The number of students admitted to higher education institutions has fallen by over twenty per cent, according to a report issued by the Centre for International Higher Education Studies. This makes Hungary one of the few OECD member states in which the number of higher education students has declined over the past four years.
Although figures are still unavailable for the year 2015, expects do not expect a large increase in the number of applicants and claim that rapid changes in rules applying to university and college admissions have a negative effect on students’ willingness to study in higher education.
The number of students admitted had stabilised by 2014 following a dramatic fall in 2012 and 2013, after Prime Minister Viktor Orbán announced his concept of “self-sustaining higher education”. This envisaged dramatic cuts in the number of state-financed places and tuition fees to be financed from preferential student loans. The government backtracked from the original proposal following student demonstrations.
The decrease is despite the government’s claims that cutting the number of higher education graduates is no objective, citing the higher education strategy which puts their share in the population at 31.9 per cent among 30-34-year-olds, a level the cabinet undertook to raise to 34 per cent to comply with EU standards.
photo: MTI/János Marjai