State-owned universities will scrap initial school fees for new students from the beginning of the 2013 academic year, the chairman of Indonesia’s Council of State University Rectors said on Friday.
Idrus Paturusi, who is the rector of the Hasanuddin University in Makassar, said that state universities were ready to abide by instructions from the Education and Culture Ministry’s directorate general for higher education to be implemented as a single tuition fee standard.
“The state universities are ready to start it towards the end of 2013,” Idrus explained.
He said that the university would instead receive a higher level of State University Operational Assistance Funds (BOPTN), about twice the current level, from the government to offset the loss of revenues from scrapping the initial school fees.
“If the initial school fee is scrapped and the tuition fees are lowered, that would be very helpful [to students]. What’s more, outside of Java there are many children from regions that do not have good economies,” Idrus said.
Idrus said that under a single tuition fee system, students would only have to pay a fee at the start of the academic semester and would not have to pay any other levies. The Education and Culture Ministry has demanded that all universities, starting with state-owned institutions, prepare for and begin to implement a single tuition fee system.
Idrus said that Hasanuddin University had already lowered its tuition fee from Rp 750,000 ($78) per semester to Rp 650,000. He said the BOPTN amount the university received was more than enough to prevent the schools from charging higher tuition fees.
He added that in 2013, the university was earmarked a BOPTN allocation of Rp 64 billion, twice the amount received in 2012.
Meanwhile, Zainal Rafli, the assistant to the rector for academic affairs of the Jakarta State University, said that his school had already applied the single tuition fee system for the 2012-2013 year between Rp 1.9 million to Rp 4 million per semester.
“We have already implemented the single tuition fee system from last year and that means there is only tuition fees to pay, no longer any initial school fees, graduation fees etc,” he explained.
But Zainal called on the government to accelerate the disbursement of the BOPTN and added that so far “the BOPTN for this year is still a question mark,” with the amount and time of disbursement still unclear.
Ketut Surajaya, the secretary of the University of Indonesia in Jakarta, said that the single tuition fee system would only be implemented at the institution from the upcoming 2013-2014 academic year.
The tuition fees, he said, varied from Rp 100,000 to Rp 5 million per semester, depending on the school.