The fee affects everybody

The fee affects everybody!

By: Emily Ann Oliveras Rossy and Myrna Rivera Comas

   During the past weeks we have heard a lot about the fiscal stabilization fee that it was imposed to the University in Puerto Rico (UPR) in the summer of 2010 after the student strike of the 11 campuses was held. “It was a low blow, what the administration did,” questioned Alberto Rodríguez, member of the National Negotiator Committee.

   Many people in the streets think that the fee is a result of the economical crisis that the world is going through. Others think that the students make protests for the simple fact of having the university closed, or just to call the attention.

   “What they don’t know or not even imagine is that the fiscal stabilization fee of the (UPR) does not have the purpose of being,” added Ovidio López Alers, a compared literature student of the University of Puerto Rico in Mayaguez (UPRM). “The only purpose that the fee has is to decrease the students of the eleven campuses to sell them to the Private Universities System”

   The fee has like a purpose be the guarantee or warrantee of 100 million dollars that the administration of the (UPR) made to the Government of Public Work Bank to ease the crisis in the university’s budget.

   To be able to understand the crisis that the university is going through we must have in mind from where exactly the funds that are used for the (UPR’s) budget are coming from. 1% of the budget comes from the Formula- law #2 1966, the other 1% of the funds come from the legislative homework, an 8% comes from the chance games tax law, the 16% comes from own incomes and the 74% comes from the ARRA Funds.

   According to “El Informa” the student’s choice of the crisis and the fee in the (UPR), the crisis is provoked by the private debtors and politics, the government and the (UPR’s) administration.

   In the government’s case it has decreased the budget that they were giving to the university increasing their debt to 231,493,005.92. Between the debtors you can find the Treasury Department and the Legislative Scholarship arrears.

   Between the private debtors we find the insurance companies with a debt approximately in case of the administration 74,506,580 dollars and the private organization with a total of 22,346,337.70.

   “When we talk of the administration this does not help with the creation of new administrative positions and increases in the spending of 2.5 million dollars,” assured by Ovidio López Alers in a informative forum held on December 23, 2010 in property of the (UPRM).

   To this we also add the absence of fiscal transparency and administrative, the boycott in the process of the Middle State Association’s (MSA) accreditation, the power of the student loans and scholarships, the spending in strategies to avoid dialogues and the implementation of politics without studies or analysis.

   The fee does not resolve the budgetary problem of the university because: it is estimated that around 60,000 students are going to pay it but it is also estimated that 10,000 students will leave the university because they would not be able to pay the fee.

   “We’re tight, we are three brothers of the (UPR) and we do not have scholarships,” commented one of the students of Agriculture Science in the informative forum held on December 23, 2010. In the case of the Molina González brothers the two already exceeded the limit of student loans in the UPR. “We have looked for work to continue studying, but the absence of sections is really affecting us because we are very behind.”

   And like them there are many students that having no money they would not be able to keep studying in the UPR.  “Making a study of the situation I have found that I have to share a lodging with four people instead of two to be able to pay each month, “said Luis Rivera, student in Computer Engineering who is in his fourth year.

   Like that the Fiscal Stabilization Fee affects directly the students of the UPR system.

   “The fee does not resolve the crisis, it increases it,” said Omar Rodríguez, student of the Humanities Department at the UPRM. “This fee makes the loan higher it does not decrease it, this is because the fee only will cover a 16% of the budgetary deficit.”

   The administration has imposed that fee because they think the “PELL” Scholarship can cover it. According to the Economical Assistance Office one student spends almost 13,932 dollars each year in the UPR system. The “PELL” Scholarship only covers like 5,350 dollars annually.

   In the case of the UPR only a 65% of the students receive something of the “PELL” Scholarship, the remaining 35% do not receive anything. And of those 65%, only 38.1% receive the “PELL” Scholarship entirely. Adding the Fiscal Stabilization Fee to the annually student cost it will be around 14,600 each year.

   This imposition will leave out a total of 19.53% of the UPR students in Rio Piedras, and approximately 1.5 million dollars will be lost.

   In the case of those foreign students the total cost in the UPR is 17,535 dollars and they are not allowed to work outside the university, “How are we going to study?” exclaimed Wilfredo Padilla, student of the UPR, who is part of the foreign students and came here for his professional title because it is cheaper.


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