The government proposed Thursday that the percentage of the gross domestic product (GDP) determined for public universities that benefit from the Special Fund for Higher Education (FEES) will be 1.453% in 2017 and 2018.

This percentage would be the same that was assigned to the universities for 2016, when in 2015 it was determined that the amount they would receive would be 440,773 million colones, allocated through the regular budget.

The approach of the government is that during the years 2017 and 2018, the amount of GDP allocated to the public universities remain at 1.453% of the GDP, then increase in 2019 to 1.477%, and reach the 1.5% in the year 2015 that the Political Constitution mandates.

The amount of money that will be allocated for 2017 is not clear, especially since the Central Bank of Costa Rica recently updated the methodology to calculate GDP. The new methodology showed that during 2015 Costa Rican production was better than what was initially reported, but less than what was estimated.

That year, GDP projected by the Central Bank (with which was the basis for calculating the FEES) was 28,784,000 million colones. However, reported initially was 25,629 billion colones and later, with the update in methodology, it was 28,279,000 million colones.

For 2016, using the old methodology, the Central Bank projected GDP would be 27,437,000 million colones. With the new way of doing the calculation, the projection is approximately 30,375 billion colones.

For 2017, the initial projection of GDP was 29,644 billion colones, but is now 32,855 billion.

The increase in money for FEES will depend on if the Committee uses the first or second estimate given by the Central Bank.

The Committee that determines the amount of FEES is composed of the National Council of Rectors (CONARE) and the Ministries of Finance, Science and Technology, and Planning and Education.