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Dilemmas Of Financing Higher Education In Poland

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2000 Annual Conference


St. Louis, Missouri

Publication Date

June 18, 2000

Start Date

June 18, 2000

End Date

June 21, 2000



Page Count


Page Numbers

5.233.1 - 5.233.8



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Paper Authors

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Roman Z. Morawski

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Jerzy Woznicki

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Andrzej Krasniewski

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Session 3460

Dilemmas of Financing Higher Education in Poland Roman Z. Morawski, Jerzy Woźnicki, and Andrzej Kraśniewski Warsaw University of Technology, Poland


The paper is on the methodology of financing higher education, being currently discussed by the Polish academic milieu. A legal and economic background of the discussion is outlined and several options for the future system of financing higher education are presented, viz. options proposed by the Ministry of National Education and by the Conference of Rectors of Academic Schools in Poland. Some preliminary evaluation of those options is carried out.


According to the academic law, promulgated by the Polish parliament in 1990, the regular studies at public academic institutions are free of charge for the Polish citizens. At the same time, the students of evening and extra-mural studies at public institutions of higher education (IHEs) and the students of private institutions of higher education have to pay tuition fees ranging from 500 USD to 5 000 USD per year. Such a situation is a source of numerous pathologies in the functioning of institutions of higher education, and negatively influences the average quality of higher education in Poland. On the other hand, the long-lasting underfinancing of IHEs is undermining their development that makes problematic further increase in the number of students (it was tripled in 1989-99), starting new programs of study and establishing quality-assurance systems. It is also worth mentioning here that the new Polish constitution, promulgated in 1997, made the legal situation even more complicated since it declared education in public IHEs to be (with some exceptions) free of charge1. The need for a new system of financing IHEs in Poland is thus evident; hence the attempts to propose it, undertaken recently by many governmental and non-governmental bodies.

The main objective of the paper is to summarize the attempts of designing a new system of financing academic institutions, and to identify possible consequences of its implementation. Based on the data available in international reports, the methods of financing higher education in Poland are compared with the methods applied in other European countries. The paper characterizes recently proposed versions of a new system of financing higher education in Poland – combining loans for students with financing from the State budget and students pockets.

The solution of the financial dilemmas of IHEs in Poland will require a significant increase in the amount of resources for their functioning. The State budget seems to be a very limited source of such resources for the foreseeable future. Hence the strategic success of the higher education in Poland will depend on the ability to get financial support from non-budgetary sources, on the level of economic activity by IHEs, and on the efficiency of using the

1 The Constitution of the Republic of Poland, transl. by Albert Pol and Andrew Caldwell, Sejm Publishing Office, Warsaw 1997.

Morawski, R. Z., & Woznicki, J., & Krasniewski, A. (2000, June), Dilemmas Of Financing Higher Education In Poland Paper presented at 2000 Annual Conference, St. Louis, Missouri. 10.18260/1-2--8310

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