The plenary session of the Council of Rectors today analyzed an update of the financial information of its Universities in the context of the health and social emergency in the country. Since the first report presented by the CRUCH Economic Commission in April, to date, the total financial impact has increased by 10%.
The executive vice president of CRUCH, rector Juan Manuel Zolezzi, stated that “our universities transfer their income in expenses and investment in favor of the country, its students, its surroundings; They are key agents in the health network and in the economy of all regions. For this reason, the decrease in income affects thousands of people ”.
This Thursday, June 25, during its monthly session, the Council of Rectors of Chilean Universities (CRUCH) analyzed the financial impact on their institutions due to the health and social emergency.
The new financial information survey carried out by the Economic Commission of the CRUCH, allows to measure that the total financial impact referring to the undergraduate degree for the universities of the CRUCH is $160,874 million pesos, a figure that has increased by 10% with respect to April of 2020.
The executive vice president of the Council of Rectors, Juan Manuel Zolezzi, pointed out that “the difficulties and limitations that arise from the current context have had a strong impact on the financial state of the institutions. This situation has been warned on various occasions by the universities, both in instances in Congress and in the Technical Board for the Financing of Higher Education. In these instances the CRUCH has detailed the financial situation and presented proposals ”.
It is important to note that the collection of this information is only referring to undergraduate studies, so that in order to total the costs of the pandemic and the budget adjustments that universities will have to make, in a next phase, expenses or lower income will be included. that institutions have had in relation to postgraduate studies, research, university extension and links with the environment.
To face this scenario, the CRUCH has proposed the following eight measures: that the Mineduc implement a new application process for student aid; allow the effective use of the surplus resources of the solidarity fund (FSCU); not consider the year 2020 for the calculation of the Gratuity; repeal Article 108 of Law 21.091 on loss of gratuity; not considering the 2020 first year enrollment for the calculation of the 2.7% of vacancies increase; forgive reimbursement of scholarship resources; and make more flexible the use of resources associated with projects already approved by Mineduc to adapt to current requirements.
The executive vice president expressed that "the first objective of the universities has been to ensure the continuity of the educational service, but without financial support the consequences of the pandemic on the universities will have structural effects." He added that "we observe a dissociation between what is happening in the universities and what is proposed in the parliamentary motions and by the Executive."
Finally, the rector Zolezzi emphasized that “our universities transfer their income in expenses and investment in favor of the country, its students, its surroundings; They are key agents in the health network and in the economy of all regions. For this reason, the decrease in income affects thousands of people ”.
Regarding the 2021 Admission Process, it should be remembered that as of this year the process will be in charge of the Ministry of Higher Education Undersecretariat of the Mineduc. However, Rector Zolezzi indicated CRUCH's availability to contribute suggestions based on the experience of the Council of Rectors. “We have sent a letter to the Undersecretary of Higher Education indicating that there are some issues that we would like to clarify. Today, the undersecretary, who was present at the CRUCH meeting, offered and asked for the possibility of us to talk and work more closely to see the difficulties that may arise in the implementation of the process ”.
The executive vice president of CRUCH said that “we appreciated the possibility and we are available to support. The important thing is that they work together, otherwise the problem will be much more complex ”.
Regarding the conditions under which the selection tests can be taken at the end of the year, given the health emergency, the rector Zolezzi said that “attendance is manageable, with more educational establishments and fewer students per room. You have to make an effort so that the tests can be taken with all the safety conditions ”. In addition, he confirmed that the Executive has not yet defined the dates for the rendering of the tests.
In relation to the weights of the selection factors (test, High School grades and Grade Ranking) that universities assign for entry to their different undergraduate careers, Rector Zolezzi dismissed drastic changes. “This is a year with very special conditions and I think the best we can do is, as far as possible, keep the weightings. But CRUCH does not have the last word ”, he concluded.