Government plans 50-percent hike in students' university fees

Rajoy defends austerity reforms as part of “unbeatable recipe” for economic success

University fees may go up as much as 50 percent as part of the government’s proposed cutbacks in education, sources said yesterday.

Education Minister José Ignacio Wert met with representatives of Spain’s regional governments to discuss adjustments at all universities. At present, Spaniards pay between 900 to 1,000 euros a year in university fees, some 15 percent of the 6,000-euro average annual cost of a student’s education. Under the plan, student fees could jump to a maximum of 1,500 euros next September. The government will leave it to each region to determine how much students in their jurisdiction should have to pay.

In Spain, some 1.5 million students attend the country’s 79 universities, 29 of them privately run.

Defending his government’s reforms, Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy insisted at a conference in Colombia on Thursday that he is implementing an “unbeatable recipe for success” to keep the Spanish economy afloat while at the same time introducing economic reforms without affecting most social programs.

“The crisis has brought challenges for us to introduce reformist policies, which will give us better opportunities and greater social welfare,” Rajoy said.

Back home, Popular Party (PP) officials have embarked on a door-to-door campaign throughout different regions and towns to explain Rajoy’s austerity plan.

Speaking at a conference with Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos at the University of Sergio Arboleda in Bogotá, Rajoy also mentioned the problems his government is having with Argentina over Monday’s takeover of Repsol’s stake in YPF. “Legal security and stable rules are indispensable for the progress of any nation.”

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