This paper presents an exploratory analysis of the funding mechanisms for higher education across sixteen countries which builds upon existing work on educational institutions, educational outcomes, and welfare regimes. We focus upon the current financing dilemma within the Irish higher education system, seeking potential solutions within an international comparison. Our quantitative analysis identifies four clusters of countries: the Nordic, Continental-Europe, Mediterranean and English-Speaking; all of which are strongly correlated to economic and structural characteristics based on welfare state literature. Each education regime is associated with institutional, economic, and political factors. Our analysis presents evidence that Ireland does not possess the characteristics of a country that could benefit from an income-contingent lending structure to fund university education due to inherent sovereign characteristics. Further, Ireland could be better served through the introduction of free fee structures such as that found in Norway and Scotland or through the generation of state-sponsored lending facilities through private institutions like those already in place in Finland, Germany, and Sweden.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Public Administration