Document Type



Available under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial Share Alike 4.0 International Licence


Business and Management., public administration

Publication Details

European Association of Institutional Researchers Conference 2016


Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) collaborate with public funding and quality assurance agencies to balance programme delivery with funding and quality. After the financial crisis in 2008, many countries are now emerging from economic recessions, providing an opportunity to reflect on how HEIs have weathered the storm of austerity. During the period 2008 and 2015 overall funding to publically funded Irish HEIs fell by 14% despite enrolment of full-time students increasing by 25% (HEA, 2015). Against the backdrop of a national Strategy for higher Education reform, the strategic choices made by HEIs are considered along with the effectiveness of quality assurance systems to flag issues with quality in a timely fashion. Initial findings suggest that (i) on the surface at least, Irish HEIs may have weathered the storm and preserved the quality of their teaching mission, but the true cost of this is not yet known (ii) there was a lack of strategic prioritisation in the choices made by HEIs and a lack of realism in the development trajectories agreed with their funding agency and (iii) there are deficits in the capacity of quality frameworks to flag quality issues in a timely fashion.