IN SHORT

Cabinet agrees on tuition fees for external students

AT ITS SESSION on April 18, the cabinet approved an amendment to the University Law that will introduce tuition fees for external university students.

If parliament and the president both approve the revision as well, students will be guaranteed only one daily academic program of standard length free-of-charge. This norm sets no caps on tuition fees.

Education Minister Ján Mikolaj is not afraid that tuition fees will be too high, since universities will have to obey the market principle of supply and demand. Mikolaj is happy that in this way the collection of tuition fees from external studies will be legalized.

Universities misuse the current loophole in the legislation and collect tuition fees from external students through civic associations and companies established for this purpose. If universities decide not to collect any money from students, they will be entitled to state subsidies from the state budget.

The revision distinguishes between three types of institutions of higher education: colleges offering bachelor's degrees, universities offering only master's degrees, and universities offering both master's and doctoral degrees. Out of these, only the colleges can accept an unlimited number of external students while regular universties can only take one external student for every two regular students.

The former education minister, Christian-Democrat Martin Fronc, is shocked that according to the draft revision to the University Law, universities will not be restricted in what they charge external students. He is afraid that the revision will not prevent universities from engaging in the current illegal practice of collecting tuition fees through various civic associations and foundations. He thinks that universities will not be happy to change the status quo, since they now receive state subsidies and are also able to collect fees from external students.

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