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Belgium-French-Community:Higher Education Funding

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Overview Belgium (French Community)

Contents

Belgium-French-Community:Political, Social and Economic Background and Trends

Belgium-French-Community:Historical Development

Belgium-French-Community:Main Executive and Legislative Bodies

Belgium-French-Community:Population: Demographic Situation, Languages and Religions

Belgium-French-Community:Political and Economic Situation

Belgium-French-Community:Organisation and Governance

Belgium-French-Community:Fundamental Principles and National Policies

Belgium-French-Community:Lifelong Learning Strategy

Belgium-French-Community:Organisation of the Education System and of its Structure

Belgium-French-Community:Organisation of Private Education

Belgium-French-Community:National Qualifications Framework

Belgium-French-Community:Administration and Governance at Central and/or Regional Level

Belgium-French-Community:Administration and Governance at Local and/or Institutional Level

Belgium-French-Community:Statistics on Organisation and Governance

Belgium-French-Community:Funding in Education

Belgium-French-Community:Early Childhood and School Education Funding

Belgium-French-Community:Higher Education Funding

Belgium-French-Community:Adult Education and Training Funding

Belgium-French-Community:Early Childhood Education and Care

Belgium-French-Community:Organisation of Programmes for Children under 2-3 years

Belgium-French-Community:Teaching and Learning in Programmes for Children under 2-3 years

Belgium-French-Community:Assessment in Programmes for Children under 2-3 years

Belgium-French-Community:Organisation of Programmes for Children over 2-3 years

Belgium-French-Community:Teaching and Learning in Programmes for Children over 2-3 years

Belgium-French-Community:Assessment in Programmes for Children over 2-3 years

Belgium-French-Community:Organisational Variations and Alternative Structures in Early Childhood Education and Care

Belgium-French-Community:Primary Education

Belgium-French-Community:Organisation of Primary Education

Belgium-French-Community:Teaching and Learning in Primary Education

Belgium-French-Community:Assessment in Primary Education

Belgium-French-Community:Organisational Variations and Alternative Structures in Primary Education

Belgium-French-Community:Secondary and Post-Secondary Non-Tertiary Education

Belgium-French-Community:Organisation of General Lower Secondary Education

Belgium-French-Community:Teaching and Learning in General Lower Secondary Education

Belgium-French-Community:Assessment in General Lower Secondary Education

Belgium-French-Community:Organisation of General Upper Secondary Education

Belgium-French-Community:Teaching and Learning in General Upper Secondary Education

Belgium-French-Community:Assessment in General Upper Secondary Education

Belgium-French-Community:Organisation of Vocational Upper Secondary Education

Belgium-French-Community:Teaching and Learning in Vocational Upper Secondary Education

Belgium-French-Community:Assessment in Vocational Upper Secondary Education

Belgium-French-Community:Organisation of Post-Secondary Non-Tertiary Education

Belgium-French-Community:Teaching and Learning in Post-Secondary Non-Tertiary Education

Belgium-French-Community:Assessment in Post-Secondary Non-Tertiary Education

Belgium-French-Community:Higher Education

Belgium-French-Community:Types of Higher Education Institutions

Belgium-French-Community:First Cycle Programmes

Belgium-French-Community:Bachelor

Belgium-French-Community:Short-Cycle Higher Education

Belgium-French-Community:Second Cycle Programmes

Belgium-French-Community:Programmes outside the Bachelor and Master Structure

Belgium-French-Community:Third Cycle (PhD) Programmes

Belgium-French-Community:Adult Education and Training

Belgium-French-Community:Distribution of Responsibilities

Belgium-French-Community:Developments and Current Policy Priorities

Belgium-French-Community:Main Providers

Belgium-French-Community:Main Types of Provision

Belgium-French-Community:Validation of Non-formal and Informal Learning

Belgium-French-Community:Teachers and Education Staff

Belgium-French-Community:Initial Education for Teachers Working in Early Childhood and School Education

Belgium-French-Community:Conditions of Service for Teachers Working in Early Childhood and School Education

Belgium-French-Community:Continuing Professional Development for Teachers Working in Early Childhood and School Education

Belgium-French-Community:Initial Education for Academic Staff in Higher Education

Belgium-French-Community:Conditions of Service for Academic Staff Working in Higher Education

Belgium-French-Community:Continuing Professional Development for Academic Staff Working in Higher Education

Belgium-French-Community:Initial Education for Teachers and Trainers Working in Adult Education and Training

Belgium-French-Community:Conditions of Service for Teachers and Trainers Working in Adult Education and Training

Belgium-French-Community:Continuing Professional Development for Teachers and Trainers Working in Adult Education and Training

Belgium-French-Community:Management and Other Education Staff

Belgium-French-Community:Management Staff for Early Childhood and School Education

