The great unknown

In Romania, there are 56 state universities, 28 accredited private institutions of higher learning, 21 universities with temporary accreditation and 5 institutions pending for accreditation.

No institution of higher learning has published the financial statement on the website of the Ministry of Finance, while 7 out of 28 accredited universities/private institutions have omitted to do so.

From this perspective, universities, whether subsidized by the government or not, are still within the legal limits, as the law doesn’t require them to make public their financial statements on the website of the Ministry of Finance.

“Private or state-subsidized universities are exempt from financial reporting rules by the fiscal regulation in force, since these institution don’t have the statute of commercial companies”, said Daniel Tomoni, head of customer service at the Ministry of Education.

However, universities still have to make public their financial activities on their own website.

“As far as I know, what we need to do is submit our annual report to the Ministry of Education as well as post it on our website”, said Gheorghe Rosca (photo) provost of the Bucharest Academy of Economic Studies (ASE).

The Bucharest Academy of Economic Studies (also known by its acronym ASE) is one of the most prestigious institutions of higher learning in Romania. It recorded revenues of €69.5 million and expenses of €68.5 million last year, according to financial data posted on its own website.

Also, under the provisions of Law No. 544/2001 regarding the free access to public-interest information, universities must provide this kind of information, and data on state-subsidized universities’ accountability and financial data are thus available upon request at the institutions.

“Under the legislation in force regarding the free access to public-interest information, public institutions are obliged to make public their financial sources, budget, and balance sheets. State universities’ reports are in line with the rules applicable to public institutions. Financial results are reported to the Ministry of Education, are centralized and afterwards forwarded to the Ministry of Finance. Only the centralized financial results are made public by the Ministry of Finance and are freely available”, said Catalin Micu, senior attorney at Zamfirescu Racoti Predoiu lawfirm.

Latest financial report made public by UPB dates March 2008

Another renowned higher learning institution in Romania that didn’t make public its 2008 financial results is the Polytechnic University of Bucharest (UPB).

Three documents are available on the university’s webpage, all three dated March 31, 2008: a balance sheet, revenue statement and expenses statement.

A fourth document, Operating Plan 2008, only includes budget forecasts and expenses for 2008.

None of these documents refer to the financial activities of the institution throughout 2008.

“When a public institution of higher-learning receives accreditation, ARACIS checks the financial condition of the institutions, either at the Court of Auditors, or after a check-up performed by a professional auditor”, said Mihai Floroiu, communication director at ARACIS.

ARACIS and the Romanian Pre-University Learning Agency (ARACIP) are the sole accrediting agencies recognized by the Romanian Ministry of Education.

In 2008/2009 academic year, 891,000 Romanians were studying at higher education institutions, 46.1% of which at state-subsidized universities, according to data provided by the National Institute of Statistics