Cost Sharing in Higher Education: The International Experience and Lessons to be Learned


  • Wanna Leka Associate Professor, Institute of Educational Research


Due to improved access to educational opportunities throughout the world, student enrollment has increased to a great extent especially in developing countries. Education at primary, secondary and tertiary levels has its own unique benefits either to the individual or the society. The benefits are usually seen in terms of social rate of return. The benefits that an individual gains from tertiary level education is considered more than that of primary or secondary education. Moreover, the cost per student at tertiary level is more than the primary or secondary level. Governments have become quite sensitive to rising cost of education and budget constraints. In response to this challenge, many countries have introduced cost sharing schemes at different times to recover educational costs incurred at the institutions of higher learning. Cost sharing among different parties - students, parents and government - could be a complex and sensitive issue. The experiences of countries that introduced cost sharing would be beneficial to Ethiopia as it has introduced a cost sharing scheme in 2003/2004. This paper attempts to present the experiences of Asian and African countries that introduced cost sharing at various times.