Sustaining Student Enrolment: Impact of Demand Trends for Higher Education in Russia
Issues of better access to higher education in various countries increasingly fit specific consistent patterns as desired results are achieved: from positive effects in the initial stages to problems that prevent growth in the number of students in the state-subsidized segment at subsequent stages, including the rigid regulation by the state. To confirm similar processes against the background of the demographic problems in Russia affecting the number of students, an empirical analysis was performed to reveal the factors influencing a surge in demand on the basis of an assessment of the correlation of a higher education resource base, production, and the industrial capacity of a region’s development. This study shows successive stages of change in the public demand for higher education and confirms the justified consequences of the transition to decisive actions pertaining to the optimization of educational, material, technical, financial, and intellectual resources.
Objective: to identify the causes and consequences of the increasing stratification of higher educational institutions by the volumes and sources of financing, as well as by the areas of training. Methods: during the research we used methods of statistical and economic analysis of the results of the universities’ activities. Using econometric models, the relationships were estimated of the resource base of higher education, industrial and economic potential of Russian regions; an empirical analysis of factors influencing the increasing public demand for higher education was conducted. Results: the trends of structural changes in the demand for higher education in Russia during the period from 2001 to 2014 were described, the regional differentiation of financial provision of higher educational institutions in the transition to effective contract work was evaluated. The major risks were identified, associated with: the structural mismatch of the demand for higher education from families and the offer of admission quotas for the budget-funded education; with increasing regional differentiation, which provokes the separation of the Russian universities by the volumes and sources of financial provision; with high commitments to increase the salaries of the teaching staff leading to a shortage of funds for maintenance of the property complex and ensuring of the educational process, which jeopardizes the quality of educational programs’ implementation. Scientific novelty: basing on the empirical analysis using econometric models, the tendencies are identified of structural changes in the demand for higher education in the Russian regions; the impact is assessed of the economic crisis and the payable demand of families on the financial provision of universities; risks are identified and justified in the differentiation of Russian universities’ financing. Practical significance: the main provisions and conclusions of the article can be used by experts in the field of Economics and Management in designing financial provision and development strategies of higher educational organizations.
The consequences of demographic revolutions influence the number of potential university applicants and higher education accessibility in Russia. An analysis of current demographic trends, at a time when the number of universities is shrinking, shows a threat of decreasing access to higher education, coupled with high regional differentiation in the availability of education, likely to worsen as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and current economic crisis.
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