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Parliament votes in favor of freezing university tuition fees

Master’s degrees will be up to 70% cheaper after students push for legislation

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27 April 2022 07:21 PM

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ACN | Barcelona

The Catalan parliament has approved limiting public university tuition fees and modifying the higher education law to avoid future price increases. The chamber has greenlighted a popular legislative initiative backed by more than 62,000 students. 

Students wanted the Catalan government’s 2020 executive order to become a law to limit any possible tuition hikes in the future. 

The greenlighted legislation includes two new amendments. The first one will set the cost of an ECTS credit at a maximum price of €17.69. The second amendment will see the cost of public master’s degrees decrease by up to 70% in the next three years. 

The legislation obliges that all public university tuition fees will have a maximum price, which has been set at the current lowest cost. 

The bill has been approved with the votes from government political parties: Esquerra Republicana de Catalunya (ERC), senior coalition partner, and Junts per Catalunya (JxCat), junior partner. But also with conservatives People’s Party, far-right VOX, and the far-left CUP force. Members from the Socialists, anti-austerity Podemos, and Ciudadanos parties have abstained. 

"This is the first step to returning students' right to education. It’s the first step to guaranteeing a public university that is a place for knowledge, social integration, and cohesion. This is the first step to guarantee education as a common universal right," Anna Rosselló, students’ spokesperson, said to the Catalan parliament. 

The far-left pro-independence CUP party introduced another amendment that did not pass. The force wanted to get rid of the "punishment" students face when they have to pay more money to repeat a course. 

Students have been pushing to lower university tuition fees since 2012. At the time, the government led by Artur Mas, from the Catalan centrist-right party, Convergència i Unió, pushed for budget cuts rising university fees by 66%. Since then, pupils have organized dozens of demonstrations to revoke the measure.

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  • Students at a lecture in the Biology faculty of the University of Barcelona (by ACN)

  • Students at a lecture in the Biology faculty of the University of Barcelona (by ACN)

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