XIX-XX century was a time of great economic growth in Rostov-on-Don and in Rostov region. By the beginning of the XX century Rostov turned into one of the richest cities, important industrial center with developed bank and trade system, big transport center that joined 3 railway systems and one of the biggest Russian port. "Merchant-city", as Rostov was frequently called, showed demand in specialists in economics, accounting, insurance, statistics, etc.
Development of vocational and then of higher education in Rostov started in 1900 with establishing of Rostov Male Commerce School and continued even during the World War I, when majority of the professor staff from Warsaw University moved to Rostov in 1915.
End of 1920-beginning of 1930 was time of important changes in country's life in the fields of economy and economic science and education: building of socialist society, collectivism policy and industrialization led to creation in 1930-1931 first Financial-Economic Institutes in Moscow. Leningrad, Kharkov, Tashkent, Irkutsk, Kazan, Kiev and Rostov-on-Don.
Thus, in 1931 Rostov got its first specialized Institute of Finance and Economy (RFEI) that began classes within 2 specialties: State Budgeting and Credit.
In 1937 RFEI moved to the new site – one of the most beautiful buildings in Rostov of that time which is still home for University. Since that time RFEI started its growth. Before the beginning of World War II it took the 3rd place among all the economic institutes of USSR, expanded its activity and turned into well-known center of education.
In 1964 due to diversity of educational courses and high prestige among population RFEI, by decision of Ministry of Education got a new name that more precisely reflected content of its educational and scientific activity - Rostov Institute of National Economy (RINH). By the beginning of 1980-s RINH had more than 7000 students, was officially state recognized as the first category institute and was considered to be the leading economic university in the whole North Caucasus.
The last decade of the XX century turned out to be the most challenging and dynamic for the University. Economical and political changes in USSR and Russia led to transformation of the educational concept and required quick and effective solution of different tasks. In ten years University changed its name twice: in 1994 it became Rostov State Academy of Economics and in 2000 finally got its today name – Rostov State University of Economics (RSUE).