Costa Rica cuts $13.4 million from public university spending

February 20, 2009

Costa Rica´s public universities were outraged to learn the government plans to cut higher education spending by ¢7.5 billion ($13.4 million).

The Finance Ministry said Thursday the decision was made after the Central Bank´s gloomier than expected forecast of economic activity.

“You can´t make a decision about reducing the budget unilaterally,” said Olman Segura, president of National University (UNA), in Heredia, north of San José. Segura said his institution is set to lose ¢1.6 billion (almost $3 million) of originally agreed upon funding from the Special Higher Education Fund (FEES).

The FEES funnels money to four public universities, including UNA, the University of Costa Rica, State University at a Distance, and Costa Rica Institute of Technology.

Finance Minister Guillermo Zúñiga, however, said the government initially agreed to spend 1.03 percent of gross domestic production on state universities, which according to initial forecasts amounted to ¢204.1 billion (more than $365 million). Amid expectations of a shrinking economy, the Ministry has been obliged to slash this amount by 3.5 percent, Zúñiga said, according to the daily La Nación.

“The ministry cannot pay anything that isn´t authorized in the (national) budget,” Zúñiga said. “I think what (the public universities) will have to do is start to look at where they´re going to cut back.”

Meanwhile, university and high school students are preparing “the fight to defend the state university budgets,” according to Seminario Universidad, a weekly newspaper published by the University of Costa Rica. The paper reported the Federation of University Students of Costa Rica is organizing a protest set for March 14.

You may be interested

Of snow, kindness and Northern Lights: a Costa Rican in Manitoba, Canada
Please Send Coffee!
708 views
Please Send Coffee!
708 views

Of snow, kindness and Northern Lights: a Costa Rican in Manitoba, Canada

Gustavo Díaz Cruz - December 14, 2017

My mom named me Gustavo Adolfo. I was born in Puntarenas, next to the sea, but my home was in…

Response to disaster: aid successes, struggles in post-Maria Puerto Rico
Weather
830 views
Weather
830 views

Response to disaster: aid successes, struggles in post-Maria Puerto Rico

John McPhaul - December 13, 2017

As Costa Rica joins many other nations in looking back upon the horrendous 2017 hurricane season, longtime Tico Times contributor…

Looking back at Hurricane Maria: the initial impact
Weather
1902 views
Weather
1902 views

Looking back at Hurricane Maria: the initial impact

John McPhaul - December 12, 2017

As Costa Rica joins many other nations in looking back upon the devastating 2017 hurricane season, longtime Tico Times contributor…