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10th Anniversary Conference
Universidad Carlos III de Madrid Friday 25th to Saturday 26th May 2007

A Perspective on the Financial Impact of the Bologna Process

Luisa Cerdeira
Administrator of the University of Lisbon
May 25, 2007

PRESENTATION OUTLINE A – Financial impacts according to funding agents – governments/ taxpayers, students/ families. B – Financial impacts according to higher education institutions: B.1 – Financial resources B.2 – Human resources C – Concluding Remarks

A – Financial impacts according to funding agents – Governments/ taxpayers, students/ families
One of Bologna’s main goals:

=> The creation of a 2-cycle system (undergraduate and
graduate), reflecting a 2-cycle structure (BachelorsMasters) by field of studies.

=> Most countries have already adopted a 3-cycle system
(bachelors, masters, doctorate – BA, MA, PhD). In most fields of study, the first cycle lasts only 3 years.

A - Financial impact according to funding agents – Governments/ taxpayers, students/ families
European historical context:

=> On a European level and as a result of historical progress
throughout the twentieth century, governments have assumed the main responsibility for financing universities.
(Ziderman, 1995)


Despite the universally recognized importance of this, higher education at the start of the 21st century seems everywhere beset by significant financial austerity (declining governmental budgets, deteriorating physical plants, declining faculty-student ratios, demoralized and distracted faculty, higher fees, greater student debt loads).
(Johnstone, 2005)

“Bologna process may be interpreted as another step in the neo-liberal movement to decrease the social responsibility of the state by shortening the length of pre-graduate studies and transferring responsibility for supporting employability to individuals through graduate studies: in essence converting education into a private good.”
(Amaral e Magalhães, 2004)

The change of the 1st cycle duration (3 years in most countries)

=> Significant







undergraduate courses (bachelor), which may cause a decrease in the government’s funding liabilities and transferring to the students and their families the costs of attendance and of obtaining 2nd and 3rd cycle degrees. Governments currently contend that it is not their social liability to fully or partially finance those students (2nd cycle)

=> therefore, they will have to get into the labor market earlier
and get family or other support such as student loans in order to continue their education.

The policy of fixing tuition fees

can vary according to 1st or 2nd cycle courses with higher tuition fees in 2nd cycle courses

=> tuition fees for second cycle studies were introduced even if
they did not exist in the previous system (for example partially in Slovenia according to new legislation);

=> or they are higher than for the first cycle (like in Estonia,
Latvia, Italy and France for example);

=> In Malta masters degree students do not receive any study
grants, which is an obstacle for students;

=> In Germany fees are often charged for so-called nonconsecutive second cycle programmes.
(ESIB, The National Unions of Students in Europe, 2005)

In most European countries’ student social support in the form of grants covered first degree students during their 4 to 5 years of study.

The change of the 1st cycle to 3 years may cause a decrease of social support to 2nd cycle students.
“Another problem must be solved by the politics. In general

the public scholarships for students are only planned for one
study course. In the previous system the financial subsidies were at least five years for the duration of a diploma course. Nowadays the financial support in some cases will be stopped for students after having reached their bachelor degree.”
(Mansberger, Schuh e Steinkellner, 2006)

The type and level of support given to students, such as grants / scholarships, is rather diverse in the European context:

=> In the United Kingdom 85%, in Finland 71%,
and in the Netherlands 62% of all students receive support for their living expenses;

=> France is situated at the average European
value of 53%;

=> In Austria, Germany, Spain and Portugal, only
25% of the students get financial support from the State;

=> In Italy only 10% receive support.

Significant differences between the European countries:

=> students support => level of income of each European country
with consequences in the implementation of another goal of the Bologna Process - increased student mobility.

The Bologna Process could lead to a EHEA that creates a new mechanism of selection and exclusion
A student from Romania has far greater difficulties going to study in Norway, even if the grant that the Romanian government pays is portable, than the other way round.

Thus, the question of how to create a European Higher Education Area that is inclusive and offers the option of mobility independence of one’s country of origin and of how rich one’s family is still remains to be efficiently tackled and solved.
(Bienefeld and Almqvist, 2004)

B - Financing impact according to higher education institutions
Despite being a matter of governmental interest, HEIs themselves have been enduring the main costs to implement Bologna. Only 6 countries that adhered to the Bologna Process were granted support funds for its implementation. (Geddie K., 2005).

The absence of supports in a context of resources reduction will have a negative impact on the institution’s prime activities of teaching and research.

B.1 – Financial Resources
The impact of a new curricular organization built in 3 cycles has not yet been well studied.

=> Some think that a shorter diploma (Bachelors) can
result in an insufficient education that is not acknowledged by the market. As a consequence, students would continue to a 2nd cycle education;

=> Others believe that students who have obtained a 1st
cycle diploma will be absorbed by the market and create a decrease of students looking for 2nd cycle programs.

=> It is also possible that firms which are concerned with
the qualifications of their workers will support their further education.

A recent study included students from 30 European countries with an average age of 22.7 concluded that:
(11 000 students; 3265 answers on-line December 2005-March 2006)

=> Approximately half (51%) of the students surveyed
intended to immediately continue their studies in the 2nd cycle after ending the 1st cycle;

=> 1 out of 4 students (25%) planned to be more experienced
before enrolling in the 2nd cycle;

=> 9 % had started working without considering the possibility
of going back to their studies;

=> 12% did not know what they were going to do in the future.
EFMD 2006, The Bologna Process, Student Plans and Perceptions, 2006 Report 1, European Foundation for Management Development.

HEI Financial Resources
Most European countries have financing systems for public
institutions. These systems rely fundamentally on the use of formulas.

