Productivity of the Valencian Public University System, 11% higher than the Spanish average
The productivity of the Valencian Public University System stands 11% above the Spanish average according to the third edition of the report entitled The Socioeconomic Contribution from Valencian Public Universities, which was presented on Wednesday, January 27 by their five rectors, the President of the Generalitat Valenciana, Ximo Puig, and the Conseller of Education, Vicent Marzà. According to this document, the tax benefit for the public sector by investing in the education of a college graduate exceeds 10% per year.
The severe economic problems of recent years reduced income for Valencian public universities between 2010 and 2014 by 18.9%, above all that destined for financing research (-42.4%) and technological transfer (-24.2%), but they have not prevented the universities from addressing important changes in the fields of teaching and research, and these fields provide a high tax return on public investment in the institutions.
The productivity of the Valencian Public University System (SUPV) stands 11% above the average of Spanish universities. However, the economic crisis has seriously compromised the capabilities of universities to attain more and better results in relevant areas due to disrupting ongoing lines of research, reducing and impeding the rejuvenation of their personnel, stopping professional development of their faculty and the incorporation of human capital into businesses, as well as further weakening the already scarce collaboration between universities and businesses in transfer activities.
These are some of the conclusions from the third report by the SUPV, The Socioeconomic Contribution from Valencian Public Universities (2015), produced by the Valencian Institute of Economic Research (IVIE) about the activity and the results from the five universities comprising the Valencian Public University System: the University of Valencia, Universitat Politècnica de València, University of Alicante, Universitat Jaume I, and Miguel Hernández University of Elche (UMH).
The report was written by the Director of Research at the IVIE and Professor of the University of Valencia, Francisco Pérez; IVIE researcher, Associate Professor of the University of Valencia and Dean of the Faculty of Economics at that university, José Manuel Pastor; and by Associate Professor of the University of Valencia, Carlos Peraita. Also participating in its preparation were IVIE research technicians Eva Benages and Ángel Soler.
The report’s public presentation took place in Valencia during a ceremony attended by the President of the Generalitat Valenciana, Ximo Puig, and the five rectors of the Conference of Valencian Public University Rectors (CRUPV): Esteban Morcillo, from the University of Valencia; Francisco Mora, from the Universitat Politècnica de València; Vicent Climent, from the Universitat Jaume I; Manuel Palomar, from the University of Alicante; and Jesús Pastor, from the UMH.
This third report on the socioeconomic contribution from Valencian public universities expands the analysis and updates the results from its previous editions (2009 and 2013). In this third edition, the focus was placed especially on analyzing the role of the universities in relation to employment opportunities of their graduates, ending the economic crisis, and the contribution from university students and universities in changing the productive model that the Valencian Community needs. In this sense, the report highlights the importance of reinforcing synergies between the universities and their social and economic surroundings in order to foster development of knowledge-based activities within the Valencian Community, and to recover ground lost by the Valencian economy in matters of competitiveness.
This report presents an overview of the SUPV’s situation and results, highlighting its complexity as well as its strengths and weaknesses. On the one hand, it values the importance of the contributions from the SUPV toward income, employment, human capital, and growth in the Valencian Community. On the other, it highlights the transformations in recent years of the educational offer in response to training demands, the efforts by the universities to adapt to the European Higher Education Area, and the important advances in production, quality, and internationalization of research. Alongside these developments, more troublesome questions related to the recent evolution of universities arise, such as the tensions felt by the SUPV as a consequence of the financial and staffing adjustments deriving from the crisis of public financing and the setbacks in research projects or transfer activities. Moreover, the report warns about the importance of recognizing the diversity of the universities and their different units in specialization, internationalization, and teaching and research results, stressing the need to disseminate best practices to improve the average productivity.
Some of the report’s most outstanding results include:
The SUPV’s resources, both public and private, have been significantly reduced during the economic crisis. Nonetheless, their productivity levels in teaching, research, and transfer are higher than those of the Spanish public university system.
In recent years, the SUPV has undergone an important transformation in its academic offering, which at present includes 187 undergraduate programs and 307 different master’s programs.
Valencian public universities increased their scientific production by some 160% between 2000 and 2013, and they significantly internationalized. However, transfer activity levels are modest, and have even been reduced during these years due to lack of resources.
The decrease in resources for research by 42.6% is more relevant within the Valencian Community because a greater proportion of R&D spending is dependent upon public universities (47%), a figure that is far higher than what occurs in the rest of Spain (28%), a result of weak spending by businesses and institutions.
The effects of spending by the SUPV on activity and employment are very important: within the Valencia Community, the number of active persons increased by 50,555, while the number of those working did so by 67,000.
The SUPV generates very significant volumes of human and technological capital for the offer of productive resources: during the 2000-2013 period, these two assets accounted for 19.9% of the contributions from productive factors to Valencian growth.
The tax benefits the public sector receives by financing Valencian public university education is clearly positive as a consequence of the higher taxes university graduates pay throughout their working lives. In the case of a graduado, this annual return is 12.9%; for a licenciado, it is 11.6%; and for a diplomado, the figure is 9.9%.
The Valencian society receives 2.6 euros (through taxes collected by the public sector that are paid by university graduates throughout their working lives) for each euro spent by government to finance universities for educating their students.