has launched an interactive online tool which enables users to view and compare comprehensive data on university autonomy in 26 European countries.
On this website ( a wide range of users now have access to detailed information on the current state of university autonomy in Europe. Through interactive visualisations that cover four broad autonomy dimensions and 38 autonomy indicators users are able to study their own higher education system and compare it with others. When clicking on a specific country (flag), they will be presented with an ‘at a glance’ system profile and data on each autonomy indicator for that country. Users can also view autonomy rankings, based on scores that were calculated for each higher education system and autonomy dimension.
The new tool is based on data collected by EUA (from its collective members, the national rectors’ conferences) for its recent Autonomy Scorecard study (November 2011). This study included a series of scorecards, which rate and rank 28 European higher education systems in four dimensions of institutional autonomy: organisational, financial, staffing and academic.
The tool is the final part of the two-year Autonomy Scorecard project, supported by the European Commission’s Lifelong Learning Programme. The project has been carried out in conjunction with EUA’s project partners, which include the German Rectors’ Conference, Universities Denmark, the Conference of Rectors of Academic Schools in Poland and the University of Jyväskylä, Finland. To access the interactive online tool, click here. The project report, University Autonomy in Europe II – The Scorecard, is available in English here and French here.

To be successful in their research and teaching missions, universities need to be able to take their own decisions. The University Autonomy Tool lets you compare university autonomy in 28 higher education systems. It provides detailed information on organisational, financial, staffing and academic autonomy and ranks countries according to the level of autonomy they have in each of these dimensions.
For more detailed information, take a look at the Questions & Answers section below or download the full report: University Autonomy in Europe II. The Scorecard.

4 Dimensions:
Organisational Autonomy - 7 Indicators.
Financial Autonomy -
11 Indicators
Staffing Autonomy -
8 Indicators
Academic Autonomy -
12 Indicators

28 European Countries: Austria, Brandenburg, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Greece, Hesse, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, The Netherlands, North Rhine-Westphalia, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, United Kingdom.

France. 16th in Organisational, 22nd in
Financial, 27th in Staffing, 28th in Academic.
France is situated at the top of the “medium low” group of countries for organisational, financial and staffing autonomy, and in the “low” group for academic autonomy.
Restrictions on organisational autonomy relate to the selection criteria, dismissal and term of office of the executive head. In addition, some external representatives in university boards are appointed by the local authorities. The law also contains some guidelines concerning internal academic structures, though these are not particularly stringent.
Most aspects of financial management are to some extent regulated in the law. The block grant is split into broad categories and universities can only borrow money and sell their buildings with the approval of the ministry. Fee levels are set by an external authority for all student groups. However, universities are free to keep a surplus on their public funding.
Restrictions apply to all aspects of staffing policy. Salary bands are prescribed for academic and administrative staff and dismissals are strictly regulated for nearly all university personnel. The state imposes promotion quotas for public servants.
Academic autonomy is most heavily constrained. France practises a system of free admissions for first-cycle students. For Master’s students, selection criteria may be set by universities. All programmes must be accredited by the national evaluation agency and courses at Bachelor level may only be taught in French, although there are exceptions. French universities are free to design the content of their degree programmes.
The reforms implemented in France since 2007 have increased autonomy, but there is a widely-held view that not enough support has been provided for the development of the new competencies, such as management and leadership skills, needed for their successful implementation.

What need is there for a University Autonomy Tool?
In addition to their traditional teaching and research missions, modern universities are expected to fulfil a number of different societal roles. In order to do this successfully, they need to be able to take decisions on the issues affecting them, such as their management, finances, human resources and academic profile. The University Autonomy Tool gives you a detailed picture of the state of autonomy in 26 European countries. It enables the benchmarking of national policies, raises awareness among universities and provides researchers with a comprehensive set of data for further studies.
What does the tool tell me?

The Autonomy Tool concerns the relationship between universities and the state. It measures how flexibly universities can take decisions in the context of the rules and regulations that shape their higher education system. A high score on an indicator or autonomy dimension indicates that the relevant regulations provide a legal framework without restricting universities in their freedom of action. Although there are links between autonomy, performance and quality, the results of the Autonomy Index do not indicate whether a higher education system is “good” or “bad”.
How can I use the Autonomy Tool?

There are two main ways to approach the data. On the map at the top of the Home page or in the Countries tab in the top menu, click on a country flag or name for detailed information on all autonomy indicators for that country.
The Dimensions pages give you an overview of the complete country data for each of the four autonomy dimensions. On the left you will also see rankings of all higher education systems, which are based on the results of each country for each autonomy dimension.
Which countries are covered by the tool?

The tool covers 26 European countries: Austria, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey and the United Kingdom.
Due to the federal structure of the German higher education system, three federal states are included: Brandenburg, Hesse and North Rhine-Westphalia. So the tool includes data on 28 higher education systems.
What indicators are used to measure university autonomy?

The University Autonomy Tool uses 38 indicators, which are categorised into four autonomy dimensions. For more detailed information on the indicators used, please visit the Dimensions pages.
Which country is number 1?

No one country is the number 1 on university autonomy. University autonomy is a complex concept that consists of many different, but interconnected elements. For example, a high level of staffing autonomy is of little use if a university has no authority over its internal financial affairs. This is why the tool focuses on four central autonomy dimensions. It does not present an overall autonomy score.
Where does the data come from?

The data presented on this website was provided by the national rectors’ conferences, the representative organisations of universities, in the 26 European countries covered by the University Autonomy Tool.
What do the scores mean?

The scoring system used by the tool is based on deductions. Each restriction on university autonomy was assigned a deduction value based on how restrictive a particular rule or regulation was seen to be. A score of 100% indicates full institutional autonomy; a score of 0% means that an issue is entirely regulated by an external authority or legally prescribed. The law often grants universities a limited amount of autonomy or prescribes negotiations between universities and the government. A higher education system in which this is the case receives a score between 0% and 100%, depending on how restrictive its particular situation is perceived to be.
For a detailed description of the scoring methodology, please download the full report: University Autonomy in Europe II. The Scorecard (pages 14-15).
How have the results been weighted?

The University Autonomy Tool uses unweighted and weighted scores. All results at indicator-level are unweighted. Weighted scores are only used at the level of the autonomy dimensions. The rankings presented on the Dimensions pages are based on weighted scores.
The weighting factors are based on a survey conducted among the national rectors’ conferences in October 2010 and thus reflect the views of the university sector in Europe. The results of the survey were translated into a numerical system, which evaluates the relative importance of the indicators within each of the autonomy dimensions. Since the Autonomy Tool does not present aggregate scores, the four autonomy dimensions have not been weighted against each other.
Click here for a breakdown of the weighting factors. For further information on the development of the weighting system, please refer to the report: University Autonomy in Europe II. The Scorecard (pages 16-17).
Does the Autonomy Tool allow for comparisons over time?

The data presented on this site mostly refers to the state of university autonomy in 2010, although more recent developments are often mentioned. EUA plans to update the tool in the future, providing a possibility to track the medium- and long-term development of university autonomy in Europe. This is particularly useful at a time when higher education systems are facing complex challenges and undergoing far-reaching reforms.