Higher Education Access and Affordability in Ukraine

As with most communist Soviet and Eastern European states access to education for the masses was deemed a high priority, this was largely due to the fact that during imperial times mostly only the nobles and the wealthy had access to post secondary institutions. Citizens of the Soviet Union had free access to secondary education and were required to complete at least a junior specialist degree, equivalent to an associate degree in the US. Moreover, the Soviet Union exercised mandatory conscription of its male population, however those studying for a degree were exempt from the draft until the completion of their studies, therefore men would often stay enrolled to reach master's degrees to delay their entry into the military.

After gaining independence Ukraine retained the Soviet principle of having a post secondary education system that is affordable to its population. In 2009 Ukraine spent 7.3% of GDP on education compared to the United States' 5.2%. Trade schools (Technikums), which are analogous to community colleges in the US and award the junior specialist degree continued to remain freely accessible by most citizens, students wishing to enroll in a trade school do not need to complete the full 11 grades of school and may enroll in 9th grade. However budget constraints forced tuition charges on University programs. Students wishing to enroll in universities must complete the full secondary education curriculum, during the last year of school they take a placement test which determines their chances of enrolling and whether or not they will have to pay tuition or not. Moreover, students enrolled may receive a monthly stipend which is designed to cover their living and school expenses while they are enrolled in college. In 2012 the minimum monthly stipend was 550 UAH for students enrolled in Technikums and 730 UAH for students enrolled in Universities. In 2016 tuition costs for higher education were averaging less than $1,000 per academic year; but because of corruption students costs were considerably higher. Students pursuing a doctoral degree beyond Specialist or master's degree are generally treated in a similar manner to graduate students in the US where they are expected to assist the faculty and may receive pay from the university as they perform their own research.

Although online education is not predominant in Ukraine students may enroll in extramural college, which is the most common type of long distance education in Ukraine and many other former Soviet nations. During this type of enrollment the student continues to work and is given all of their assignments for the semester ahead of time. The student completes the assignments then returns to the university to explain their reasoning and complete testing. Many businesses in Ukraine subsidize their employees who return to pursue a higher degree using this method.