Rector of St Petersburg University shares the experience of the University in organising sponsored admissions


The Rector of St Petersburg University spoke about how sponsored admission to St Petersburg University has been transformed from a resource of protectionism into a way to ensure the development of the regional economy of individual subjects and the national economy of the Russian Federation.

St Petersburg University started to implement the practice of admitting the applicants who signed an agreement on sponsored education with a future employer in 1991. That was also when the University signed an agreement with Anatoly Sobchak, Chairman of the Leningrad City Council, on the admission of 100 legislators to academic programmes in the field of law. Many of them successfully completed their studies and today work in the State Duma of the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation.

Since 1995, when all universities in Russia started to implement the practice of sponsored admission, the University has begun to actively use this tool. However, as Nikolay Kropachev said, St Petersburg University enrolled, as part of the sponsored admission, only those who apply to second higher education programmes. This decision was largely due to the fact that for many years the sponsored admission of school leavers to bachelor’s programmes was a way of exerting pressure on rectors and employers. Often, in order to accept a recommended candidate, universities had to look for “employer-sponsored” applicants in their regions who scored fewer points for Unified State Exams. This was done in order to simulate a competitive situation, while the average score for Unified State Exams could be almost twice as high.

2019 introduced changes in the federal legislation in the field of sponsored education. The percentage of employer-sponsored places for admission in the total number of government-funded places for each area of study and specialty is now established by an order of the Government of the Russian Federation, taking into account the needs of the regional economy. The list of the organisations that can act as customers of sponsored education is also strictly limited.

During admission to study in 2022, the University, together with the Ministry of Education and Sports of the Republic of Karelia, held the first open all-Russian contest in Russia for signing agreements on sponsored education with enterprises of Karelia. More than 100 applicants from more than 30 regions of the country had applied to these places, and the winners were residents of Bashkortostan, Tatarstan, and the Crimea, said Nikolay Kropachev. A similar agreement for holding such a contest in 2023 was signed by St Petersburg University with the Leningrad Region.

Each of the leaders of the regions of the Russian Federation was sent a letter with a proposal for cooperation in the framework of sponsored training. We are ready to accept those who you have chosen and provided working conditions for. It is necessary to use the potential of sponsored admission. In this regard, we can prepare specialists not only for Moscow and St Petersburg, but for all regions of the country.

Nikolay Kropachev, Rector of St Petersburg University

A federal law was recently issued on amending the ‘Law on Education’ in terms of organising sponsored education, which will come into force next year, said Nikolay Kropachev. The adopted law makes a huge contribution to increasing the honesty and openness of admission and to providing applicants with equal opportunities to apply to employer-sponsored places. ‘Undoubtedly, we needed a federal platform that would host information about customers’ proposals for signing agreements for sponsored training. In this regard, the digital platform ‘Rabota v Rossii’ will play a very important role,’ said Nikolay Kropachev. ‘The same can be said about the use of the Internet portal “Gosuslugi” for applicants to submit applications for signing agreements on sponsored training. I am very glad that our joint efforts (we have always supported this initiative) were successful and the federal law was adopted’.

In conclusion, the Rector of St Petersburg University told the participants in the meeting about the project of St Petersburg University to develop the Mendeleev Research and Educational Cluster, which is set to provide research and expert assistance to the regions of Russia. Today, among its members are more than 18 constituent entities of the Russian Federation, including the Tambov Region, the Omsk Region, and the Ivanovo Region to name just a few.


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