SHIFT brings together 7 partners from 5 countries representing HE system, students association and NGOs, private sector. Such diversity adds value to the partnership that has the complementary skills, experience and expertise to carry out the following activities:

  1. Map Financing Dynamics of HE
  2. Develop the SHIFT Innovative Financial Model
  3. Test and Validate through Stress Testing the innovative financial model
  4. Develop the SHIFT Implementation Package for its adoption in HEIs

The methodology is technical (i.e. financial engineering) and operational (i.e. governance structure) and is based on the sequenced approach of

Mapping -->Development --> Validation/Stress Testing --> Implementation

SHIFT expected results are:

  1. innovative financial model, developed, tested and validated through financial stress testing: partners will develop and validate the model and will outline the structure of the financial instrument (size; investment horizon; asset class; risk profile; etc) and the governance mechanism (composition of the governance structure; representation of public, private and social sectors; division of responsibilities between financial management and operations; etc)
  2. the implementation package to apply and deploy the innovative model: SHIFT will produce an implementation package detailing the technical, operational and administrative aspects of how to implement the SHIFT model and formalize the involvement of public and private participants (i.e. Memorandum of Understanding, Terms of Reference for fund managers, etc)

SHIFT will produce tangible impact at the systemic level for the HE system across EU: the innovative financial model will bring about threefold impact:

  1. increased financial resources to enhance HE access and participation
  2. improved sustainability of public resources for HE
  3. innovative PPP mechanism

In the long-term, SHIFT “support HEIs to implement necessary reforms in line with the 2011 EU Modernisation Agenda and its priority areas”. The whole EU Modernization Agenda pivots around the 2 crucial aspects of governance and funding of HE: SHIFT tackles both governance (it introduces an innovative mechanism for the management and governance of HEIs) and funding (it established an innovative model for financial measures in favor of HE students).

The project status


Mapping Financing Dynamics
of HE Students


Develop the SHIFT
Innovative Financial Model


Test and Validate
through Stress Testing
the innovative financial model


Develop the SHIFT Implementation Package
for its adoption in HEIs

Intellectual Output 1

Mapping Financing Dynamics of HE Students

O1 is the analysis of HE funding models and options for students to finance their education and pay tuition fees currently in place in the EU and selected Member States, specifically Member States represented by the partnership (Italy, Poland and UK) and other countries representative of meaningful case studies (i.e. Germany, France, the Netherland: the specific number and type of countries will be finalised in the preparation phase of the SHIFT project). O1 will identify specific drivers and inhibitors of current funding models for HE students to provide elements for the design of the innovative model (O2). The approach is both quantitative and qualitative, as partners will analyse:

  • Common patterns of use of public funds for HE students;
  • Student loans and other financial products (cash advances, scholarships) available to students, and their characteristics (i.e. merit based, income based, and so on);
  • Ratios of public and private funds mobilised to fund HE students: the financial products identified above are funded by public or private sources
  • Shortcomings, drivers and inhibitors of the funding models currently in use;
  • Rigidities in the access to finance for HE students
  • Dynamics, potential mismatch and inefficiencies of the funding of HE students, from both supply and demand sides
  • Issues pertaining to HE students’ financial literacy and capacity to discern financing options for their studies

The partners will take stock of the various funding models for HE, compare the pros and cons and extrapolate positive elements to be considered for the development of the model in IO2.

Elements of innovation: IO1 is innovative as it identifies dynamics of HE students’ access to inance and financial literacy. At present, there is no taxonomy nor coherent definitions (at the EU level, and in many cases within Member States) concerning HE Students Financing policy measures, products and initiatives. The key element of innovation of IO1 is the definition of a methodology to classify (and hence identify) such policy tools and measures across different settings, countries and HE dimensions.

Expected impact: IO1 is instrumental to the development of IO2. Besides this “internal” impact for the SHIFT Project, IO1 is also expected to produce impact for the community of practice of student loans and financial literacy as it allows to carry out a comparative analysis of practices, methods and programmes pertaining to HE students’ finance across EU. Hence, the impact is not only on participating organisations but also – and most importantly – for the stakeholders (i.e. governmental agencies, HEIs, financial intermediaries and HE students) who will be able to know about other countries’ experiences and models.

Transferability potential: the Common Methodology is poised to be immediately used in other contexts outside of the SHIFT Project and potentially in other fields of education (especially VET). The methodology itself will also be embedded in the IO4 Implementation Package and made available without restrictions through the OER Platform.