The presentation shows an international comparison between the Italian and Spanish university systems. Several aspects are analyzed in comparative terms, from the number of national and international students to trends regarding the academic staff to educational and financial resources available to each system.
The Italian and Spanish higher education systems differ in the number of universities, but have a comparable share of students to the number of inhabitants. Despite this marked similarity, the Italian system is characterized by a higher concentration of students in the fields of arts, humanities and sciences. As regards foreign students, they prefer the undergraduate program (bachelor) in Italy and the master degree courses in Spain. In Italy, the non-academic staff underwent a significant contraction in the post-crisis period, unlike the Spanish one that, over the last decade, experienced an increase. By contrast, the Italian university system registered an increase in the ratio between academic and non-academic staff, while the Spanish one had a reduction of such indicator. Moreover, the scientific productivity of the academic staff is higher in Italy than in Spain (1.4 vs. 1 paper per year per person respectively). A comparison between the Italian and Spanish higher education systems also reveals that the former has more extensively resorted to private funding following the reduction of public funding.