The history of higher education in Croatia is marked by a long and rich tradition reaching back to the Middle Ages. University's foundations were laid in 1396, which indicates early recognition of the importance of higher education for individuals, but also the entire society.
Today, after almost 800 years since first beginnings of higher education, turbulent political past of the area in which we live, Republic of Croatia’s independence and our joining the European Union, our universities and Croatia as a destination are becoming more and more attractive to foreign students, as well as domestic ones.
The entry into Bologna Process, or reform of higher education in Europe, was a turning point that abolished traditional differences and harmonized the system of higher education throughout Europe. "Bologna" facilitated mobility of students and staff, increased inclusiveness and accessibility of European higher education, as well as made it more attractive and competitive at the global level.
There are nine public and three private universities operating in Croatia. According to collected data, in the winter semester of academic year 2021/2022, 154,894 students were enrolled in higher education institutions in the Republic of Croatia. There are under 2,000 foreign students enrolled in Croatian faculties, but this number grows by as much as 20% per year.
Croatian universities and higher education institutions currently offer almost a thousand study programs in Croatian and roughly 116 programs in the English language.
Croatian students receive free university, have high student standards (excellent food, modernly equipped student dormitories), get the possibility of inter-university and international mobility, full range of extracurricular activities, wide selection of student jobs and internationally recognized degrees.
As for foreign students, by far the most popular study program in English is University of Split’s School of Medicine, with 247 students enrolled, followed by Faculty of Medicine in Rijeka, 219, and School of Medicine in Zagreb, 186, and the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine in Zagreb, which enrolled 148 students.
Countries from which foreign students usually come here are Germany, France, Slovenia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, but also Israel, Montenegro, Serbia, Hungary, Italy, Spain, Norway, USA,… Foreign students in Croatia find favorable conditions of study in high-quality study programs, professors engaged in their adapting to a new environment, welcoming community, pleasant climate and, finally, a recognized European diploma.
In the end but equally important, investments in large infrastructure projects aimed at higher education have not stopped over last twenty years and every year Croatian universities achieve better results in world universities rankings. There is no doubt that Croatia is every day becoming more and more university- or student destination ready to face challenges ahead.