Belgium-French-Community:Staff Involved in Monitoring Educational Quality for Early Childhood and School Education

Belgium-French-Community:Education Staff Responsible for Guidance in Early Childhood and School Education

Belgium-French-Community:Other Education Staff or Staff Working with Schools

Belgium-French-Community:Management Staff for Higher Education

Belgium-French-Community:Other Education Staff or Staff Working in Higher Education

Belgium-French-Community:Management Staff Working in Adult Education and Training

Belgium-French-Community:Other Education Staff or Staff Working in Adult Education and Training

Belgium-French-Community:Quality Assurance

Belgium-French-Community:Quality Assurance in Early Childhood and School Education

Belgium-French-Community:Quality Assurance in Higher Education

Belgium-French-Community:Quality Assurance in Adult Education and Training

Belgium-French-Community:Educational Support and Guidance

Belgium-French-Community:Special Education Needs Provision within Mainstream Education

Belgium-French-Community:Separate Special Education Needs Provision in Early Childhood and School Education

Belgium-French-Community:Support Measures for Learners in Early Childhood and School Education

Belgium-French-Community:Guidance and Counselling in Early Childhood and School Education

Belgium-French-Community:Support Measures for Learners in Higher Education

Belgium-French-Community:Guidance and Counselling in Higher Education

Belgium-French-Community:Support Measures for Learners in Adult Education and Training

Belgium-French-Community:Guidance and Counselling in a Lifelong Learning Approach

Belgium-French-Community:Mobility and Internationalisation

Belgium-French-Community:Mobility in Early Childhood and School Education

Belgium-French-Community:Mobility in Higher Education

Belgium-French-Community:Mobility in Adult Education and Training

Belgium-French-Community:Other Dimensions of Internationalisation in Early Childhood and School Education

Belgium-French-Community:Other Dimensions of Internationalisation in Higher Education

Belgium-French-Community:Other Dimensions of Internationalisation in Adult Education and Training

Belgium-French-Community:Bilateral Agreements and Worldwide Cooperation

Belgium-French-Community:Ongoing Reforms and Policy Developments

Belgium-French-Community:National Reforms in Early Childhood Education and Care

Belgium-French-Community:National Reforms in School Education

Belgium-French-Community:National Reforms in Vocational Education and Training and Adult Learning

Belgium-French-Community:National Reforms in Higher Education

Belgium-French-Community:National Reforms related to Transversal Skills and Employability

Belgium-French-Community:European Perspective

Belgium-French-Community:Legislation

Belgium-French-Community:Glossary

Funding

The funding arrangements for higher education vary according to the type of institution.

Universities

The French Community contributes by way of annual operating subsidies to the financing of the expenses of recognised universities. These operating subsidies cover ordinary expenses for administration, teaching and research, including mobile equipment.

The decree of 31 March 2004, whose purpose in particular was to integrate higher education into the European Area, includes a section on university funding.

The operating subsidy for each university includes a fixed component reviewed every ten years (€106,630,867 for 2006 to 2015) and a variable component distributed between universities on basis of the number of regularly enrolled students (a base amount of €321,749,191). This amount is increased every year by an additional cumulative amount of €2,000,000 from 2010 until 2023, and by an additional cumulative amount of €1,000,000 for 2024 and 2025. The base amount and the increases are adjusted in line with the health consumer price index. From 2026, the amount of the variable component of the operating subsidy will be equal to the total index-adjusted amount for budget year 2025.
The number of regularly enrolled students taken into account does not correspond to the total number of enrolments:

  • students enrolled in a series of courses leading to less than 15 credits are not taken into account;
  • students registering for two or more courses are counted only once;
  • foreign students, students who have failed a year, or who have obtained other similar academic degrees, are taken into account only under certain conditions.

The fixed cost per student differs depending on the study orientation and cycle. The four study orientations are: humanities and social sciences, sciences, applied sciences and medicine, and agricultural sciences. Students enrolled for the teacher training for higher education (CAPAES) or initial training for teachers in upper secondary education (AESS) are taken into account at the time of their initial enrolment with a weighting coefficient corresponding to half of that applied to students regularly enrolled in the humanities and social sciences study orientation. Only the first two years of study leading to a complementary academic master’s degree or the first year of doctorate studies are taken into account in the calculation. Study years pertaining to the preparation of a doctorate thesis are not taken into account.

An amount of €8,379,827 is divided between the university academies in proportion to the number of students who obtained a doctoral degree during the preceding academic year.

An annual budget of €7,600,000 is earmarked for buildings (major repairs). Institutions that host students with grants (reduced registration fees) benefit from a supplementary annual budget to compensate for the lower revenues owing to reduced registration fees.

