The number of students included in bachelor’s degree programs has been constantly decreasing for many years and 2011 was no exception to the rule. Thus, if in the academic year 2007/2008 the total number of students was of 907,000, in the academic year 2009-2010 their number reached 775,319 and 673,001 in 2010/2011, and as last year the promotion rate at the high-school graduation examination was the lowest in the last 20 years, most likely in the academic year 2011/2012 the number of students shall reach somewhere around 600,000. It should be noted that these figures do not include the master and doctoral students, their number being around 220,000.

But on the other hand, the decrease was more pronounced in the private sector, the number of students decreasing by a quarter in the last year, from 322,000 to 240,000, while the number of students included in the public educational system decreased from 453,000 to 433,000.

Regarding the top of the largest universities, the first position is occupied by Bucharest with a total of 222,047 students, decreasing from 285,720 in the previous year, the decrease being entirely generated by the private sector, where the number of students decreased by one third and reached about 127,000.

The second position is occupied by Cluj city with a total of 57,595 students, decreasing by 2,800 compared with the previous year, and the third position is occupied by Iasi city with 55,557 students, decreasing from 58,418 in the academic year 2009/2010.

A few comments

1. Even tough the overall number of students decreased by nearly 14%, three of the 13 universities recorded increases, the largest taking place in Arad, here the number of students increasing by 23%. In Constanta, the increase was of 3.4% and in Targu Mures of 0.4%.

2. In three of these 13 university centers, the number of students included in the private sector is higher than the number of those in the public sector - in Arad is higher by 64%, in Brasov by 44% and in Bucharest by 33%.

3. The concentration level is higher - the 13 cities cumulate less than half of the urban population in Romania, but they held 88% of the total of students.

4. The private sector shall face great problems in the coming years, the number of students decreasing by half compared with the boom period from 2006/2007. In this regard it is expected that many of the 52 private higher education institutions to merge, to narrow down their activity or even go bankrupt. Currently, the number of faculties within these institutions is of 207, of which 80 only in Bucharest.

5. Despite the general impression that we have many students, things are not what they seem, and the further decrease in the school population in this educational segment is not welcomed. For instance, if in the academic year 2011/2012 we have 600,000 students to a population (forecast) of 20 million inhabitants, the ratio of 30 students/1,000 inhabitants is below the European average, around 40/1,000.

**02.01.2012**

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