Compared with their US equivalents, Europe’s places of higher education are truly the poor relations. The European Union spends 1.3 per cent of its gross domestic product on higher education, against 3.3 per cent of GDP in the US. That translates into an average €8,700 per student in the EU (minus Bulgaria and Romania), versus €36,500 in the US. It also explains why so few European universities match their US peers in terms of high-quality research output.
These and many other sobering details are contained in a new report, “Higher aspirations: An agenda for reforming European universities”, published this month by Bruegel, a Brussels-based think-tank. As the report says: “European growth has been disappointing for the past 30 years, remaining persistently lower than in the United States. There is now much evidence that this situation is closely linked to the state of innovation and higher education in Europe.” Read more