This Tuesday, April 14, the rector Aldo Valle committed to the Education Commission of the Chamber of Deputies a report that details the financial situation of the CRUCH universities and that will allow evaluating the impact of this bill for the different schools. The Commission agreed that this report would be presented at its next session.
The executive vice president of the Council of Rectors of Chilean Universities (CRUCH), Aldo Valle, reiterated this Tuesday, April 14, before the Education Commission of the Chamber of Deputies the inconvenience, the financial unfeasibility that the bill that suspends the collection would generate of fees and other pecuniary obligations in higher education institutions in the context of the pandemic produced by COVID-19. The bill was presented on March 27 by the deputies of the Socialist Party Juan Santana and Maya Fernández.
“The situation of deficit that affects the universities did not occur on the occasion of the health emergency. As of last October's mobilizations, there was an impact due to late payment, which was later added to the fact that in the 2020 admission process, universities, especially those with less urban concentration in regions, had a lower enrollment, which in some cases represented until 50% ”, explained the rector Valle, who attended the summons of the commission by videoconference
The vice president of CRUCH requested that "before giving a conclusive opinion", the commission consider the report that the Council of Rectors commissioned to a commission of economic vice-rectors and rectors, and that it will gather specific information that will allow evaluating the impact that this project of Law has for universities.
Asked by the commission's deputies, Aldo Valle explained that it is not convenient to establish a general rule, “because universities have different admission structures; likewise, the management of these resources is not the same ”. As an example, he referred to the fact that undergraduate teaching in some schools represents only 30 or 35% of their budgets, but that in most cases it reaches more than 70%.
Valle added that “the difficulties that arose with the surrender of the PSU are publicly known, which meant that there was a very significant decrease in applicants and that universities could not fill their vacancies, which impacts on the resources that the schools receive by gratuity and scholarships ”.
On the other hand, the rector Valle stated that "it is very important to consider that the income that universities receive from projects cannot be used to supplement cash deficits." He also argued that “regarding the elasticity to adjust their expenses, the universities cannot adjust their academic endowments according to a situation, and make use of the suspension of the link so that it can be rebuilt in the future, even as permitted by the legislation that has been passed. Universities are today fulfilling their functions, and they cannot modify their administrative or academic endowments ”.
For these reasons, he reiterated the contribution that having the report that is being prepared will mean, as it will allow "to account for the impacts that a project like this can have on universities, taking into account the diversity of their economic capacities." The parliamentarians agreed that President Valle present this document at the next session of this commission.