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date: 26 May 2020

Abstract and Keywords

Through direct support funding, granting agencies, student scholarships, tax concessions, and other sources governments provide the vast bulk of funding to operate universities. However, governments cede control of how those funds are used to the universities, and these cede control of curricula, assessment, and standards to their academics. Why is this the case for almost all successful university systems? The usual explanation, that the best outcomes of academic pursuit occur with distributed decision making, is simply another description of what has been common in successful systems of higher education under multiple jurisdictions. An answer may come from the consideration that, typically, governments and universities operate on very different timescales. The academic cycles for teaching and research (ten to twenty-five years) far exceed the span of most government administrations (three to five years).

Keywords: government funding, scholarship, academic autonomy, university funding, academic governance

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