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Ministry: You get DKK 5.4m in extra grants – UCPH: No we don’t

Economics — The University of Copenhagen is to get more funding through a change of the so-called taximeter system, according to the Danish government. But the university does not understand the underlying calculations.

Will the Danish government’s grant reform cost the University of Copenhagen (UCPH) money or not? This remains uncertain.

The Ministry for Higher Education and Research has just done an impact calculation in connection with ongoing negotiations over the reform in parliament.

The conclusion is that only a small amount of money will be transferred between universities. The University of Copenhagen will receive DKK 5.4 million extra from its DKK 1,947.7m in 2016 so it gets DKK 1,953.1m, if and when the reform is adopted.

We would like to see some numbers we can recognize, and be allowed to see the assumptions

Anni Søborg, Deputy Director for Education at the University of Copenhagen.

Aalborg University stands to lose DKK 24.1m, while Aarhus University stands to get DKK 29m extra.

UCPH wants to see the assumptions

This does not reassure University of Copenhagen management, which has long been concerned about the reform’s consequences.

“We would like to see some numbers we can recognize, and be allowed to see the assumptions,” says Anni Søborg, Deputy Director for Education at the University of Copenhagen.

She points out that the Ministry writes that UCPH received DKK 1.947bn in subsidies for education in 2016. However, according to the UCPH annual accounts, the correct figure is at least DKK 2.012bn, a number that is DKK 65m higher than the Ministry’s.

“We would like an explanation for this. And we hope, of course, that it’s a mistake. Because if DKK 65m are made to disappear first, then it is hard to be happy about the DKK 5.4m. We really want to see the asssumptions, so we can figure out what the new grant system will mean for the University of Copenhagen,” says Anni Søborg.

New graduates need to be in jobs fast

According to the bill by Søren Pind, ten percent of funding for universities will depend on students completing their studies on time, and on them finding work quickly. The government calls this a quality and results subsidy.

The rest of the money is to be allocated as 20 per cent basic funding, 70 per cent still allocated according to the number of students that graduate from the institution – an activity subsidy.

The new funding system will come into force from 2019, but the government will allocate additional funds to compensate institutions in a transition phase if their total government funding falls by more than 1 percent in the transition year.


Many unknowns

Ministry officials have stated a number of reservations regarding the calculations of the reform’s consequences.

They state that “the calculations of the financial consequences must necessarily be made on a technical basis, and the effects can therefore only be used as an indication of the financial effects on later years. The institutions have, for good reason, had no opportunity to adapt to the incentives of the new funding system in the calculations.”

According to Mr. Pind’s proposal, “the criteria for the basic funding should also be re-established after four years on the basis of an overall quality assessment, forward-looking priorities and a follow-up on strategic framework contracts.”

The news site Forskerforum writes that the upcoming quality and results subsidy of 10 per cent of total funding – corresponding to DKK 140m – is not assessed in the ministry’s calculus on the basis of the student’s present completion times and how quickly they get jobs in the future.

They are distributed on the basis of how many students passed their exams at the different universities so the calculations can change, and the pluses and minuses for individual universities may differ when the reform is introduced.

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