Education minister: Higher education tuition will not increase

Education Minister Yuli Tamir (Labor) tried to calm university students on Monday, saying tuition would not be increased despite Sunday night's cabinet decision to support the treasury's 2009 budget proposal, which includes a significant cut to the education budget. The 2009 budget approved by the cabinet includes a 20 percent cut in tuition refunds, which is smaller than the 26% cut recommended by the Winograd Committee on higher education. The cut would mean that tuition will be higher, but Tamir notified the students' union that Prime Minister Ehud Olmert intends to present a proposal to freeze the tuition to be decided by the government. Tamir issued a statement to student organizations, saying that Sunday's decision would not be implemented before another debate was held to deal with higher education tuition. Following pressure exerted by student organizations, the cabinet agreed to cancel the clause in the budget according to which tuition would be raised differentially for students of law, business and accounting. Meanwhile, universities and colleges will not collect the tuition for the upcoming academic year.