Who Pays What for Public & Private University Education in the Arab Region Compared with the Rest of the World: Context of Jordan

  • Serene BadranEmail author
  • Adnan BadranEmail author


Financing higher education in the Arab Region can be divided into four categories:

The First category is free public higher education in the oil-rich Arab countries, particularly the Gulf states who are providing free education to its citizens supplemented with a high subsidy of monthly allowances to pay for living costs while students are pursuing their higher education.

The Second category is state-supported free higher education in countries such as Egypt, Syria, Iraq, Algeria, and Yemen that embraced socialist doctrine. Public universities in this category have suffered greatly under this regime by reducing government subsidies below the real cost of tuition. Governments did not give priority to education over other expenditures such as defense and social subsidies.

The Third category comprises those Arab countries with poor natural resources including Lebanon, Jordan and the Palestinian territory. These countries lack financial resources to support public higher education, although they provide free general education. Students in public higher-education institutions pay tuition fees, but these fees do not match rising administrative and tuition costs. Governments usually subsidize these student fees.

The Fourth category comprises private universities, where governments through ministries of higher education, license private higher institutions with continuous checks and quality assessments controlled by accreditation boards. Private higher education has expanded in Arab countries thereby reducing the financial burden of public universities. Some were established as non-profit organizations where financial gains were recycled to improve infrastructure and invest more in the quality of education and research, while others were established as profit- generating entities generating income for the owners and shareholders.

Here, the author takes Jordan as a case study to elaborate on who pays what to cover the cost of students enrolled at public and private universities compared with other world scenarios.

No matter what scenario is developed to finance higher education in the Arab Region, the cost of higher education should be covered for the educational institution, whether from the student’s tuition fees, alumni associations, endowment investments, contributions and donations, or government subsidies to maintain a sustainable university financial system. Sustainable budgets have to cover operating expenditure, infrastructure, laboratory equipment, teaching facilities, and reasonable salaries that are essential to maintain quality and relevance of higher education. University finance must be adequate and competitive with standard international higher learning.


Higher education in Jordan Financing education in Arab countries Financing higher education worldwide Cost of university students Reforms of higher education Tuition fees in China 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Faculty of Dentistry, University of JordanAmmanJordan
  2. 2.Department of Nutrition, University of PetraAmmanJordan

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