A decree dated of 11 January 2008 provides for an additional loan of €451,669 (index-linked) to be divided between the academies as a contribution to fostering student success.

The universities also receive an additional allocation to compensate for the reductions in tuition fees decided on by the decree of 19 July 2010 on free and democratic higher education.

In addition, since 1 July, 2001, universities have received as contributions to their general expenses at least 15% of the total amount of fees, subsidies and instalment payments (except these contributions) paid to them within the framework of all research tasks carried out for third parties for remuneration and for deliveries to third parties of services or materials stemming from the university’s activities. Fundamental research programmes are not subject to this contribution.

Higher Education Institutions

The financing of the higher education institutions is ensured by annual budgetary credits from the French Community and regulated by the decree of 9 September 1996, amended on numerous occasions. These overall annual grants help cover staffing, running and equipment costs for education, applied research, services to the community, continuing training and the administration of the higher education institution.

The principle for the financing of the higher education institutions is based on the number of students regularly enrolled on 1 February of the current year, but reduction coefficients are applied, so that an increase in the student population does not automatically result in an equivalent allocation increase. Furthermore, some categories of students are not subsidised (or are only partly subsidised).

Additionally, the higher education institutions retain the full amount of the registration fees paid by students and may develop education and applied research programmes and initiatives with private enterprises and public services and receive compensation for these.

Financing must cover all personnel, operating, equipment, and building infrastructure expenses. Each higher education institution is fully responsible for the management of the budget which it receives each year.

  • The overall annual grant for a higher education institution consists of two components:a fixed component consisting of a calculated historical element and a fixed element which reflects, among other factors, the number of educational categories organised, whether short- or long-type courses are organised, and whether the institution is the only one of its network in its zone (five zones have been defined based on the provinces);
  • a variable component, corresponding to the number of teaching load units calculated on the basis of the number of students with a weighting depending on the education category, multiplied by the amount per unit of teaching load (this variable component is calculated separately for short-type and long-type education).

Certain higher education institutions receive additional sums calculated for each network on the basis of the differences between its overall annual grant and the grant received in 1997.

Since 2005, various decrees have allocated additional sums to the higher education institutions:

  • An allocation in support of the democratisation of higher education, consisting of an additional amount on top of the social subsidies, in proportion to the number of students and an addition to the income from tuition fees calculated on the basis of the number of grant-holding students and low-income students (from budget year 2010, the total index-linked amount of this allocation is €11,267,783, subject to a reduction coefficient in 2011 and 2012).
  • An allocation to promote success (under the decree of 11 January 2008) provides for an additional credit of €465,000 to support actions to foster student success by paying personnel costs.
  • An additional allocation to compensate for the reductions in tuition fees decided on by the decree of 19 July 2010 on free and democratic higher education.

Arts Colleges

The financing of the arts colleges is regulated by a decree of 20 December 2001, amended on numerous occasions. The allocated staffing is made up of two components: a historical component and a variable component, defined every five years and modified by a decreasing coefficient in the first year and a progressive coefficient for the second year. When the numbers of personnel are defined, the proportions of the different types of personnel must respect minimum and maximum levels defined by the decree. The variable component is equal to the number of staffing units calculated using the method described below.

The calculation of staffing levels is made up of a fixed amount for a first tranche of financable students and proportional amounts equal to the number of financable students in the following tranches multiplied by a specific coefficient. These numbers and coefficients vary according to the study area (plastic, visual and spatial arts, music, etc.) and the type (short or long).

In the music domain, for example, 26 employment units are allocated for the first 150 students; above 150 the number of additional units is calculated by multiplying the number of students by 0.17 (for 151 to 300 students), and then by 0.15 (for more than 300 students).The number of employment units thus calculated is allocated for a year. The number of students eligible for financing included in the calculation of the variable component is equal to the average number of students eligible for financing during the five academic years prior to those for which the staffing is being calculated.

The French Community contributes, through annual allocations called social subsidies, to the financing of students’ social needs (such as direct and indirect welfare assistance, social and guidance services, or the running of the student council).

The arts colleges also receive an additional allocation to compensate for the reductions in tuition fees decided on by the decree of 19 July 2010 on free and democratic higher education.

The students must pay tuition fees of which half (short-type higher education) or all (long-type higher education), as well as specific enrolment fees, are deducted from the amount of the operating grants or allocations paid by the French Community.

Specific staffing is allocated to the colleges for the organisation of the upper secondary teaching diploma.

Financial Autonomy and Control

Each establishment of higher education is fully responsible for its own management, within the framework of the budget allocated to it every year.

