Tue, Jul 22, 2003 - Page 2 News List

Two universities fined for fraud

STAFF WRITER

The Ministry of Education yesterday announced that it will cut subsidies to a private college and a university as punishment for their decisions to overcharge tuition fees.

Ministry officials said Diwan College of Management increased its tuition fees even though it had made public that the fees would remain unchanged.

The other is Chung Hua University, which had reported to the ministry a tuition fee hike of 5 percent in 2000. The ministry later found that the increase was actually 8 percent, according to a Central News Agency report yesterday.

The education ministry decided to slash the subsidies to the college and the univeristy by about NT$40 million and about NT$60 million, respectively, to offset the amount of money they had illegally obtained from students.

The education ministry's statistics suggest that 28 out of the nation's 154 universities and colleges announced an average tuition fee hike of 3.9 percent in the coming semester. Public schools will see an increase of NT$900 per semester and private institutions are raising costs by around NT$1,800 per semester.

Toko University was the only one to reduce tuition fees -- by 2 percent. While 125 schools did not adjust their tuition fees.

Minister of Education Huang Jong-tsun (黃榮村) yesterday invited the presidents of the 28 schools which had announced tuition-fee hikes to discuss the possibility of keeping the costs constant this year and next year.

Most of the attendees said this problem actually hinges on whether the ministry will decide to cut the subsidies to schools.

Kao Chiang (高強), president of National Cheng Kung University, said the subsidy the school will obtain this year is less than that of last year by NT$80 million. A 3 percent increase in the university's tuition costs only added NT$24 million. There is still a huge gap to fill, Kao said.

Deputy president of National Taiwan University Wu Ching-hsiung (吳靜雄) said the school allocated over 7 percent of its tuition fees each year to help students from low-income families. It raised 60 percent of its education fund each year while the subsidy from the education ministry amounts was less than 40 percent.

"If a 3 percent hike is still unreasonable, then the school doesn't know how to compete with [other schools of] the world," Wu said.

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