The student government at the main campus of the University of Puerto Rico has requested a meeting with the island’s government about a possible budget cut at UPR.
The request for talks with Gov. Alejandro Garcia Padilla is to find out first hand whether the administation plans to cut up to $150 million from the next budget for Puerto Rico’s largest institution of higher education, student government president Christian Arvelo told Efe Monday.
“We’re echoing the call from other student organizations to deal with the possible cuts - we have no idea how much they would be,” Arvelo said. “We want to know that for certain and how it will affect” educational standards.
Arvelo was referring to the organizations that make up the National Student Confederation, which unites representatives from the 11 UPR campuses and which approved a strike on April 23 to protest a possible hike in tuition.
Arvelo trusts that the meeting will take place before Garcia Padilla presents the budget for the new fiscal year, which begins July 1.
The student initiative follows last month’s decision by the UPR board not to extend a moratorium on tuition hikes.
Total enrollment at UPR has decreased gradually in recent years and now stands at 57,774.
The system employs 4,060 instructors and 6,228 administrators and support staff.
UPR is being affected by Garcia Padilla’s plan to reduce public sector spending with the aim of dealing with the U.S. commonwealth’s large budget deficit and $70 billion debt.
Puerto Rico is in its eighth year of recession and suffers from 15.4 percent unemployment. Annual per capita income on the island is roughly $15,200, half the level of Mississippi, the poorest U.S. state.