On 24 January, the Chilean Congress approved two laws – the Higher Education Reform Law and the Higher Education Bill – that are expected to have a big impact on higher education in the country. Although the way to ensure quality education for all is still long, these laws are considered an important step forward by the Socialist President Michelle Bachelet, amongst other actors.
Based on the new Higher Education Reform Law, all students belonging to the poorest 60% of families in Chile are now entitled to receive free higher education. This benefit is to be further extended, depending on GDP trends. Fees for each degree will be set by a committee of experts. Students who will be not eligible for free higher education will pay tuition fees within a ceiling set by the government. And HEIs themselves will be able to only set the fees for students belonging to the richest 10% of families.
The only international students impacted by this law are those who have a permanent residency in Chile and have completed high school in Chile. In order to benefit from these changes, however, they will have to meet the general requirements as well (low family income, being accepted into a state-accredited institution, and not holding a previous bachelor's degree from a national or foreign university).
The Higher Education Bill, on the other hand, establishes a sub-secretariat charged with a supervision task. Furthermore, it will make it compulsory for all HEIs to be accredited (including technical schools) as of 2020 and it will penalise those HEIs involved in for-profit operations.
More information (in Spanish) here