Ashraf Shehi (Photo by: Ahram)
There will be no increase in tuition fees for both public and private Egyptian universities, Higher Education Minister Ashraf El-Sheehy said on Saturday.
El-Sheehy, in an interview with DMC TV channel, said public universities would not be allowed to increase tuition fees for new students while private universities would be bound by a ministry mandated "code of honor" to maintain a cap on tuition fees for returning students.
However, private universities would be allowed to increase fees by five percent for new students.
The minister also said that per the code of honor, private universities would not require students to pay in hard, foreign currencies, the costs of which have soared since the country floated the local currency in November.
El-Sheehy said the ministry spoke with two universities who charge around USD 300 or a similar rate in British Pounds for joint international programs. He said these universities agreed not to require hard currency payments this academic year.
In November, Egypt floated its local currency, causing the pound to plummet from a stable 8.88 to the dollar to an average of 18.50 as of Sunday.
The flotation raised fear among parents of university students that tuition fees would increase, especially at private institutions, which usually cost more than their public counterparts.
According to state statistics body CAPMAS, 2.3 million students were enrolled in private and public universities in the academic year 2012/2013; of these students, 22,000 are enrolled in more than 20 private universities.