The type of parameter to be included in the algorithm can vary but it is significantly indexed to the attendance of students enrolled in first cycle studies.

Results from the study made from the testimonials of some administrators or administrative and academic decision- makers of the

Germany, Belgium, Italy, England, France, Spain, Scotland, Portugal, Switzerland, Sweden

The Calculation of the higher education budget
Comparison with previous years

Year 2007

HE Institutional budget calculations for 2007
Belgium Germany Italy
Formula + Program Contract


Comparison with previous years + Program contract (~2%)

Formula + Program Contracts (with a few universities)
Comparison with previous years informed by a resource allocation model

Portugal Scotland France Spain Switzerland

Formula + Program Contract

Other- The university doesn’t depend on government funding


Fewer number of students => less financial resources from the governments => pressure towards future tuition fee increases.

The possibility of a tuition fee rise, especially concerning 2nd cycle tuition, is not yet determined. According to the data collected, only a few programs in Portuguese and Spanish institutions have registered a rise in the Masters level tuition fees.

Impacts of Bologna implementation on the tuition fees level
Was the tuition fee level set by your institution changed for the programs adapted to the Bologna Process?
First Cycle Second Cycle Third Cycle Yes No No Yes, in some programs No No No Yes, in some programs No No No No

Belgium Germany Italy Portugal Scotland France Spain Switzerland England

No No No No No No No No No

Investments in facilities
New investments to adapt the infrastructures of the institutions to the Bologna Process:

=> New educational facilities (study rooms and libraries);
=> Equipment, computer software to support and promote
e- and b-learning This need to face new investments has not achieved universal enthusiasm. However, it has become important in

several countries which had previously experienced a greater
lack of such support structures for students.

Investments in facilities
Was it necessary to implement any of the following changes within the educational facilities?

New software and hardware: Belgium Germany No No

Construction of new study rooms: No No

Equipment for laboratories and/ or libraries: Yes No

Portugal Scotland France Spain

No No No Yes

No No No Yes

Yes No No No No





Administrative and financial costs in the implementation of Bologna Process
=> Changes for Diploma Supplement Production; => Need for bilingual informational material on
programs and institutions (generally to English);

=> Most survey participants indicated that their
institutions had to endure expenses resulting from





adjustments without government support.

Administrative and financial costs in the implementation of Bologna Process
Production of Student Academic Registration Production of a (bilingual and online) University Information Guide Changes regarding academic management software Changes regarding the software for Diploma Supplement Production

Diploma Supplement Production

Belgium Germany Italy XXXX XXXX





Not Yet, but it should be done


Not Yet, but it should be done


XXXX Not Yet, but it should be done


Not Yet, but it should be done

Switzerland England





XXXX - There were administrative and financial costs

B.2 – Human Resources Costs
=> The adaptation from a two-cycle to a three-cycle system (bachelors,
masters, PhD) => program reorganization and the development of the ECTS system.

=> The development of student mobility and the mobilization of European
Funds => requires more programs taught in English.

=> The new program reorganization =>
students assignments.

pedagogical changes =>

reduction of class timetables and a stronger follow-up and supervision of the


In some countries the elaboration of the bachelors thesis => needs

more supervision from the teachers.

=> Changes => increase the teachers’ duties and workload.

=> The programs need to be designed to match with economic
and management perspectives.

=> Students will be expected to manage their academic
trajectories by selecting the modules that most serve their educational needs and interests.

=> These changes will have consequences on the traditional HE
curricula. In addition, the organization of timetables and social follow-ups will undergo changes.

The reduction of program times and pressure may prevail over the need for a solid education in both specific and global fields of studies. As a result, the system’s quality may decrease.
The implementation of a quality assessment system is mandatory to assure higher education learning standards, possibility of degree comparison and European accreditation. Accreditation agencies, which are bound to play a regulating role, will consume a great deal of human and financial resources (at the same time => a decrease in the budgetary support regarding the assessment and accreditation processes).

The management changes in the non-teaching staff
Regarding the non-teaching staff, was it necessary to set new schedules so as to have libraries/ laboratories opened for longer periods (shift work, night work)?
Belgium Germany Italy Portugal Scotland France Spain Switzerland England Yes No No Yes majority Yes No No No Yes

The need for re-adaptation seems to be more problematic in the institutions where student workload was based on the classical model. Countries like the United Kingdom feel they do not need many adaptations, and that Bologna is already very close to their model.

The new programs’attractiveness for the students
In your opinion, did the academic changes made it more appealing to the students?
Belgium Yes Yes Yes Yes No Yes Yes No

Italy Portugal Scotland France Spain Switzerland United Kingdom

Apart from the United Kingdom and France, most of the answers obtained show that the changes introduced in the programs have made them more attractive to students.

The new programs’ attractiveness for the foreign students Did the number of international students enrolled in your institution increase in the previous (previous or current) year?
Belgium Germany Italy Portugal Scotland France Spain Switzerland United Kingdom Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No No No

A positive assessment regarding the number of foreign students. No significant changes in countries where there was already a strong ability to attract students (United Kingdom, Germany and Belgium).

=> The Bologna Process is currently ongoing and the
implementation period is still far too short to produce a strong understanding of the changes in the EHEA financing system.

=> Co-existence of both the “old” and the “new” systems in HEIs
makes it difficult to clearly infer the impacts of the “new” organization.

=> HEIs have been practically compelled to implement the reform,
without enough notice to plan the new funding and management mechanisms. Decision- makers and stakeholders have a vague perception of the future implications.

=> Governments have so far given priority to the legal process
regarding the reorganization of the degrees and their accreditation. As a result, less emphasis has been given to the elucidation of HE funding policies.
Madrid May, 25 2007

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