As students nationwide wait to hear whether the current semester will be cancelled as a result of the ongoing senior university lecturers strike - a move that would delay their studies as well as cost the economy millions of shekels - the National Student Union has taken action. NSU Chairman Itai Shonshine told the Jerusalem Post on Thursday that the union has sent letters to all the country's professional unions, urging them to call on Prime Minister Ehud Olmert to intervene and stop the lecturers' strike. Shonshine also said that the students plan to file a petition demanding a tuition refund. Earlier, Finance Ministry representatives threatened to redirect the budgets allocated for universities to private colleges unless an agreement was reached between the two sides, Army Radio reported. According to the plan, private colleges will receive the budgets designated for general studies, while universities will continue to receive the budgets for research. Education Minister Yuli Tamir angrily criticized the Finance Ministry on Thursday for interfering with the allocation of the Higher Education budget. "Any attempt to strengthen the private education on the expense of public education is deplorable and I will have no part in it," she said. Meetings which were held between Education Ministry and Finance Ministry representatives Wednesday night ended without an agreement. Bar-Ilan University President Moshe Kaveh told Army Radio that if senior lecturers resume their teaching they "will make an effort to continue the semester. We are reaching our last chance to hold this semester." "In no other country has this happened before. Not only the students are being hurt, [but] there is complete chaos [as well]," he added.