Parliament: HSG must save 6 million The Cantonal Parliament debated its Cost-Cutting Package II in the amount of CHF 210 million. The HSG must save an annual 6 million. After the introduction of increased tuition fees, they are subject to a moratorium of at least three years. 8 June 2012. The Parliament of the Canton of St.Gallen debated the Cantonal Government’s proposals concerning Cost-Cutting Package II. It adopted a package which budgets cuts from 2013 and should come into full effect with CHF 210m from 2015 onwards. In line with the Government proposals, Parliament resolved that the University of St.Gallen would have to save an annual CHF 6m until 2015. These cuts are hurtful for the HSG but can be implemented with the help of appropriate measures. It is therefore important that this implementation can take place in the University’s autonomy. The HSG is pleased that the Cantonal Parliament showed foresight with regard to St.Gallen as a centre of education and did not expect the HSG and its students to implement even bigger cuts and pay even higher tuition fees. Measures As already outlined in the information published in early May, all HSG members will have to contribute towards the Canton’s cost-cutting precepts: Savings in teaching: in academia, the newly launched establishment of chairs for the restoration of the teacher/student ratio of 2005 will have to be extended for a longer period. Also, optimisation measures are being examined with regard to courses; poorly attended courses may be merged, for example. In the Administration, budgets will be frozen at the 2012 level until 2016. This means zero growth despite increasing student numbers and the concomitant demand for services. The range of services offered by the Administration will also have to be considered. Investments will be made in the urgently needed provisional teaching premises. These two measures will cut costs of CHF 4m a year. An additional income of a further CHF 2m will be realised by 2015 through an increase in administrative fees (such as enrolment fees; from 2013 at the earliest) and tuition fees (from 2014 at the earliest). The Cantonal Government wants to increase tuition fees in such a way that 50 per cent of the additional revenue will be available for the University to invest in quality. With 83 to 3 votes, the Cantonal Parliament adopted a motion of the Green Liberal/Civil Democratic parliamentary group according to which, after the beginning of the implementation of the increase in tuition fees at the universities of applied science and the University of the Canton of St.Gallen provided by the Cost-Cutting Package II, these fees could not be increased any further for at least three years. Next steps After the Cantonal Parliament’s decision regarding the actual amount of the cost-cutting package as a whole and thus also about the costs to be cut at the University, concrete measures are now being worked out. The University’s Board of Governors is expected to make a decision concerning the actual amount and the structure of the fees by the end of 2012. It remains central for the University Management that the following points are taken into consideration with regard to an increase in fees, in order to find a differentiated solution and to exercise our social responsibility towards students: The consumer-pays-principle should be applied to a greater extent: those who make use of more services, should pay more on a pro rata basis. The principle of compensation for uncovered costs should also be applicable: since in the context of the Intercantonal University Agreement (IUV), there are funding gaps with foreign students and long-term students, these students should make a greater contribution. The changes should be implemented gradually by 2015, i.e. existing students’ trust should be protected. Students should not experience a pronounced increase in tuition fees twice at the same level (i.e. as undergraduates and as students at the Master’s Level). Reduced fee rates or contributions from the relief fund should be possible for hardship cases; this in addition to the existing Loan and Scholarship Fund. Above and beyond this, additional models for degree course funding must be developed. The University Management understands the Canton’s cost-cutting mission. With the renewed increase in tuition fees, however, a threshold has been reached that should not be exceeded. If it were, there would be a danger that studying at the HSG would become possible primarily on the strength of students’ financial background rather than their aptitude, which would mean that the social mix would develop in a one-sided way and today’s HSG culture would deteriorate. In a dialogue with the Student Union The President’s Board has invited the Executive Committee of the Student Union to participate in the implementation of accompanying measures with concrete proposals for a practicable solution that can be supported by the students.