University fees to be raised 7.6% next September in Catalonia
Public university undergraduate students will have to pay between 64 and 100 euros more per year. Those repeating once will pay the same amount, but those taking a course for the third time will pay 60% more. The measure would bring in 20 million euros in one year. 25% of the revenues from the fee increase will be reinvested via scholarships, the first that will be aimed at university students managed by the Catalan Government.
Barcelona (ACN).- Catalan public university students will have to pay 7.6% more for their tuition fees as of next year (2011-2012), which is the maximum allowed by the Spanish Government. It corresponds to the annual inflation (3.6%) plus 4 percentage points. Sources from the Catalan Secretary of Universities confirmed to ACN a measure known for weeks and released the exact increase after negotiations with the students. The tax increase means that public university undergraduate students will pay between 64 and 100 euros more per year, depending on the degree they study. Taking an average of 60 ECTS per year, cheaper degrees (such as Law or Humanities) will pass from an average tuition fee of 845.40 euros per year to 909.65 euros. The most expensive (Medicine or Veterinary) will pass from 1,322.49 to 1,422.90 euros. The measure is still far away from other university tax increases in other countries, such as the United Kingdom. However, it adds to already existing tuition fees. It has caused controversy, but nothing compared to the UK. The measure has still not been adopted; it is a proposal from the Catalan Secretary for Universities, to be firstly approved by the Inter-university Council of Catalonia and, secondly, by the Government\u2019s Cabinet Meeting. However, it should not change. Next year, Catalan universities will receive 143 million euros less than in the current budget. It is part of the Government's plan to cut public spending by 10% in 2011 in order to reduce the public deficit. Raising university taxes by 7.6% would bring 20 million euros that would soften the spending cut for universities.
The Catalan Government manages all public universities in Catalonia, in relation to resources and equipment, although the degrees are standardised by the Spanish Ministry of Education and Universities. Barcelona has the power to unilaterally decide a university fee increase within a limit. The 7.6% is the maximum the Catalan Executive can unilaterally decide, which corresponds to annual inflation (set at 3.6%) plus 4 percentage points. The tuition fees for official master courses will only increase with inflation: 3.6%.
The increase in tuition fees will be much higher for students repeating for their second time. After some debate, finally the Government decided to raise the fees by 60% to those students taking a subject for the third time, those having repeated twice. Therefore, there is the right to fail once without a fine, but failing twice is penalised. The 7.6% increase for first and second-time students and the 60% increase will bring around 20 million euros. This amount should soften the 143 million euros of budget cuts for all Catalan universities next year.
25% of those 20 million euros raised through the university tax increase would be reinvested via scholarships. They would be the first university-level type grants managed by the Catalan Government. They will be awarded to the most economically disadvantaged students, those who could have the greatest difficulties paying the fee increase.
Different scales of tuition fees
Considering that university degrees have an average of 60 European Credit Transfer System units (ECTS) per year, the increase means each student will have to pay between 64 and 100 euros more per year, depending on the degree they are studying. There are three scales of tuition fees, depending on the need for experimentation materials. The cheapest are those with less experimental needs, such as Law, Economics, and most Humanities degrees. Students have been paying 845.40 euros per year. 2011-2012 will cost 909.65 euros, a difference of 64.25 euros. The second scale of tuition fees corresponds to technical and scientific degrees, such as Architecture, Engineering, Communications or most of the scientific degrees. Tuition fess will pass from 1,196.40 euros to 1,287.33, which means 90.93 more. Finally, the most expensive degrees are Veterinary, Medicine and Nursing. Students will pass from paying 1,322.49 euros per year to 1,422.90, a difference of 100.5 euros.