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IN SHORT

University fees to be presented

THE EDUCATION and finance ministers agreed that fees ranging between Sk3,500 and Sk21,000 (€85 - 510) should be introduced for university studies as of September 2004.

Education Minister Martin Fronc proposed a draft amendment to the law on universities to be discussed in parliament in January next year.

The proposed fees represent 5 to 30 percent of the total expenses of studies. The rest would continue to be covered by the state.

The Slovak daily SME reported on November 19 that, according to Fronc, universities would be free to decide what fees they would charge within the proposed limits.

Representatives of students, however, said that the fees would "be catastrophic" for them.

Michal Feik, who is a member of the social affairs commission with a university students' council, said to the daily that the fees would add a major burden to the already poor economic situation of students.

Fronc insisted, however, that the fees would motivate students to be more interested in their studies, and that the introduction of the fees would also be reflected in an increased quality of university education in Slovakia in general.

Students will be able to take out low-interest loans to finance their studies and would start paying these back only after their wages exceed the minimum wage.

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