01 Nov 2017 - 31 Oct 2019

SHIFT - Strengthen Higher Education through Innovative financial Tools

Project description:

Strengthen higher education through Innovative Financial Tools (SHIFT) recognizes the need for more intelligent spending of HE funds, and seeks to develop new mechanisms to empower students to afford HE. The project will develop and validate (via financial stress testing) an innovative funding model based on the concept of an endowment fund that pools private and public money. Taking into consideration the diversity of the HE system across Europe, SHIFT aims to ultimately develop a mechanism that will combine the private sector management of the funds to generate profit with the public sector mission to ensure proper allocation of the proceeds for public policy objectives while flexibly adapting to the various EU HE environments. To this end, SHIFT will extrapolate the virtuous elements of successful national student financing models (such as the UK’s) and embed them to the developed mechanism.

Objectives of the project:

SHIFT has the objective of alleviating the financial burden of access to and participation in HE of students while increasing the efficiency of public spending in HE by developing an innovative model of virtuous Public Private Partnership based on a financial instrument and model (mix of endowment fund and investment fund) that will generate increased financial resources to be distributed as grants, matching grants and soft loans for HE students. SHIFT is a new funding model that pools financial resources from both the public and private sectors, serving the dual purpose of

  1. increasing efficiency of public expenditure: SHIFT enhances sustainability of public resources by generating additional funding opportunities for scholarships of university students. The public funds allocated into the SHIFT model (the endowment fund) will be invested (through the investment fund) and only the profits generated will be disbursed (through grants and soft loans) to students, hence keeping intact the capital (here the sustainability of the public funds)
  2. mobilising private resources: SHIFT establishes a virtuous mechanism of public and private partnership. Not only SHIFT pools funds from public and private sectors, but also will consolidate public and private attitudes towards facilitating access to finance for HE students.

Project funding: Erasmus +

Consortium leader and Project leader: Aston University

Project partners: Aston Uniervisity (United Kingdom), Swansea University (United Kingdom), University Of Durham (United Kingdom), Ente per il Diritto allo Studio Universitario dell'Università Cattolica – EDUCatt (Italy), CASE-Centrum Analiz Spoleczno – Ekonomicznych (Poland), Institut de haute formation aux Politiques Communautaires (France), IDP Sas di Giancarlo Costantino (Italian development partners), (Italy)