Thousands of students in Costa Rica may have to opt of continuing their education as they could run out of options to finance their studies due to cuts in the budget of the Comisión Nacional de Préstamos para la Educación (CONAPE).
The National Education Loan program is jeopardy with the budget cuts of the last couple of years and more coming for 2012. Since 2008 the institution has seen a cut of some ¢15 billion colones, forcing cuts to student loans.
Since its inception the CONAPE has provided some 85.000 student loans. Currently there are 15.000 receiving payments, while 20.000 are in the process of paying back their loan.
CONAPE officials say that if the rate of loan applications continue at the current pace, the institution will be out of money by the middle of the year, meaning up to 4.000 students could be without funding for their higher education studies.The CONAPE rose from the “U for all” program, allowing all Costa Ricans access to higher education.
To make the situation aware to legislators, the CONAPE is asking students to visit their San Pedro offices to sign a letter that will be delivered to lawmakers discussing budget cuts. The CONAPE assures that the 15.000 students who are currently receiving money to study will not be affected by the budget cuts.