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- CoHE President Özvar Addresses Representatives of Foundation Higher Education Institutions:

“It would be beneficial for foundation higher education institutions to launch an extra discount campaign.”

“We do not want any students to delay their education due to financial difficulties. In this context, we expect our foundation universities to adopt a predictable and stable tuition fee policy.”

“Our foundation higher education institutions should give more support to the accommodation of our students.”

- It was decided at the TOBB Higher Education Council Consultation Meeting that foundation higher education institutions should support students in terms of tuition fees and make efforts to meet their accommodation needs.

August 17, 2022 / Ankara


CoHE President Erol Özvar attended the TOBB Higher Education Council Consultation Meeting held in the Twin Towers of the Union of Chambers and Commodity Exchanges of Türkiye (TOBB) with the representatives of foundation higher education institutions.

In his speech, CoHE President Özvar stated that they met with the representatives of foundation higher education institutions to exchange ideas and evaluate the current situation, and said, “First and foremost, I want to say that, as CoHE, we have recently taken a firm stand on being in close communication with universities on all issues. We are also in constant contact with you, our esteemed stakeholders, who represent foundation universities. We gathered here today to take steps towards making our decisions more applicable, long-term and sustainable.”

He emphasized that there were no unresolvable issues in higher education in Türkiye and said, “What we need to do is determine the right policies and act in cooperation responsibly. As CoHE, we are obliged to produce policies and provide coordination to facilitate the execution of your essential duties.”

"It is your responsibility to operate your universities in accordance with the identity and spirit of the title of 'foundation' and to protect the public interest"

Özvar said that CoHE shared some of its recent works and that they would share some of the incomplete works after they were developed, and continued as follows:

“It is our responsibility to listen to you in all processes and to include you in decision-making processes. As foundation universities, your responsibility is to operate your universities in accordance with the identity and spirit of the title of 'foundation' and to protect the public interest. As you are aware, Türkiye has experienced radical changes and transformations in higher education. Expansion and growth are among the most important transformations. Under the leadership of our Honorable President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, there has been a great democratization in access to higher education in Türkiye. Thus, higher education has ceased to be a service appealing to an elite segment and has been offered to the public in the broadest sense. In summary, there has been a significant increase in the number of higher education institutions after 2006 and there are no provinces without a university. The number of foundation higher education institutions has also increased. Today, the number of our foundation higher education institutions has reached 79, 75 of which are universities.”

CoHE President Özvar underlined that they attached importance to the higher education services offered by foundations and that they supported them in every aspect. He added that they attached particular importance to the number and diversity of foundation higher education institutions to increase the diversity and competition in the higher education system.

“After we removed the requirement for minimum passing score, the number of applications increased by approximately 25 percent this year”

Özvar stated that the abolition of the requirement for minimum passing score in YKS had a strategic importance in terms of data-based planning for Türkiye's future in higher education.

“After we removed the requirement for minimum passing score, the number of applications this year increased by approximately 25% compared to last year. In other words, while 2 million 607 thousand 903 candidates applied last year, the number of candidates increased to 3 million 243 thousand 425 this year. This figure is the biggest proof of how high and vibrant the demand for access to higher education is in Türkiye. Our projections show that this demand may increase even more. Thanks to the decision we made, 850 thousand of around 3 million students whose scores were calculated were placed in face-to-face education programs. Thus, 99% of the quotas of Turkish higher education institutions have been used. This result is quite satisfactory. I know very well from the messages you conveyed to me that you are also pleased with this result,” he commented.

-Foundation Higher Education Institutions-

In his speech, Özvar shared the statistics regarding the students placed in foundation higher education institutions according to the 2022 YKS placement results and stated that around 166,000 students were placed in foundation higher education institutions this year.

He noted that it constituted around 20 percent of the total number of enrolled students and added, “This rate proves that Turkish foundation higher education institutions have reached a critical capacity. More importantly, the share of foundation students among newly-enrolled students in provinces such as Istanbul and Ankara is much higher.”

