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Med students furious over coming fee hike

Medical students are up in arms about a tuition hike that would double costs and prevent some from gaining their degree, they told the Post yesterday.

The University of Health Sciences announced Friday that students wishing to pursue a specialty beyond the general medical degree would now have to pay $3,000 a year instead of $1,500. The fee for the entrance exam determining whether students with a bachelor’s degree can be admitted into the general or specialised medicine programs will also be doubled, from $25 to $50, the statement said.

Over 100 outraged students thumbprinted a petition in response to the announcement.

“Most of the students are not able to afford the new fee set,” the students’ petition states. Nearly 400 medical students who were preparing to enter into a two- or four-year specialisation track will no longer be able to apply if the new and unaffordable price tag goes into effect, a 23-year-old student who wished to remain anonymous said.

Students who gathered on their campus to protest the tuition hike yesterday were met by the university rector who tried to pacify their concerns.

“He told us that the price before was subsidised by financial support from France, and that the [Cambodian] government used to pay for electricity and water for the university,” the anonymous student said.

After the meeting yesterday, university rector Saphonn Vonthanak told the students that he would relay their concerns to other officials at the school and make an announcement today on whether any compromise could be reached.

But if the escalated fees remain in place, students said they will stage protests.

Vonthanak did not return requests for comment, and administrative assistants at the school hung up on reporters.

Government spokesman Phay Siphan declined to comment on what he said was an “internal school affair”.

French Embassy spokesman Nicolas Baudouin said that France “does not support directly the operating budget” of the school, but rather “continues to support specific and predefined training activities”.

ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY LAIGNEE BARRON

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