Monday, 24 April 2017
The occupation by students of the campuses of the Free University of Brussels (ULB) and the Catholic University of Louvain (UCL) has been extended to Monday to protest against the increase of entrance fees for students from countries outside the European Union. At the end of a general assembly held at noon, ULB students decided to continue the blockade of their campus and, without the involvement of the rector, to spend the night between Monday to Tuesday on the campus. The entrance was barricaded throughout this time, blocking access to the staff. Without too much hope of a favorable result, the student representatives will ask to put the item on the agenda of the academic council at 16:00. A rally of support has also been organised around this meeting. Some fifty students took turns during the weekend and fifteen of them slept on the campus on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
At UCL, some students managed to return to the campus during the weekend, bringing their number to ten. The relay is not normally allowed and fatigue was felt. Access to the staff was not blocked. A support rally was held starting at 1:30 pm. The students will welcome the members of the academic council at 2:30 pm. The decision whether to extend the occupation will be taken at the end of the meeting.
The modification of the decree “Nationality” for higher education, passed on 16th June this year, stipulates that the ARES (Academy of Research and Higher Education) is now free to require up to 15 times the normal entry fees from students from outside the European Union, i.e. 12,525 euros. On March 24th, ARES voted to keep the maximum fee for the academic years of 2017-2018 at 4.175 euros (5 times the normal fee). Since the start of 2016-2017, ARES has eliminated the intermediate category of developing countries, which had registration fees reduced to 2,758 euros. Countries recognised as less advanced by the United Nations, or those with which the Walloon – Brussels Federation have concluded special agreements, continue to be exempt from increased registration fees and pay a normal fee of € 835.
The Brussels Times