Alba Iulia


Location/geographical coverage

Implemented in 1 Decembrie 1918 University of Alba Iulia, Transilvania Region, Romania

Replicated in most Romanian universities

Background and description

Despite the fact that UAB is only 31 years old, given its social purpose and its fundamental activities – education and research, it has been possible to become a facilitator of social inclusion, economic increase and local, regional and national competitiveness. The perception and public and social utility of UAB is more and more based on its contribution to the local and regional development, considering its three functions: teaching-learning, research and service provision to the community.

UAB is situated in the historical city of Alba Iulia, mainly accommodating students from the local and neighbouring areas, especially the countryside or mountainous region. Due to the policy of access widening promoted at national level, Roma students were constantly encouraged to continue their education in our higher education system so they can be admitted on separate places, receiving social grants if their family income is low. 

These students from rural and depressed areas were in particular risk of never wanting to pursue academic education or, if once enrolled, of dropping out. Following some surveys carried out during the period 2016-2020, it has been discovered that there exists a high correlation between the declared intention of school abandonment and study interruption and the following categories of situations: students’ provenance from rural areas or urban areas with less than 10,000 inhabitants, low-income families, having a job, having children and aged below 30 years, having low attendance to lectures and seminars.

Therefore, UAB decided to provide support for all these students belonging to disadvantaged and underrepresented categories, especially during the pandemic period, when these students lacking IT support contemplated dropping their studies.

Stakeholders and Partners

The target groups/Beneficiaries are: high school students from under-represented groups and students benefitting from social assistance stipends enrolled in UAB programs

Number of high school students benefitting from online counselling: 240

Number of high school students participating in webinars, who benefitted from counselling and increased motivations: 160

Number of prizes awarded by the UAB to students who demonstrated advanced knowledge of our educational offer: 90

Number of functional career assessment and counselling electronic platform: 1

Number of students-at-risk benefitting from career counselling who decided to continue their studies: 65

Number of partnerships with high school institutions: 20

Number of impact studies in the field of equity during the pandemic:1

Number of good practice guide in the field of academic equity: 1

Number of students with social assistance grants who benefitted from tablets: 321

The institution involved in the good practice is UAB through its management board, financial office, admission and administration offices, CICOC

Methodological Approach

How was the practice implemented?

  • online information about admission for students from disadvantaged backgrounds published on all faculties webpages
  • organizing online webinars, counselling sessions, in order to provide a more personalized approach for interaction with prospective students and to encourage a wider range of students to apply for admission.
  • 30 tutors specialised in using the career assessment and counselling electronic platform

Methodological approach:

  • university management decision for financial supporting students from disadvantaged backgrounds(orphans) for admission tax free, social grants for the students from disadvantaged backgrounds (rural areas or from families with low income), specific number of places for Roma students

How is the information gathered?

  • before admission during webinars and through events organised within CNFIS-FDI projects
    • by the admission office
    • from tutors responsible for each year of study

How are data compliance and protection issues addressed?

  • Data compliance and protection ensured on GDPR regulations

Explain how this approach is participatory for all and inclusive (inclusive of gender and other underrepresented groups): 

  • UAB provides specific and targeted information and data for all high school students and encourages those from under-represented groups to consider our university as an attractive option. Students from these categories receive support before, during and after admission in university

Specify time frame and implementation cost, if available:

  • social grants amount: approximately 120 euro/grant

What resources were used in the implementation:

  • The financial resources for admission, social grants.
  • Other resources: academic and IT staff involved in using the electronic platform, academic and administrative staff involved in admission, university webmaster, administrative staff from secretariats, etc.


Evaluation: the practice implemented had as results

  • the increased number of students from disadvantaged backgrounds due to admission tax free for orphans, specific number of Roma students in admission, social grants offered to students from low-income families, including those from rural and mountainous communities.
  • access to higher education in all UAB programs for students from depressed areas
  • increased number of students with social assistance grants benefitting from IT support in order to continue their education in an online environment.

Continuous improvement process:

  • More webinars for promoting university programs and widening access support should be organized on the online support platform.
  • obtaining funds to support students through national projects such as the following implemented ones: PRO-INTEGRA – Integrated programme for the inclusion of students at risk and for the increase in equity at institutional level; PRO-ACCES – Integrated programme to facilitate access of high school graduates from high schools in depressed areas to higher education and for the development of equity at institutional level; PRO-ECHITATE – Integrative programme for the increase in social equity for high school and university students from disadvantaged groups through measures that facilitate the access to studies and insertion on the job market; PARTENER-UAB – Integrative programme for the increase in social equity, access to studies and the job market for high school and university students, as well as for graduates through the development of partnerships and career counselling services; PRO-MOTIV – Integrated programme of institutional support, motivation and counselling for high school and university students at risk, to provide access to higher education, equity and to ensure remaining in the system.

Confirmation by the beneficiaries that the practice addresses the needs properly. Has the good practice been validated with the stakeholders/final users? Yes.

  • the beneficiaries were the students from disadvantaged backgrounds (such as students from families with low incomes and from poor rural communities, benefitting from social assistance grants)
  • all high school students who benefitted from online counselling managed to file their admissions documents via the electronic admissions platform.

Innovation potential

Offering support for young people from underrepresented and disadvantaged groups to continue their education at university level was considered an innovative action undertaken by UAB .

Success Factors

The conditions needed are:

  • funds for financing admission and social grants for disadvantaged groups
  • funds for improving and maintain the online counselling platform
  • availability of academic and IT staff to offer counselling services


Constraints addressed:

  • sharing information with students from disadvantaged groups (some still do not have access to Internet)
  • there are still some classrooms and laboratories that are not fully computerised (with integrated blended learning facilities

Lessons learned

The students from disadvantaged backgrounds received a significant financial support for admission and during their studies. The practice had a great impact for high school students who couldn’t afford to get information and support for admission and for UAB students who were at risk of abandoning their studies.

Students, both men and women, from disadvantaged backgrounds, such as families with low incomes and from poor rural communities are encouraged to access and continue their education at university level due to social grants, admission tax free for orphans, separate admission places for Roma students, facilities for students with disabilities.


The practice has been institutionally, socially, economically sustainable.

The key elements to put in place for the practice to be institutionally, socially, economically and environmentally sustainable are:

  • academic and administrative staff involvement, funds to support students from disadvantaged backgrounds in admission and afterwards, funds offering students in need technical support (tablets, etc.).

The practice contributes to reduce the abandonment of studies for students from disadvantaged backgrounds, ensures the access to higher education for students from low-income families.

The benefits at the institutional, economic and environmental level are more valuable than the costs invested in this practice, ensuring access to education, support during studies and providing assistance and guidance through all educational process.

Replicability and/or up-scaling potential

The practice has been replicated in similar contexts in other universities at national level.

The conditions that should be met/respected to ensure that the good practice is replicated, but adapted to the new context are ensuring the funds for supporting the admission and studies for students from disadvantaged or underrepresented groups. UAB won several national competition-based projects that promoted access widening for underrepresented and disadvantaged groups, encouraging young students from rural regions, young Roma students, to enrol in our programs and to continue their studies in higher education


The good practice presented indeed provided an example of how unforeseen situations, such as the SARS-COVID pandemic can be addressed in order to still make the university studies attractive to students from underprivileged area and to help them continue their studies.

Contact details

URL of the practice Reference document

Related Web site(s)

Related resources that have been developed

Good Practice Guide in the field of academic equity