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A new beginning for Bulgaria’s state universities

The Bulgarian Education Minister Daniel Valchev recently announced that as of 1 October 2007, state-owned universities and colleges in Bulgaria will have the liberty of determining their own tuition fees. Though this announcement is progressive, university heads will not have extensive liberty in this matter as the state will determine a maximum tuition bar that cannot be overstepped. According to the new strategy for developing higher education in Bulgaria, the tuition fee shouldn't be more than 30% of the amount needed to support a student for a year. In 2006, this amount was € 117.36, meaning that the maximum tuition fee in state universities cannot exceed €352.135 per semester. The Bulgarian education development strategy also aims to increase state subsidiaries for education. This is primarily a response to the EU requirement of unified tuition fees for Bulgarian and EU students. Now that Bulgaria has acceded, students from the EU member states must pay the same tuition fees at Bulgarian universities as their Bulgarian counterparts, implying a financial loss for universities who once charged more for all foreign students. In response, universities are now insisting on the re-introduction of paid education in Bulgaria. Bulgaria in EU