Inequality in Armenian Higher Education

Type Working Paper
Title Inequality in Armenian Higher Education
Publication (Day/Month/Year) 2015
This paper presents an exploration of inequalities in access to Armenian higher
education in the period 2004-2013. During this period, higher education changed in
three important ways. (1) Universities introduced higher tuition fees, (2) participation
in the age cohort 18-24 increased from 28% in 2004 to 43% in 2013, and (3) an
attempt was made to align the degree structures with the Bologna Process. The effect
of these changes is explored using ten waves of the Integrated Living household
survey. The paper presents a methodological innovation in using household surveys
for research on intergenerational inequality, exploiting the fact that most Armenian
youth live with their parents while they are of university age (18-24). The results
follow a pattern of ‘Maximally Maintained Inequality’. Any reductions in inequality
came about because of the expansion of the system, not because of policy
interventions. In fact, the data show tuition waivers and scholarships mostly benefit
the privileged. Therefore, more could be done to stimulate students from
disadvantaged families to go to university. Preliminary results from the Caucasus
Barometer 2013 indicate that the pattern of inequality is similar in neighbouring
countries, making these results relevant for the entire region.

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