University of Tartu seeking additional funding for colleges

University of Tartu Narva College is located next to Narva Town Hall. June 8, 2018.
University of Tartu Narva College is located next to Narva Town Hall. June 8, 2018. Source: Aili Vahtla/ERR

The University of Tartu has submitted a proposal to the Ministry of Finance according to which Narva College would receive an additional €500,000 and Pärnu College and Viljandi Culture Academy would receive an additional €200,000 in funding in the 2020 state budget.

Kalle Hein, head of finance at the University of Tartu (TÜ), noted that regional colleges are not simply institutions of higher education; rather, a feature of their activity is their close ties to the promotion of local life, and colleges fulfill a function in supporting regional development in general.

"Which is why universities are facing multiple pressures in maintaining their colleges: providing instruction is more expensive, as it takes place at lower capacities than at their parent universities; it is significantly more difficult than in Tallinn or Tartu to find or bring in highly qualified teaching staff (with doctoral degrees); the proportion of research at colleges is lower, and as a result, opportunities for securing research funding and supporting research-based higher education in turn are more limited," Hein explained. "In addition, several activities are organized at colleges that are aimed directly at the local community."

In summary, according to the finance chief, the operation of colleges located outside of Tallinn and Tartu is more expensive, as they are operating away from their parent university and respective resources, including infrastructure, support services and colleagues from other majors, and are additionally responsible for offering location-based services in their respective regions.

"We also did the math this spring and found that as a result of our colleges' special nature and additional societal roles, additional funding is needed in the amount of €500,000 per year for Narva College and approximately €200,000 per year for Pärnu College and Viljandi Culture Academy," he said.

TÜ's finance chief reiterated an explanation already cited in previous appeals which notes that as the majority of cited expenses aren't directly connected to the typical provision of instruction, sources of funding from outside higher education operational support must be found to cover these additional needs.

Other universities have likewise sought additional funding for their regional colleges.


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Editor: Aili Vahtla

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