Government expenditure per student as % of GDP per capita


Average total (current, capital and transfers) general government expenditure per student in the given level of education, expressed as a percentage of GDP per capita.

Calculation method

Divide total government expenditure for a given level of education (ex. primary, secondary) by total enrolment in that same level, divide again by GDP per capita, and multiply by 100.

Data source

Data on education expenditure and on the number of students by level is received by country governments responding to UIS's annual survey on formal education. The data used to fill the questionnaire on education expenditure may come from annual financial reports by the Ministry of Finance and/or the Ministry of Education, and/or national accounts reports by the National Statistical Office. GDP per capita data comes from the World Bank and is updated three times a year.


This indicator is useful to compare average spending on one student between levels of education, over time, or between countries, and gives an indication of the weight of spending on one student in relation to a country's income. However because the indicator is relative, it will be comparatively higher in poorer countries and lower in richer countries, therefore such differences should be interpreted with caution.


This indicator should not be considered a unit cost, since it only includes what the government spends, and not total spending per student (including household contributions). Since it is a simple division of total government expenditure by the number of students at a given level, whether they attend public or private institutions, in countries where private provision and/or funding of education is higher the average amount per student will appear lower.


To show how much a government is spending on average on one student at a given level of education, in relation to average income per person.

Types of disaggregation

By level of education.