The Minister of Education, Alejandro Gaviria, announced that the State University System (SUE) expressed its commitment to the coverage expansion strategy that contemplates the goal of 500,000 new Higher Education places throughout the country.
According to Minister Gaviria, This strategy has an ambitious plan that links the entire Higher Education offer in the country from a territorial approach, also including private universities and SENA, which has professional higher education programs at the technical and technological level.
The goal of quotas that will be guaranteed by public universities will be worked on in an articulated manner between these Higher Education Institutions through regional nodes and the Ministry of Education. It is expected to have, from the second semester of 2023, new quotas within the public offer that make up the 34 institutions that are part of the SUE.
The funding challenge
Minister Gaviria also referred to the financing of Public Higher Education in Colombia and clarified that, since 2022, his portfolio managed a budget addition within the National Development Plan for $220,000 million pesos, a “historical budget”according to his declarations, which would be added to the reform of Law 30, which modifies articles 86 and 87 and which have an impact on the financing of public universities.
These resources will promote strategies such as the expansion of 500,000 places in Higher Education and the Gratuity Policy, a transition plan to guarantee free admission in Public Universities.
Minister Gaviria presented a transition plan that will allow all 64 public Higher Education Institutions to guarantee access for students in conditions of vulnerability to the National Government’s Free Policy.
Taking into account that the registration in Sisbén IV is a requirement for access to the Gratuity Policy in accordance with the provisions of Law 2155 of 2021, it was proposed to extend the term for the settlement of the registration of the first semester of 2023 until 31 March, with the purpose of allowing students who do not yet have the Sisbén IV registration to advance said process.
“The call is for no student to be left out of the educational system. Today we reached an agreement with the rectors of public HEIs and the National Planning Directorate to make an additional effort to support students in an agile manner with their registration process in Sisbén IV and its entry into the Gratuity Policy”, Minister Gaviria stated.
The Minister of Education clarified that the former beneficiaries of the Free Policy (Generation E and Solidarity Fund for Education) will continue to receive access to free enrollment. “All students who are active beneficiaries will continue to receive the benefits of this source of the Gratuity Policy until completing the number of academic periods expected to be financed”said.
The Gratuity Policy is the way in which the National Government assumes the payment of the net ordinary enrollment of the undergraduate students in any of the 64 Public Higher Education Institutions that have a budget link with the Ministry of National Education and that meet the access requirements indicated in article 9 of the 2023 Free Operating Regulations.
As part of the Transition Plan of the Free Policythe National Planning Department will facilitate the installation of a pre-registration module for the Sisbén in public HEIs, which will allow students to carry out this process more quickly.