The topicality of research into higher education funding in a period of demographic decline and economic recession caused by the global crisis, is dictated by the need to make well-informed decisions while allocating public funds to educational institutions. Nowadays the choice of normative-per capita financing model for higher education, focused on promoting quality education and improving its international competitiveness, is still a controversial issue in Russia.
Purpose and objectives of the study
The study aims to develop a normative per capita model for higher education funding with competitive mechanisms of budget allocation and to assess the financial and economic implications of its use in Russia.
The main objectives of the study include:
- Comparative study on the use of competitive public funds allocation mechanisms that are used in the higher education sector in foreign countries and in Russia, evaluation of the advantages, risks and limitations;
- Developing a model of normative per capita funding for higher education with competitive mechanisms of budget allocation, linked to the results of the final certification of school graduates - the unified state examination (USE);
- Analysis of financial and economic implications of the transition to a model of normative per capita funding of higher education with competitive mechanisms of budget allocation.
The object of the study is the system of public financing of higher vocational education institutions in Russia. The study includes comparative analysis of the funding mechanisms of educational institutions in foreign countries during different periods.
The methodological approaches are based on a combination of theoretical developments in the field of economics and modeling of financial flows in higher education sector, evaluation mechanisms of transaction costs in the information-asymmetric market with contemporary concepts on the interrelation of the factors influencing higher education quality and access.
A special software module providing a relational database has been developed in order to conduct empirical research. The complete database and the module have allowed the collection and processing of the necessary data from the sample of high schools to make model calculations.
The study presents:
- conceptual approaches applied in different countries to contemporary funding models based on competitive mechanisms of public fund allocation during the global economic crisis;
- a developed methodology to improve higher education financing tools based on the normative-per capita funding model, linked to the results of the final certification of school graduates. It also evaluates the implications and consequences of the transition to competitive mechanisms of budget allocation in the higher education sector;
- financial and economic feasibility study of the normative-per capita financing model based on the outcomes of the empirical research.
The key findings of the study are published in a monograph, presented in the articles in the international reviewed journals, in presentations at scientific seminars and international conferences.
The application of the normative-per capita funding mechanism is aimed at efficient use of public funds for bachelor’s and master’s programs in state funded higher education institutions. This mechanism makes it possible to combine the advantages of market services with Government guarantees of financing, i.e. a competitive mechanism of budget allocation. It will promote competition among educational institutions for students, improve their focus on the individual needs and requirements of students, increasing the number of options for students in the university system and promoting quality of educational services. As a result “free voting of consumers based on the Unified State Examination scores” is linked to the generalized model of the competitive mechanism of budget funds allocation in the higher education sector.