…15% + 10% + 10% over three yearsThe University of Guyana (UG) Council has approved a 15 per cent increase in tuition fees, the first step in its move to see an overall 35 per cent tuition increase over a three-year period.UG announced on Thursday that following intense discussion, the March 30 extraordinary meeting of the Council, chaired by Chancellor Eon Nigel Harris, voted to increase tuition fees.The decision, it said, came following an examination of the University’s projected budget deficit, the pressing needs of the institution, and projected alternative income streams. Comparative data on private high schools and Universities in Guyana and the Caribbean Region were also examined and the tuition and fees at all the institutions examined were found to be several times higher than those of UG.The University stated that even with the “unavoidable adjustments”, fees at the institution will still be comparatively lower.According to UG, the Council’s decision will be applied to tuition fees for all programmes and for both continuing students and new students for the 2017-2018 academic year. However, it said input from the Student Society was considered, leading to an incremental rollout, where continuing students will now pay an increase of 15 per cent (about $2500 a month), and new students will be required to pay 18 per cent (about $3000 a month).At the same meeting also, the Council reportedly decided to incrementally increase the tuition fee by 10 per cent for the 2018-2019 academic year for all students, and by a further 10 per cent for all students for 2019-2020.Meanwhile, while this decision for increased tuition has been made, the University is still battling with its senior staff with regard to negotiations for salary increase.At the same meeting, the Council also authorised the UG Administration to commence negotiations with the two unions at the tertiary institution for remuneration packages based on what the University of Guyana could afford. The Council said it also received clarification from the Finance Ministry that the claim by the unions that the Government of Guyana had provided a fixed sum of money for salaries, which would amount to a 15 per cent salary increase, was inaccurate.In this context, the UG Administration will continue to analyse the University’s budget to determine the fullest possible extent of affordability. It also was stressed that staff performance will be a key factor in determining salaries and benefits, whether monetary or non-monetary.