Following a Thursday meeting with rectors of the country’s federally funded universities, Secretary of Higher Education Augusto Barrera announced that university funding will remain at current levels through 2017 and face smaller cuts for 2018.
The agreement followed release of the 2017-2018 federal budget that cut university funding by 15%. In Thursday’s meeting, Barrera explained that the proposed financing was based on a percentage formula of VAT revenue that had not been analyzed before the budget was released. VAT receipts dropped in the first half of 2017 from 2016 levels.
University of Cuenca rector Pablo Vanegas, said he was satisfied with the government’s response to a potential funding crisis. “In addition to Secretary Barrera, representatives of the Ministry of Finance attended the meeting and I believe we all have much better idea of the issues we face,” he said. “The agreement requires a series of workshops to study institutional needs and from this universities will be directly involved in finding cost savings that have the least negative impact on our core missions.”
Vanegas said the agreement means that the University of Cuenca will not lose $8.7 million earmarked to be cut in the original budget.