This week’s hot button issue of funding concerns for CUNY brings to the front increasing pressure from policy-makers about the efficiency and effectiveness. This directly resonates with the OECD’s The State of Higher Education report . It notes “From an institutional perspective, HEIs are under pressure to become more effective and efficient across all of their missions – teaching, research and innovation and local economic development. Yet, many face financial challenges that threaten their long-term sustainability.”

Here is a chart from OECD website indicating public spending on tertiary education as a percentage of total education spending. Here “Public spending includes both direct expenditure on educational institutions and educational subsidies to households administered by educational institutions. Private expenditure is recorded net of public subsidies that educational institutions may receive.”

1 private spending

The chart illustrates that the United States spends significantly less in through public resources as compared to countries like Germany, United Kingdom and Canada. At this lower level of public investment, the increasing cost pressures are resulting in students picking up more burden of cost of college education through increased tuition.

Here is an important footnote from OECD chart: “Spending on tertiary education is defined as the total expenditure on the highest level of education, covering private expenditure on schools, universities, and other private institutions delivering or supporting educational services. The measure is a percentage of total education spending. At the tertiary level educational institutions in OECD countries are mainly publicly funded, although there are substantial and growing levels of private funding.

OECD’s Education Policy Outlook 2015 also identified six “policy levers” grouped in three categories:

  1. Students: Raising Outcomes (How to raise outcomes for all in terms of equity and quality and preparing students for the future-refers to outputs of the education system)
    1. Equity and quality
    2. Preparing students for the future
  2. Institutions: Enhancing quality (How to raise the quality of instruction through school improvement and evaluation and assessment-refers to quality of the inputs).
    1. School improvement
    2. Evaluation and assessment
  3. Governing effectively (How to align governance and funding of education systems to be effective.)
    1. Governance
    2. Funding


OECD website provides an interactive tool Reforms Finder from OECD based on different countries.  Here is a snapsot of reforms from three different countries which focus on Funding “Policy Lever”.


Funding reforms are only one of the six policy levers. Successful policy planning and implementation requires alignment of careful mix of various levers to achieve optimum output.


One thought on “W7-Funding reforms gaining momentum around the world

  1. It is interesting to tie last week’s reading to the funding issue faced by CUNY as reported last week. The data and statistics you provide also highlight a point from this week’s readings — planning and implementation must be data driven to be meaningful and successful. In the midst of uproar around funding and a demand for efficiencies in public education as evidence by Albany’s pronouncements last week, data cannot be ignored and must instead be used as a tool for intelligent planning and responses to Albany’s most recent directives.

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