Emmanuel Macron’s comments last week created confusion. This Tuesday, the Minister of Higher Education, Frédérique Vidal, assured the National Assembly that there would be no increase in tuition fees in universities.
“What the President of the Republic said is very clear, we could not stay in a model where three conditions coexisted: almost free education, the fact that a third of the students are scholarship holders and yet we attend a very great precariousness of the students, and the fact that the university is almost entirely financed by public funds”, declared Vidal, questioned during the session of the questions to the government at the National Assembly, questioned by the rebellious deputy Alexis Corbière .
She assured that Emmanuel Macron had “not spoken for a second about increasing tuition fees” during his speech last week in which he called for “systemic” reform of universities. “You invented the fact that the President of the Republic said that registration fees were going to increase. Where did you read and hear this? (…) This was never pronounced, on the other hand I can tell you what we have done, concretely: three years that we freeze the registration fees for all students, three years that we freeze the rents of Crous, three years that we have upgraded scholarships based on social criteria. »
“We can’t stay in a system…”
Less than three months before the presidential election, Emmanuel Macron caused a stir last Thursday during the closing by videoconference of the Congress of the Conference of University Presidents. According to him, France will not be able “to remain permanently in a system where higher education has no price for almost all students, where a third of students are considered to be scholarship holders and where, however, we have so many student precariousness , and a difficulty in financing a model much more financed by public money than anywhere in the world”.
Emmanuel Macron “did not speak for a second about increasing registration fees”, repeated Minister Vidal to another question from ex-LREM MP Frédérique Dumas. “It offers more support for students, more possibilities for student life, better consideration of their health, an ability to be followed by psychologists, more continuing education, more lifelong training , that we work on programs that lead the majority of young people to employment”.
This sentence by Emmanuel Macron had been widely criticized by declared presidential competitors. The candidate of the right, Valérie Pécresse had thus spoken of a “provocation”. “When I was Minister of Universities, there was reform and means, but for five years, there has been neither reform nor means”, accused the president of the Ile-de-France region.