugal, United Kingdom

7
countries
Only an external authority is allowed to set the level of tuition fees

This applies to 7 countries: Croatia, Flanders, France, Wallonia, Ireland, The Netherlands, Spain

12
countries
There are no tuition fees

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

7
countries
Universities are free to set the level of tuition fees

This applies to 7 countries: Ireland, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Portugal, Serbia, United Kingdom

1
country
Universities and an external authority cooperate in setting the level of tuition fees

This applies to one country: Switzerland

3
countries
Universities can set the level of tuition fees under a ceiling set by an external authority

This applies to 3 countries: Hungary, Iceland, Italy

6
countries
Only an external authority is allowed to set the level of tuition fees

This applies to 6 countries: Croatia, Flanders, France, Wallonia, The Netherlands, Spain

12
countries
There are no tuition fees

Tuition fees for national/EU students at doctoral level

9
countries
Universities are free to set the level of tuition fees

2
countries
Universities and an external authority cooperate in setting the level of tuition fees

This applies to 2 countries: Slovenia, Switzerland

3
countries
Universities can set the level of tuition fees under a ceiling set by an external authority

This applies to 3 countries: Hungary, Iceland, Italy

4
countries
Only an external authority is allowed to set the level of tuition fees

This applies to 4 countries: Flanders, France, Wallonia, Spain

11
countries
There are no tuition fees

Tuition fees for non-EU students at Bachelor level

14
countries
Universities are free to set the level of tuition fees

5
countries
Universities and an external authority cooperate in setting the level of tuition fees

This applies to 5 countries: Denmark, Finland, Poland, Slovenia, Switzerland

3
countries
Universities can set the level of tuition fees under a ceiling set by an external authority

This applies to 3 countries: Wallonia, Iceland, Italy

3
countries
Only an external authority is allowed to set the level of tuition fees

This applies to 3 countries: Austria, France, Spain

4
countries
There are no tuition fees

This applies to 4 countries: Brandenburg, Hesse, North Rhine-Westphalia, Norway

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

14
countries
Universities are free to set the level of tuition fees

5
countries
Universities and an external authority cooperate in setting the level of tuition fees

This applies to 5 countries: Denmark, Finland, Poland, Slovenia, Switzerland

3
countries
Universities can set the level of tuition fees under a ceiling set by an external authority

This applies to 3 countries: Wallonia, Iceland, Italy

3
countries
Only an external authority is allowed to set the level of tuition fees

This applies to 3 countries: Austria, France, Spain

4
countries
There are no tuition fees

This applies to 4 countries: Brandenburg, Hesse, North Rhine-Westphalia, Norway

Tuition fees for non-EU students at doctoral level

12
countries
Universities are free to set the level of tuition fees

4
countries
Universities and an external authority cooperate in setting the level of tuition fees

This applies to 4 countries: Hungary, Poland, Slovenia, Switzerland

3
countries
Universities can set the level of tuition fees under a ceiling set by an external authority

This applies to 3 countries: Wallonia, Iceland, Italy

3
countries
Only an external authority is allowed to set the level of tuition fees

This applies to 3 countries: Austria, France, Spain

7
countries
There are no tuition fees