The global economic crisis and the Arab Spring have raised additional challenges to most countries in the Middle East and North Africa. In particular, young people in MENA are asking for better opportunities to study and work. As some countries are facing fiscal constraints, seeking financial sustainability to meet student demand is a priority for all higher education systems.

This document will provide evidence on the need to seek sustainable financing strategies for countries in MENA, whether they are high income economies, such as the oil producing countries, or low to middle income economies.

Chapter 1 presents an overall description of HE graduates and the many challenges they face in their transition into the workforce. The different elements that affect this transition are discussed and special attention is given to the mismatches between labor supply and demand.

Chapter 2 analyses the current levels of spending on HE, projects the future financing gaps taking into account the need to continue expanding access and improving quality and relevance, and provides a framework for funding approaches linked to meeting access, equity, and quality goals.

Chapter 3 outlines ways of using current funds in more effective ways, emphasizing the need to align financing allocations with policy goals. Innovative funding allocations that link funding to performance and demand- as well as supply-side mechanisms are discussed.

Chapter 4 discusses different ways to diversify sources of funding and presents alternative methods of cost-sharing. The chapter emphasizes the equity measures needed for cost-sharing mechanisms, such as student fees, and provides an overview of student loan programs used in MENA and elsewhere.

Chapter 5 discusses the role of private provision of Higher Education (HE), and how this can be an alternative to increase access and quality, provided the necessary regulatory and quality controls are in place.

Chapter 6 describes an alternative source of funding not yet common in MENA, namely the use of philanthropic resources to build endowments to support HE. Examples from the U.S. are described at length, as they constitute the most prominent and successful examples of this type of funding worldwide.