After a general meeting, the students decided to extend their occupation of the campus of the Free University of Brussels (ULB) over the weekend.
A new general assembly is scheduled for Monday afternoon. At the Catholic University of Louvain (UCL), students expressed the same desire to extend their occupation this weekend, said Joachim Wathelet, member of the Federation of Francophone Students (FEF). Students are demanding clear commitments in the face of the increase of registration fees for students from outside the European Union (EU).
Some twenty students at the ULB and a dozen from the UCL spent the nights of Thursday and Friday on their respective campuses. The occupation began on Thursday in the early afternoon. Access to the campus of the UCL was prevented to students who wanted to join those already inside.
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 “No increase of registration fees for students from outside the European Union” movement considers this year’s increase in registration fees for students from the removed category for developing countries unacceptable.