Armenian University students participated in the survey conducted by the S.D. Hunchakian “Sarkis Dkhrouni” Student and Youth Union regarding the socio-economic situation of the students and the increases in academic fees. The survey was carried out at the Yerevan State University, Architectural State University, Yerevan State University of Economics and Komitas State Conservatory at the end of October and beginning of November 2013.
Out of the participants, 10 percent said they don’t pay tuition, 90 percent said they pay for education, and 2-3 percent said they have discounted tuition fees.
Eighty percent of the students not paying tuition mentioned that they won’t continue their studies, if they have to pay. The average budget of the families of the students who participated in the survey was less than 80,000 drams. Moreover, the expenses for education made up 50-60,000 drams a month. Only 0.1 percent of the students surveyed stated that they consider their families part of the upper economic class, the rest considered their families to be in the medium to lower income class of society.
Only 30 percent of the participants said they manage to pay their tuition during the semester and throughout the year with their salaries. Seventy percent of the participants said they would ask for loans from their relatives abroad and would rarely apply for loans.
“How can these families’ children receive an education, when fee increases are taking place without taking into account the spending ability of these families? They promised us that fee increases account for an increase in instructor’s salaries and improve the overall education system, but neither was done. This is yet another reason for emigration,” stated “Sarkis Dkhrouni” Student and Youth Union Chairman, Varazdat Yeghiazaryan at a press conference detailing the statistics.
When asked what steps should be taken to solve the fee increase problem? Yeghiazaryan stated, “Either the fees should not be increased, or at the very least the RA Government should subsidize students’ tuitions.” Yeghiazaryan disclosed that the Union suggests lowering the tuition by 50 percent for students in the provinces, children with a single parent and the students from socially disadvantaged families, regardless of whether they have passed their exams or not.
“Lecturers and students might like or dislike each other, and this can have an impact on the student’s grade. That’s why there is no need to take the fact that the student has passed or failed an exam into account. We’ll lead the struggle and let you know how we’re going to do it. This press conference is just the first step in our struggle,” Yeghiazaryan said.