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Education Indicators in Focus

Education Indicators in Focus is a recurring series of briefs that highlight specific indicators in OECD’s Education at a Glance that are of particular interest to policy makers and practitioners. They provide a detailed look into current issues in pre-primary, primary and secondary education, higher education, and adult outcomes from a global perspective, and contain an engaging mix of text, tables and charts that describe the international context of the most pressing questions in education policy and practice.

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How has private expenditure on tertiary education evolved over time and how does it affect participation in education?

On average in OECD countries, private sources account for a significant share of investment in tertiary educational institutions. Private expenditure on tertiary educational institutions increased faster than public expenditure between 2010 and 2016 on average across OECD countries, although this varies from country to country. Participation in tertiary education is not correlated to the funding model in tertiary institutions and high levels of private expenditure at tertiary education are not necessarily associated with lower enrolment. Financial support mechanisms in the form of grants or loans help alleviate the financial burden to households, particularly in countries where private spending on tertiary education is high.

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