June 19, 2024

Competing for College Spots


Competing for College Spots
Places at Moscow State University are among the most difficult to attain.  The RussianLife files

Parts of Russia's higher education system may seem enviable to Americans, who have seen college tuition costs rise tens of thousands of dollars in the past few decades, but Russian students are facing similar challenges in university admissions. 

College admission and costs in Russia depend heavily on a student's scores on the national exam taken at the end of secondary school. High scores grant students a "budget" place at their chosen university, which means that tuition is either low or waived entirely. Some students also receive a monthly stipend.

But competition for "budget" spots at Russian universities has increased significantly in the last five years. In 2023, there were on average 14 applications for every budget spot, a thirty percent increase since 2018. In Moscow and St. Petersburg, where spots at the major universities are even more sought after, each budget spot had up to 28 applications.

Those students lucky enough to score a place at top universities have shifted their career interests in recent years. The number of students studying in IT faculties has increased, while enrollments in journalism, literature, and communications programs have slowly declined. 

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