Students reject 10% fee discount from CMU

 | Mon 27 Apr 2020 10:08 ICT

CityNews – 24th April 2020, around 20 students, representatives of the Chiang Mai student body, met in front of the president’s office to request a 30% discount off tuition fees for the coming year.

Citing financial hardship over the past few months as COVID-19 has shut down the economy, students say that their parents are unable to pay their tuition fees and that they need help.

A total of 1,364 students have requested this 30% discount as of this summer term onwards. The students went on to say that since much of the classes are now online, with little use of the university’s facilities, the university should not expect students to pay their full fees.

According to minutes of a meeting of Chiang Mai University’s council held on the 21st April, the university will reduce fees by 10% as well as set aside a budget of 250 million baht to lend to students in need.

The students have come out to say that the 10% offered should be the minimum discount. They have also said that since most of the parents of students at CMU are in the middle class or lower, the 10% offered is simply not enough. The students pointed out that the university is supported by the fees paid by its students as well as government subsidies. This money is used to foster education and is invested in the future of people and society as a whole. The university is part of the state and belongs to the people. It is therefore very disappointing, claim the students, that throughout these two weeks, since students first approached the university for fee reduction, that the university has failed to enter into any talks whatsoever with students and parents. Not once, claim the students, have their voices been heard. Students therefore demand an open forum with the president of the university and a real and actionable plan as to how to help and support the financial burden for parents and students over the coming year.

The last point that the students made was to counter the claim from the university that the 30% discount demanded would damage the quality of education. Students say that the university’s income in 2019 was 2.375 billion baht over its expenses. This difference alone, say students, would be able to help all students struggling financially. The proposed 10% offered, they say, will mean that the university will have surplus profit to invest elsewhere. They ask why that money isn’t being invested in the students and insist on the 30% requested.

Students left the matter with the council to consider, saying that they expect justice, fairness and responsibility on the part of the university.