Authors: Rajko Golović and Sebastian Berger
The role of higher education towards social, economic and cultural development of our societies is certainly unquestionable from various aspects. In that sense, synergy and mutual dependence of higher education and society & vice-versa is a constant of modern times. However, we must acknowledge that all these aspects very often are highly affected by economic policies and financial matters. The influence of individual socioeconomic conditions and financial pressure on the accessibility of higher education is evident.
In times of limited financial resources, countries are implementing several measures to ensure the financial sustainability of their higher education systems. The most widely represented measure is the implementation of tuition fees, which equal the financial obligation of students to pay for being enrolled in higher education while higher education institutions profit from this additional source of income. In this context it is obvious that tuition fees are a significant financial burden for students, especially bearing in mind the heterogeneous socio-economic background of students. Consequently, this means that tuition fees are highly socially selective and one of the most severe barriers to overcome when accessing and taking part in higher education.