Leningrad Institute of Finance and Economics (LIFE) was set up on the basis of a dissolved Faculty of Economics of the Leningrad Polytechnic Institute according to the reform of higher education of 1930. Its faculty and students were supplemented by new forces from the Faculty of Social Science of the Leningrad Institute (department of Economics) and from the Institute of National Economy named after Friedrich Engels (department of Finance). On the 26th of May 1930 the LIFE was put under the authority of the People’s Commissariat of Finance of the USSR. The 3d of June 1930 is considered the birthday of the LIFE.

In 1930 there were 2 divisions (Finance and Credit) and 15 scientific departments in the LIFE. A lot of LIFE’s alumni of 30-40s became eminent financiers, occupied top positions in finance and credit system of the state.
During the Great Patriotic war of 1941-1945 the LIFE was evacuated to the North Caucasus and later to Tashkent, while its building in Leningrad was guarded by the special staff.

On the 1st of September 1944 the LIFE restarted its work in Leningrad. In 1954 the LIFE merged with the Leningrad Institute of Planning. From that year on the Institute has been a multidisciplinary higher educational institution of economics.

The 60s and 70s of the XX century was another important stage of the LIFE’s history. Under the management of Professor Yury A. Lavrikov, who had been a rector of the LIFE since 1966, the study process was reorganized and the professional model of economist was worked out. Under the resolution of the Ministry of Higher Education of the USSR and RSFSR the LIFE was the first institute to receive the right to start training of specialists under the new curricula. In 1970 the Institute went over to a five-year training with the defense of degree thesis. Yuri A. Lavrikov managed to involve distinguished scientists of economics in the work at the Institute.

After Yury a. Lavrikov’s death in 1991, Professor Leonid S. Tarasevich became a rector of the LIFE. On the 23d of September 1991 under the resolution of government of the Russian Federation the institute was transformed into the Saint-Petersburg State University of Economics and Finance.

Professor Igor A. Maksimtsev was elected as new rector of the University in December 2009. Professor Leonid S. Tarasevich was elected as the first president of the University. The program of further University development set up the challenge to improve scientific and educational activities. It emphasized participation of the University in resolving of crucial economic issues on the federal, regional and municipal levels.