Financing Students’ Future (FinST) is a comprehensive research exercise on the landscape of funding systems for higher education in Europe and how they fit their purpose. It also explores how students and students' unions can affect these funding policies.

The project aims at researching the impact of various funding mechanisms within the European Higher Education Area on students, access, participation and completion of Higher Education. The project also aims at empowering student representatives for the debates about national funding reforms in higher education.

The FinSt research was launched in 2010 and was brought to an end in 2013. A number of events were organised as part of the project, including consultation seminars and training sessions. Two major publications and several policy papers and recommendations were released at the final conference for FinSt in January 2013 of which you can find in the Toolbox section of this website.

These are the project's objectives as agreed upon at the start of the work:
  • To increase the knowledge of the effects of financing systems in Europe over students by: providing five Lobby Sheets in connection with the five identified main aspects of Higher Education funding as a concrete lobby and advocacy tool for student representation at all levels; organising a European training on Higher Education financing (April 2012) to give in-depth information sessions combined with hands-on workshops to 100 student representatives; publishing a Financing Toolkit(external link) for supporting national unions of students to encompass good practice examples as well as sections on successful lobbying for inclusion on the financing debates to reach at least 1000 student representatives in both printed and on-line format; setting-up of a wiki-style website, in connection to the official www.esu-online.org(external link) website.
  • To enhance the capacity for 45 ESU members, national unions of students (NUSes), with regard to active involvement in Higher Education funding reforms. ESU’s members will be provided with tools and means to exchange knowledge and information about their work on financing and developments on the national level through the European training, the wiki-style website and the Compendium on Financing of Higher Education(external link). Moreover, 18 students’ representatives will have the opportunity to share their experience and knowledge during the 2 week-students’ exchange activities hosted by the national student organisations from Austria, Estonia and United Kingdom, partners in the project. During these exchanges, they will experience a different student participation environment, with diverse funding characteristics, and they will have the chance to improve their intercultural skills as well as to foster the mutual learning on the topic of Higher Education. This activity will also help participants in exchanging good practices and enhancing the networking of student organizations in Europe.
  • To use the creative potential of the national students unions representatives, which together with the Research Team and the Advisory Board members will brainstorm on possible scenarios of developing funding mechanisms at the national level, during the Consultation seminar (October 2011). The scenarios will be compiled in the final section of the Compendium on the Financing of Higher Education(external link), which will reach at least 1000 students’ representatives across Europe, offering them a sound base for their future representation work.
  • Raising awareness of stakeholders in Higher Education area and trying to influence the decision-makers through the events organised on the project, mainly the Consultation seminar and the Final Conference (January 2013), the publication of the Compendium on Financing of Higher Education(external link) and the policy recommendations, which will provide an evidence based policy input from the side of the student organizations to the Bucharest Bologna Ministerial Conference (April 2012) and the future consultations on the EU “Strategic framework for European cooperation in education and training” (ET 2020).