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UCy says urgently needs injection of state cash

university of cyprus
File photo: The University of Cyprus

The University of Cyprus (UCy) will be forced to halt payments if its supplementary budget is not passed, rector Tassos Christofides said on Friday.

During a visit by the house education committee to the campus, Christofides requested that they promote the supplementary budget of the university for a vote in parliament, before the legislative body breaks for summer holidays, as operational costs have risen.

He said that the in previous months, the budget was spent on increased operational costs at the university including the restoration of salaries that had been slashed, the inclusion of the cost-of-living-allowance (CoLa) for staff, inflation, and €25 million spent on funding the medical school.

He added that in previous years they used the university’s reserves to cover operational needs, since the stipend was not enough, but now this has been exhausted.

Meanwhile, also speaking at the meeting, the Vice Chair of the UCy Council, Androulla Vassiliou stated that the fees paid by the state for each student in the form of state sponsorship have remained at the same level since 1992, despite the growth of the university.

The rector clarified that the state gives €3,417 for each student, which is the tuition amount as calculated in 1992, while the actual costs for each student today are estimated at €6,500.

Vassiliou noted that the university needs an injection of funding from the state.

Vice-Rector of International Relations, Finance and Administration Professor Ioannis Yapintzakis stated that the supplementary budget is extremely important to continue the normal operation of the university, otherwise “we risk that tenders cannot be secured.”

In addition, he said that for 2024 the university needs more funding.

“If it does not have the appropriate financial support in ’24, this whole edifice that has been built in the previous years will collapse,” he said.

As an example, he said that the university’s expenses for electricity and heating in 2021 were €3.5 million, while in 2023 it is expected to be €8 million.

The committee also heard about the needs to offer English-language programmes at the university to meet the demands of students and keep up with the competition of other universities in Cyprus that offer English language programmes.

The issue of English-language programs was also touched upon by the Vice-Chancellor for Academic Affairs Professor Eleni-Tatiani Synodinou, who participated in the meeting online, noting that all universities in Cyprus and Europe offer English-language programs, but the University of Cyprus remains bound by its regulations.

Deputy Chairman of the Education Committee Diko MP Chrysanthos Savvides, Disy MP Yiorgos Karoulas and Prodromos Alabritis and Akel MP Christos Christofias attended the meeting from the house education committee.

They all said that the problems will be looked at, and that the budget is being examined.

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