Public university rectors and officials from the Education Ministry agreed Wednesday night on a 7 percent increase for the Special Fund for Higher Education (FEES) for 2011 and 2012, and on a 4.5 percent increase from 2013 through 2015, plus adjustments for inflation.
The government also agreed to provide ¢5.5 billion (nearly $10.9 million) for FEES for the remainder of 2010, in addition to the ¢226.2 billion (almost $448 million) it has already supplied this year.
Monies will be used to increase enrollment and expand campus infrastructure. Additionally, funds must be used for student scholarships and professor research grants, and for updating school technology and scientific equipment.
According to the agreement, these figures will boost FEES expenditures to 1.5 percent of Costa Rica’s gross domestic product by 2015 and put the country en route toward its goal of spending 8 percent of the nation’s GDP on public education.
The agreement comes less than a week before the government’s Aug. 31 budget deadline. The eight days prior to the agreement included marches on Casa Presidencial by thousands of public university employees and students demanding an 11 percent increase for FEES from 2011 through 2015.
The Costa Rican government had originally been offering a 4.5 percent increase in FEES for each of the next five years.