A Diploma Obtained in Ljubljana Is Seven Times More Expensive than in Maribor
The statistics of prices for education services and the situation described in this article mainly concern the Slovene students, but it could be also interesting for foreign applicants and students. Today the prices of general services mentioned in this material are urgent for them as well.
The Student Organization of Slovenia: “This difference shows that the University of Ljubljana has a good appetite for obtaining funds from students.”
Ljubljana. Students gained knowledge in one of the three Slovenian public universities with free tuition as noted by the competent persons. They want to complete the training several years after the last passed final exams, while not having the student status. To this end, they have to pay EUR 700 in the University of Ljubljana, while in Maribor this fee will be only EUR 100.
In the coming months, more students than in previous years will complete their training. Revision of the Higher Education Act adopted more than 12 years ago in fact stipulates that students of the study programs, which are conducted according to the old (not Bologna) standards, can obtain a Bachelor’s, Master’s or PhD diploma only until the end of September. There will be no other possibility. Without the student status, they have to pay for the preparation and defence of their diplomas. In the departments of the University of Ljubljana, it will cost more than EUR 620, at the University of Primorska — EUR 410, while at the University of Maribor the diploma defence for the former full-time students is free of charge. It only costs them EUR 78 to adopt the theme of the diploma.
Similarly, the price differs for the mandatory declaration of continuing education. If a person has not had student status for more than two years, in Ljubljana, it has to pay EUR 85, at the University of Primorska — EUR 47. If a person has not had student status for more than ten years, the price will be higher: in Ljubljana — EUR 168, and at the University of Primorska — as much as EUR 233. In Maribor, the application will cost just about EUR 18, and it will be obligatory only for those who interrupted studies before entering the final year of training.
Why do prices differ so much in the public universities, which are funded from the budget? To receive a diploma, a person without student status will have to pay seven times more in Ljubljana, and three times more at the University of Primorska than in Maribor.
Is this the fault of head count?
“Each university is preparing price lists independently.” This is the first sentence of Janez Hribar’s answer, the Chairman of the Administrative Council of the University of Maribor. Price lists are based on proposals from departments and are ultimately approved by the Administrative Council. “With the consent of student councils of the university departments,” Hribar adds. We wanted to receive a reaction to this response from the head of the student council of the University of Ljubljana, Jan Kukovc, but within a week he did not answer to the Delo reporters.
The costs associated with the completion of studies on the old (before Bologna) programs, according to Janez Hribar, “are established based on the number of employees involved in the process of completing training.” How many employees in the departments of the University of Ljubljana are particularly involved in this process? “It depends on a department and its curriculum (study program); on the passed and non-passed academic standards; on the conditions of completing studies; and on the status of diploma. Besides, it will depend on the conditions of assessing a student by the department bodies, on fixation of the amended assessments, signatures of performers or successor (in the case of retirement, death, etc.),” the representatives of the University told. However, they did not voice any specific figures.
Stimulating regular standard delivery
The Delo reporters did not manage to get specific figures at the University of Primorska as well, so they were unable to find out why the number of employees involved in the process of completing student training differs that much depending on the university. However, according to the representatives of the University of Primorska, its price list was made up taking into account the average cost of labour and goods for providing a particular service.
The situation is different at the University of Maribor that started charging students for registration of the final paper theme only in October 2014. As already mentioned, this service costs EUR 78, which is several times less than the cost for diploma defence at the University of Ljubljana and at the University of Primorska. The aim of this measure was, according to the University staff, to encourage students studying within the Bologna system to deliver standards on regular basis. So that they could register the theme of diploma in that semester, in which they have time for working on diploma according to their curriculum. On the other hand, these costs now refer to the former students as well, who studied on the old (before Bologna) programs. However, this revenue item of education institutions is intended to cover the administrative work only, and “as such this income is symbolic and does not reflect the real costs incurred by a faculty due to the participation of its members in the process of completing students training.”
At the same time, when the University of Maribor was determining the price, it meant that tutoring was not just the responsibility of teachers, and as such, it was not additionally payable for the full-time study programs. Yet, its representatives recognize that now the academic staff is having troubles due to the increased load.
Does every department charge fees?
“The price lists are provided for informational purposes only,” Janez Hribar said. “I can confidently say that the Faculty of Biotechnology does not charge completely all costs. With regard to other departments, their data need additional inspection.” The Delo reporters talked to the representatives of all faculties asking them about the costs associated with the completion of a bachelor’s degree program. However, none of the faculties, the programs of which must be completed with a diploma defence, confirmed its free of charge nature.
What does the student organization say?
According to the representatives of the Student Organization of Slovenia (ŠOS), this difference shows that “the University of Ljubljana has a good appetite for obtaining funds from students, which unfortunately has become a regular practice.” For example, only the University of Ljubljana charges fee for a higher standard, having significantly increased payment for admission, exams, etc. At the same time, the ŠOS pays attention to the hidden costs of an externally free higher education, which, in their opinion, does not exist any longer.
According to the Eurostudent 2013 research, the average costs of students and their families, associated with studies only, make up a little less than a hundred euros per month. The costs, in particular, cover the registration fee at the beginning of academic year, student ID card and badge, certificates and other official documents, payment for field practice and other exercises, the cost of materials, required professional tours and insurance, additional medical services (check-ups and vaccinations) in certain areas of study.
Is it permissible to have such a difference in prices between the public universities according to the Ministry of Education, Science and Sports (MIZŠ)?
On this issue the Ministry did not give a specific answer, but wrote that the law does not provide for the amount of specific costs of universities, and that a price list is to be determined by each university separately. At the same time, in accordance with the regulations, universities are obliged to take into account the specific elements for the calculation of costs, such as performers salaries, payment of fixed official salaries, fixed costs (electricity, water), expenditures for research work of teachers, depreciation of equipment, material costs (literature and the expenses for preparing a diploma project) and the like.
“When calculating the costs, the expenses, for which funds are allocated from the state budget and other target sources, should not be taken into account,” the representative of the Ministry said.
That is why it would be interesting to know on the basis of what specific costs, the diploma defence fee for former full-time students at the University of Ljubljana is seven times higher than in Maribor?