AbstractWe would like to acquaint our readers with a new book of the series of Monographs of Polish Rectors Foundation. The present book focuses on a fundamental contemporary issue in higher education of some countries, namely, the model of financing HEIs, in particular, with systemic solutions regarding the funding of studies. A thorough analysis of the issues regarding higher education requires taking into account the context of a HEI’s functioning. It determines, among others, due to cultural and economic considerations, the possibility of implementing selected solutions in particular countries. This means that we need to take into consideration local traditions in HE, a society’s welfare, as well as mentality-related factors at a particular stage of development of each country and their HE system. These issues are of special importance in case of Central and Eastern European countries, which have entered the path of a systemic transformation and liberating themselves from the tradition of so called real socialism order. However, we should also pay attention to universal matters, such as solutions or good practices originating from other countries. The analysis of implemented earlier models of HEI funding provides certain guidelines as regards the character and type of systemic rules, as well as some lessons learnt from previous experience; thus, the followers are able to avoid the mistakes typically made by pioneering countries which entered the new path before. Another essential factor is the need for following global development trends. For the European countries participating in the Bologna Process, the trends currently observed on our continent seem to be of particular interest. From this perspective, we should bear in mind the fundamental underlying values of a HEI funding model. Among them we should mention, on the one hand, the principle of HEIs autonomy, and on the other hand, the principles of responsible fund distribution, which requires full transparency in this respect. Autonomy and accountability are closely related to each other, like two sides of one coin. Those considerations guarantee that a HEI, which distributes public funds, acts within the boundaries of general public interest and for its benefit, which in turn determines its authority and positive image in public opinion. However, there are also other values to be considered. In particular, we need to address the issues related to the level of harmonizing the solutions applied in HEIs funding with fundamental objectives, as well as with constitutional patterns in various countries. They are related to the mission of an educational system and involve the right to education, providing universal availability of education and equal access to it. This may impose significant constrains over the process of developing 8 selected regulations defining the models of funding, e.g. as regards charging fees or the principles of co-funding studies. Similar constraints may be derived from systemic assumptions regarding social policy, and consequently the postulated educational social structure, in particular, the proportion of high schools graduates or the holders of BA, MA and PhD degrees. The selected examples mentioned above determine the adoption of particular solutions shaping HEIs funding models in each of the countries. The conditions and determinants specified above served as the basis for composing the present monograph, focusing on current issues related to the methods of funding projects and institutions of HE system. The present crisis in Europe has made the overall implementation of co-funding the studies less realistic in many countries. In view of this, in this monograph we focus, in principle, on systemic solutions related to HEIs funding from public funds. The issues concerning research funding represent a different area and need to be considered separately. Bearing in mind the considerations specified, Polish Rectors Foundation, acting jointly with the Institute of Knowledge Society, fulfils its mission, defined by rectors, of a leading think-tank in Poland (supported by strategic partners1), carrying out research on higher education. In order to complete the project in the form of the present publication, we have commissioned a number of reports which were prepared by the experts representing several countries. Following the elaboration the texts received, after the presentation and open discussion on their findings2, they were incorporated in the present publication, thus forming its chapters3. It is noteworthy that four countries have been selected, namely, Poland and three neighbouring countries, which deserved to be considered from the Polish perspective – the Czech Republic, Germany and Ukraine. Also, in one of the chapters an interesting case of England has been referred to, due to its successfully operating fund distribution model, which remains unchanged despite short-term political pressures, including ministerial arbitrary decisions. At the same time the system does not bind a HEI, due to financial considerations, with the obligation to retain the students who, for a number of reasons, do not deserve to have their studies financed by taxpayers, in particular, as they fail to make progress. Other benefits appreciated by a HEI are related to the timeline, which exceeds one fiscal year, as well as with a contract-based funding formula. Also, in the present publication the analysis was performed of other crucial components linked to HEIs funding systems, including the issues of typology, grouping and classification of HEIs, as well as quality stimulating solutions and those related to the learning outcomes accomplished.
* presented citation count is obtained through Internet information analysis and it is close to the number calculated by the Publish or Perish system.