There have been numerous discussions and assumptions swirling around regarding the privatization of Corvinus University. The topic has reached every Hungarian in one way or another to some extent. Undoubtedly, both current and prospective students are most affected by the uncertain and ambiguous nature of the University’s future.
We have grouped all the pros and cons of the privatization process of one of Hungary’s best universities in hopes that it will better clarify things for those of you affected.
Let’s begin with some well-known facts:
- Starting from 2020, Corvinus University will no longer offer fully-funded government scholarships. According to the plan, the percentage of self-supported students will increase to 60%. The University won’t be financially controlled by the government and will establish its own foundation instead, eventually leading to the creation of its own scholarships.
From now on, when submitting your application to felvi.hu, there will only be a self-funded option available. However, applicants could potentially receive a scholarship from the Foundation.
- Those who began their studies in 2019 will still receive financial support from the government based on the old, well-known contractual system. Students already studying at Corvinus will continue their academic career under the same conditions.
- Additional focus will be on Master and Ph.D. programs, foreign students and professors from abroad in order to bring the university to world level.
Based on the numbers displayed during the forum:
MA vs. BA
2018: Bachelor’s: 60.4%, Master’s: 23.7%
2030 plan: Bachelor’s: 50.5%, Master’s: 33.2%
Meanwhile, the percentage of foreign students will rise from 15 to 45%. Due to this, the majority of the University’s courses will be held in English. It’s safe to assume that the school’s number of foreign professors will grow simultaneously.
Our analysis is based on the promises and plans made available to the public.* Therefore, the majority of the points listed below concentrate primarily on the university’s impending improvements.
photo by Polina Avramenko
– By 2030, Corvinus University is expected to be listed among Europe’s best universities, effectively strengthening its international reputation.
– The establishment of the Foundation within Corvinus University—which will be responsible for its financials—is expected to lead to great developments. The University’s administration will manage the funds, making it a “private university.” This will allow students to apply for increased financial aid and will force the University to distribute its money in a more efficient way. It will also satisfy the University’s Business partners, who, according to the speeches given at the forum, are “dissatisfied with the teaching methodology of the university.” Corvinus will also have the opportunity to enter into various projects of its choosing without getting bogged down by the government’s tedious approval process.
Corvinus University, BlackRock form partnership
Corvinus University signed a cooperation agreement with US-based fund manager BlackRock’s Budapest innovation and technology centre.
BlackRock Hungary managing director Melanie Seymour and Corvinus University rector András Lánczi signed the agreement. Innovation and Technology Ministry state secretary László György said the agreement is the symbol of the ‘change of system’ at Hungarian institutions of higher education. The government is setting up an asset management foundation to fund Corvinus University, and the state will contribute 10 percent of its stakes in oil and gas company MOL and pharmaceuticals company Richter to the foundation. Corvinus and BlackRock will cooperate primarily in education and research, Lánczi said. The aim is to ensure premium education, György said, ‘on par with ‘sanctuaries of education’ in the US, the UK, Singapore and Japan’.
At the student forum held in November 2018, Chancellor Lívia Pavlik stated: “There is a fight! The University has to comply with a competitive market. It has to fight for the best students, professors and business relationships! By the law, the University gets its form and receives its budget, so it will continue its activities while following the directions drawn up by the parliament. This is a legal rule, but it doesn’t suit the University. It is a call for change!”
– The innovations are expected to play a significant role in student organizations and the Colleges of advanced studies (such as Szakkollégium) functioning within Corvinus.
– The chancellor also states that “the Corvinus Institute of Advanced Studies will become a new pillar of the university in the research field.”
– New dormitories will be constructed. Aside from the Tarkarét dormitory, another is planned to be built on Czuczor Street. Forum attendees got to take a first look at photos depicting the planned outcome of the building. There will be a so-called ‘sibling’ to building C as well. Foreign students will also have access to dormitories.
– Uncertainty and ambiguity about Corvinus’ scholarship distribution. Who decides who’s eligible to receive a scholarship? How does one apply? What will the competition look like?
– While the plan is to attract more foreign students, nothing is known about which nationalities and minorities will be considered. Currently, Corvinus’ website can only be translated into English and Chinese, making it likely that Chinese students will be highly sought after and accepted.
– Students weren’t given the opportunity to ask questions or express their opinions about the transition. During the “Corvinus renewal, Corvinus of 2030” forum held in November 2018, the public was only allocated time to ask around three questions.
– At the forum, it was claimed that “the changes aren’t about the current students or the 70-year-old university, but about the possibility of providing the growing generations of Hungary with a world-class education!” The University rector stated that “with the current conditions, the university is unable to move forward. But, with the upcoming innovations, we will be able to keep the students at home.” They also plan to increase the number of foreign students from 15 to 45% (which is almost half of the University’s capacity). Therefore, it’s doubtful that the changes will serve the interests of young Hungarians due to limited access caused by high tuition fees and international competition.
after taking a look at the pros and cons, I would like to add that changes have a right to be made. Perhaps the “Corvinus model” will be a success and spread across the country – or end up in a failure. Perhaps we should just hang in there and let the chips fall where they may.
*Parts of this article contain citations from speeches given at the student forum held on the 15th of November 2018 at Corvinus University. We would like to give special thanks to the student press medium Corvinus insight for providing additional information.
Photos by Polina Avramenko
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