In the university institutions, the government commissioner or delegate ensures that the board of governors and the bodies to which powers are delegated by the board, by the law or by decree do not take any decisions which contravene the laws and decrees, or with orders and regulations issued in accordance with the said laws or decrees, or which might compromise the institution’s finances. Supervision of the academies is entrusted jointly to the commissioners and delegates appointed at the academy’s member institutions. The task is then in turn delegated to each person by order of decreasing seniority in their mandate, for a two-year period. The same mechanism operates for the delegates to these institutions who act as government-accredited financial inspectors, as regards decisions  with budgetary or financial implications. The government commissioner or delegate appeals to the government against any decision judged to be contrary to the relevant laws and decrees, or contrary to the orders and regulations adopted under the terms of these laws or decrees.

Commissioners to the higher education institutions ensure that the decisions taken by the controlling authorities or the authorities of the higher education institution acting by delegation are in accordance with the laws and decrees and with the orders and regulations introduced in accordance with those laws and decrees. The government determines the list of inspection tasks for the commissioners to the higher education institutions (e.g. checking the number of regularly enrolled students taken into account for funding). These commissioners also represent the government in the arts colleges and perform the same roles there.

Fees within Public Higher Education

In principle, students in higher education are required to pay a tuition fee. A decree on free and democratic higher education (19 July 2010) abolished registration fees (tuition and other fees) for students receiving study grants (grant-holders), and reduced the tuition fee for students on low incomes (those whose income or whose family’s income only slightly exceeds the authorised level) to the amount of the current tuition fee of grant-holding students. The registration fee of low-income students is thus reduced from €487 to 374.

For other students, the tuition fee may no longer be index-linked, and remains fixed at a maximum of €835 until at least the end of the academic year 2014-2015. Those institutions which were not subject to the ceiling, such as the arts colleges, will not be able to exceed the amount of the registration fees compared with 2009-2010.

An additional registration fee is charged for stateless students or students who are nationals of non-EU countries.

Financial Support for Learners’ Families

A series of benefits are granted to families by the federal authorities. Families with children up to the age of 25 in education receive free medical insurance and a family allowance for each child who is studying. Parents also receive tax relief for each dependent child who is studying, without any age limit.

Financial Support for Learners

From the moment that a child follows studies successfully, the family has the right to receive material and financial assistance from the community if the parents cannot ensure that the studies will continue normally because of insufficient income. This assistance is provided by the Ministry of the French Community.

Social Subsidies

Establishments of higher education receive social subsidies. These are paid into a fund which is used, among other things, to provide assistance to pupils in financial difficulty. The subsidy amounts are adapted every year on the basis of the consumer price index (health index). A Fund for the Opening Up of Access to Higher Education exists, the purpose of which is to increase the social subsidies received by each institution per student enrolled, in order to introduce initiatives that will ensure access for disadvantaged students.

Study Grants

All students enrolled as regular students in full-time secondary education can benefit from a study grant under the following conditions:
1) Educational conditions

  • The grant is not awarded if the year is repeated or if the student takes a year at the same or a lower level than one already previously completed. A single dispensation from this is possible, but only during the three years of study towards a bachelor degree.  One exception to this rule is that a candidate who has been regularly enrolled for two or more years in long-type higher education or university education may transfer into short-type higher education.
  • After a first failure, the candidate will regain the right to a grant after a successful year. After two failures, he or she must achieve two consecutive successful years in the same type of studies to regain the right to the grant. After three failures, the grant is permanently lost.

2) Financial conditions
An annual ministerial circular specifies the taxable income amount that may not be exceeded. Other factors taken into account are whether the pupil is boarding or not, whether or not he or she receives family allowance, whether he or she is in the final year, and whether he or she lives more than 20 kilometres from his or her education establishment.

To benefit from these measures, the pupil must be Belgian or a European Union national or a political refugee who has lived in Belgium for at least one year. Those eligible for the grant also include Turkish students and pupils originating from developing nations who, on 1 October, have resided for at least five years in Belgium and have completed at least five years of study there.

Study Loans

The study loan system provides financial support for families with at least three dependent children. Study loans are allocated according to criteria very similar to those for study grants (see above). The amount of the loan varies according to the level of studies, the needs of the borrowers and their ability to repay the loan amount and interest on the basis of 10 six-monthly payments (the study loan is always repayable with interest).

Compulsory Course Materials

Higher education establishments must provide students, with all materials for compulsory courses, in electronic form at least. They must also print out, free of charge, materials for compulsory courses if a grant-holding student so requests.

Other Benefits

These forms of assistance are supplemented with other benefits, such as low-cost meals, discounted public transport season tickets, etc.

Private Education

Subject to compliance with general legislation, the authorities responsible for higher education which is neither organised nor grant-aided by the French Community are free to organise it however they choose.

It will be recalled that grant-aided independent education is not part of private education. It is subject to rules very similar to those relating to grant-aided public education, and is covered by the common description.