The [[Bologna process]] has been adopted, since 2006, by Portuguese universities and poly-technical institutes. Higher education in state-run educational establishments is provided on a competitive basis, a system of ''[[numerus clausus]]'' is enforced through a national database on student admissions. However, every higher education institution offers also a number of additional vacant places through other extraordinary admission processes for sportsmen, mature applicants (over 23 years old), [[international students]], foreign students from the [[Lusosphere]], degree owners from other institutions, students from other institutions ([[Transfer admissions in the United States|academic transfer]]), former students (readmission), and course change, which are subject to specific standards and regulations set by each institution or course department.
Most student costs are supported with public money. However, with the increasing tuition fees a student has to pay to attend a Portuguese state-run higher education institution and the attraction of new types of students (many as part-time students or in evening classes) like employees, businessmen, parents, and pensioners, many departments make a substantial profit from every additional student enrolled in courses, with benefits for the college or university's gross tuition revenue and without loss of educational quality (teacher per student, computer per student, classroom size per student, etc.).
Portugal has entered into [[Higher education in Portugal#International partnership agreements|cooperation agreements with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and other US institutions]] to further develop and increase the effectiveness of Portuguese higher education and research.