Fees for compulsory Master's degrees will drop to level of Bachelor's degrees in three years
The measure agreed between the regions and the Spanish government could affect 44,000 students
BarcelonaThe average fees of compulsory master's degrees (i.e., those that qualify students for certain professions, such as lawyers, secondary school teachers and psychologists) will fall to the same level as university degrees by the end of the 2022-23 academic year at the latest throughout Spain. The measure, announced on Monday by the Ministry of Universities with the agreement of all the regions except Madrid, means that fees paid by students enrolled in one of these master's in Catalonia will drop from €1,800 to about €1,100 per year. This come on the back of a 30% reduction in university fees introduced this year. This will translate into a €2.5m shortfall in Catalonia, with the Generalitat to foot the bill; the overall cost of the measure is estimated at €10.5m in the State.
According to the ministry, the measure must serve to "democratise access to the university system" and reduce "the huge gap" in cost between bachelor's and master's degrees. Now, a Bachelor's degree ECTS costs €17.18 (about €1,030 a year) and a compulsory Master's degree ECTS costs €22.48 (€1,300, approximately, per year). In other words, students on qualifying master's degrees, which normally last one year, would save around 300 euros on average. The Spanish government estimates that some 44,000 students could benefit from this measure. For the time being, this will not affect other masters, which make up most of the offer majority and are usually more expensive.
Madrid is against what it considers a "coffee for everyone"
For the Secretary of Universities and Research, the measure is in line with what had already been announced in Catalonia and with the agreements of the National Pact for the Knowledge Society. On the other hand, Madrid, facing an almost €4m bill, will be the hardest hit and remains opposed to the measure, which it considers "mistaken" and a "coffee for everyone". Even so, Madrid's rejection will not have any effect, because the community will have to comply with the agreements made at the General Conference on University Policy and, therefore, will have to lower the prices of master's degrees even if it is not in favor. The measure does not affect Galicia, Castilla-La Mancha and the Canary Islands, which already have master's degree fees at the same level as bachelor's degrees.