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June 23, 2017

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MOE drafts plan for college tuition hikes

The China Post news staff--According to a recent announcement by the Ministry of Education (MOE), college tuition fees may rise by a maximum 10 percent for public university freshmen and 5 percent for all students in the 2013 semester.

In a draft proposal for tuition fee adjustments, the hike is separated into two parts — a mandatory 5-percent fee increase for freshmen students who attend public universities, and an additional rise for every student depending on their particular school's annual student cost increase. The second increase will not exceed 5 percent. The MOE stated that this is a mechanism drafted to subsidize students from economically disadvantaged homes.

In a press statement released on the MOE website, the new proposal aims to subsidize disadvantaged students who have difficulties paying tuition fees. According to Deputy Director of the Department of Higher Education under the MOE Sophia Ma, the ministry will collect the 5-percent increased payment from university freshmen and redistribute the funds to students who have difficulty paying the tuition in the form of scholarships or financial aid.

Shih Hsin University President Lai Ding-ming concurred with the proposed draft from the ministry to redistribute the tuition payments but hoped that a portion of it would be given to private school students. "Generally speaking, the majority of the students who attend public colleges come from higher income families, whereas a significant amount of students from private colleges come from a lower income family," he said.

Parents and Students Against Hike

Parent and student groups have come out against the plan, stating that this is not the time to increase tuition, as Taiwan's economy is showing little sign of improvement. Moreover, the government does not have sufficient information to support the 5-percent hike while using "the disadvantaged" as an excuse to increase fees.

National Cheng Kung University President Hwang Hwung-hweng stated that the school will be holding several discussion meetings with parents and officials before raising the tuition fees. "We need to think of students' financial situations. Furthermore, much of Cheng Kung's income comes from intellectual property revenue, so hiking the tuition fees wouldn't be as necessary," Huang said.

Public Hearing to be Held

Ma explained that numerous public hearings and meetings would be held before the end of the year for the exchange of ideas from all sectors. "The drafted proposal should be sent to the Legislative Yuan before December and hopefully the new policy would come into effect in the new semester of 2013," she said.

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