European countries plan cuts to higher education

February 9, 2012

9 February 2012. More economic gloom has been forecast for 2012, with the Eurozone's debt troubles set to deepen. So what does the constant drip of bad news items on bailouts, double-dip recessions and austerity cuts mean for higher education in Europe?

The outlook, unsurprisingly, is fairly grim. Almost all European Union countries have committed to reducing their expenditure on universities, while many research budgets have been slashed as Brussels tightens fiscal restraints on debt-laden countries.

The latest round of public sector cuts in Italy, the Republic of Ireland and Spain, announced in December, illustrates the problems faced by the higher education sectors in the ­countries hit hardest by austerity measures. In Spain, the new conservative government led by Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy in December outlined the biggest public spending cuts in the country’s history – $11.8 billion. While the force of the blow to higher education is not yet known, hundreds of millions will be taken from education overall, and from assistance to local authorities – key supporters of universities.

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