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Regular version of the site

Article

Polarization of universities in the Central Federal District of Russia under reform

Journal of Applied Research in Higher Education. 2018. Vol. 10. No. 4. P. 410-429.

Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to analyze the changes in higher education under the new configuration of resources based on the income structure of universities located in the Central Federal District (CFD). Particular focus is given to the changes in the structure of public financing of higher education, considering the explicit priorities of increasing teaching staff salaries and promoting research. The study also assesses regional differentiation in financial resources for the maintenance of university property and the accumulation of funds from extra-budgetary sources.

Design/methodology/approach – Using statistical and economic analysis methods, the research reveals the main trends of structural changes in public funding of higher education in Russia as a whole, and the regional peculiarities of financial support in the universities of the CFD.

Findings – The results of this investigation of universities in the CFD point to inertia in the development of universities in the regions, and problems transitioning to new business models. Groups of universities in the region often lobby for the “previous rules of the game.” The results evidence a change in financial support from different income sources and in cost structures at the university level. These are the result of higher education reform and university support programs aimed at enhancing the academic and research capacity of the leading Russian universities and developing a competitive national education system.

Originality/value – A costs optimization policy has led to polarization of universities and reduced development opportunities for a significant proportion of regional universities. In order to maintain their properties in good condition, they have to make active efforts to seek non-budgetary funding sources against a fall in effective demand from the population.