The government says it has increased assistance funds for higher educational institutions so that state universities can eliminate initial student enrollment fees starting this year.
“This year’s fees will certainly cost less when compared to previous years,” secretary of Education and Culture Ministry’s higher education council Nizam said on Thursday.
The move was made possible by an increase in State University Operational Assistance Funds (BOPTN) to Rp 2.7 (US$278 million) trillion for 2013, up from Rp 1.5 trillion last year.
Enrollment fees would be eliminated for students selected by the national entrance test for state universities (SNMPTN) and by those who have independently enrolled and pay a greater portion of their tuition, Nizam said. “The main point of getting rid of the enrollment fees is affordability.”
He said that the ministry would not stop there. “We aim to gradually decrease the cost of study by increasing assistance funds. We will adjust the standardization of state university tuition fees following the removal of the enrollment fees.”
Several prominent state universities, including the University of Indonesia (UI) in Depok, West Java; the Bandung Institute of Technology (ITB) in West Java; and Gajah Mada University (UGM) in Yogyakarta; said that they would implement the new policy this year.
UGM spokesperson Wiwit Wijayanti said on Wednesday that the university would also not levy additional fees on student for things such as field practicums or graduation. “The students will only be charged only with tuition fees. There will be no additional fees,” Wiwit said as quoted by kompas.com.
Meanwhile, UI spokesperson I Ketut Surajaya also said that the university would only charge tuition starting this year.
Ketut said the tuition paid by social science students ranged from Rp 100,000 (US$10.30) to Rp 5 million a semester, while natural sciences students paid up to Rp 7.5 million.
“The removal of one-time enrollment fees for undergraduate students is possible because the operational costs that were once taken from the enrollment fees will now be taken from the assistance funds from the government,” Ketut said.
Separately, ITB rector Akhmaloka said that he would wait for instructions from the ministry’s higher education directorate general before eliminating enrollment fees.
The ministry allocates assistance funds for state universities based on student enrollment numbers. The funds are used for research, maintenance cost, facilities procurement and student activities. (nad)