Analysis of Influence of Institutional Changes in the Educational System on Households’ Spending on Education
The research project is aimed at analyzing private spending on education in Russian Federation. It is primarily focused on studying variations in the consumption of education and spending on it by families with different socio-economic backgrounds. Significant differences of these patterns across families with different levels of parental education or income and those, living in different areas will mark the degree of socio-economic and territorial inequality in access to education. The idea of the project is to trace possible differences in enrollments and spending by families at all stages during the education of their children.
During recent years there has been some unification of enrollment patterns at schools and institutions of higher education. First, school enrollment has leveled off at 98% after being stated as a compulsory level back in 2007. Therefore, overall there is very little variation in school enrollments by children from families with different socio-economic background that stems from different strategies during the last 2 years at schools. Less than 20% of 9th graders continue their compulsory education in deteriorating vocational schools (school program, plus vocational training, in total 2 years of study.) and secondary professional education (school program, plus programs similar to US 2-year colleges, in total 3 years of study). However, participation in supplementary education for children that is provided by schools of music and art, private tutoring in school subjects and sports differ significantly by different families.
Second, Given the significant decrease in the population of young people aged 17-19 years due to the years of economic turmoil after the collapse of the Soviet system, Russia now sees an extremely high proportion of secondary school graduates – about 80-85%. Therefore, currently, the variation of enrollments in higher education by types of families is moderate, however, there is evidence of variation of access to quality higher education.
Therefore, in this project we study
· patterns of enrolment and spending by families with different socio-economic backgrounds, living in urban and suburban areas on preschool education, and supplementary education of children of 7-17 years;
· differentiation of the characteristics of HE institutions by admission selectivity, per student spending and involvement in research;
· effects of recent reforms in university admissions (admission based on the results of Uniform State Examination (USE) of secondary school graduates) on access to higher education by families with different socio-economic backgrounds.
The supplementary part of the report is focused on the economic returns to Russian higher education. It has been prepared as a part of a project on economic effects of higher education in the BRIC countries lead by M. Carnoy.
For the study of enrolment and spending on education the 2010 round of RLMS-HSE survey data was used. It provides detailed information on enrolment and spending on education and contains data on family-background variables. For the differentiation of characteristics of institutions of higher education we used statistical data by the Federal Statistical Agency (Rosstat) and information on the average USE-scores of first-year students collected by HRU HSE in 2011, and data on publication activities collected by the Russian Citation Index. The effects of change on university admission systems have been studied using the data on first year students of universities in the 16 largest Russian cities that were collected in 2007 and 2010 – before and after the introduction of the new admission rules.
Our results suggest that
· Currently in Russia there exists socio-economic and territorial differentiation of enrolments and spending on education. On average the percentage of children both of pre-school- and the school-age who participate in programs of supplementary education from families with higher education of parents is higher by a factor of two. The same scale of differentiation is observed between families that live in urban and suburban areas: city-dwellers have better opportunities of access to supplementary education. The average income of families with children who participate in programs of supplementary education is 40-60 per cent higher than that of children who do not attend such programs.
· Socio-economic and territorial differences in participation in supplementary education for school-age children according to our data leads to a variation of USE-scores of high school graduates. That is, high-school graduates who participate in supplementary training both at their schools or USE preparation courses or in the form of private tutorship tend to have higher USE-scores.
· It is possible to identify groups of higher education institutions by formal status, level (bachelor, master) and profile (economics, engineering, etc.) of their educational programs. The higher the status and the level of programs of an institution the higher the average USE-scores of entrants to this university, the lower the proportion of part-time students, the higher the spending on research per faculty, the larger the proportion of the faculty of 30-49 years of age (which is an advantage taking into account the ageing population of the faculty). The only exception to this rule is the group of institutions of higher education of socio-economic profile, mostly offering just bachelor-level programs, which tend to have relatively good students in terms of their average USE-scores and lower spending on research per faculty.
· Variations in USE-scores across families with different socio-economic background living in urban and suburban areas due to differences in participation in supplementary education lead to inequality of access to higher education. Taking into account the higher USE-scores of universities with higher status, it seems that students from families with better socio-economic background have better chances of being admitted to these institutions of higher education.The introduction of USE-scores as a universal admission criterion, however, can be viewed as a measure of decreasing income inequality. Our data shows that since its introduction, high-school graduates from families with lower incomes and parental education tend to apply to a greater number of university programs than other high-school graduates. Moreover, the increase in proportion of participants of ‘in-school’ USE preparation courses from the former families has increased by a larger extent than that from other families. This clearly indicates the overall optimistic perceptions of the opportunity to enter better universities by high-school graduates from families with lower incomes and parental education