“We will announce new incentive policies for foundation universities”

CoHE President Özvar said that they would announce new incentive policies and mechanisms for foundation universities that prioritize larger investments in research and development, and quality in education in the upcoming period.

He said that they were planning to deepen the perspective of differentiation in higher education.

“One of the most important agenda items is to increase the participation of international students in the Turkish higher education system with higher quality assurance. As of today, more than 250 thousand international students are studying at Turkish universities. Our goal is to increase this number to 500 thousand within the framework of certain plans and policies. However, there are rules and standards that we must all abide by in order to achieve this goal. I would like to share with you that some new arrangements regarding the student selection and placement process, including the exam, will be made with your participation.

I request our foundation universities wishing to enter the international student area or to be more visible to be extremely careful about the savings and practices that will be disadvantageous for students. We will continue to support our institutions that are focused on quality and satisfaction in international student admission.

According to CoHE’s 2021 Foundation Universities Monitoring Report, the majority (60%) of Turkish foundation universities are located in Istanbul. Istanbul, Ankara and Izmir host approximately 80% of the foundation higher education institutions, which means the geographical distribution of the foundation higher education institutions compared to the population is uneven. This uneven distribution reveals that our foundation universities are insufficient in number to meet the demands from different provinces. For this reason, I would like to state that we consider the geographical distribution when evaluating the demands of these institutions.”

“Thanks to the steps we have taken, the number of unused quotas has decreased to one tenth of last year”

Özvar reiterated that they had introduced some arrangements to overcome the obstacles arising from exams in order to respond to the increasing demand for higher education and said, “As a matter of fact, at the end of this process, the occupancy rate has reached 99% today. While the occupancy rate at foundation universities was 75% last year, it increased to 98% this year. There has been a 23% increase in the occupancy rate of foundation higher education institutions, that is, the number of enrolled students. While approximately 42 thousand quotas were not used last year, the number of unused quotas is 4 thousand this year. Thanks to the steps we have taken, the number of unused quotas has decreased to one tenth of last year.”

He said that there had been many requests from the parents of students regarding the tuition fees announced by the foundation higher education institutions for this year. He stated that they wanted the foundation sector to continue on its way in a stable manner and that they would continue to provide all kinds of support in this direction, as they had done before.

“It would be beneficial for our foundation universities to launch an extra discount campaign”

Özvar stated that they did not want students to disrupt their education due to financial difficulties and addressed the representatives of foundation higher education institutions.

“Even if your students prefer your universities within the framework of the conditions in the Higher Education Programs and Quotas Guide, it would be beneficial for you to launch an extra discount campaign so that the hesitations that may arise due to the tuition fees during enrolment do not adversely affect the number of enrolled students. Thus, the steps you will take will have positive effects in all sectors. We do not want any of our students, who are placed in paid programs in the current economic conditions, to disrupt their education due to financial difficulties. In this context, we expect our foundation universities to adopt a predictable and stable tuition fee policy. I would like to extend my thanks to our foundation universities that offer various discounts to students who are placed in paid programs. I want you to know that we follow the processes in this matter closely. In addition to the steps you will take, we will be more supportive in accelerating the processes and meeting the demands of foundation higher education institutions.

In summary, we consider the increases in the placement rates this year as an opportunity for an improvement in favor of students. This improvement will help keep the number of enrolled students at the maximum level. We expect steps from foundation universities in this regard, and we want them to take on more social responsibility in a way befitting the identity of ‘foundation’.”

“Our foundation higher education institutions should give more support to the accommodation of students”

Özvar evaluated the social services offered by foundation higher education institutions.

“Our foundation higher education institutions should give more support, especially for the accommodation of students. While there are foundation higher education institutions that offer great social opportunities to their students, there are also institutions that have not yet demonstrated their potential in this regard. However, I regret to see that the total dormitory capacity of 79 Turkish foundation higher education institutions is 35 thousand. It is unacceptable for foundation higher education institutions with around 700 thousand students to have a dormitory capacity of 5%. I would like to share with you that we will start to consider the accommodation capacities of students when determining the quotas of foundation higher education institutions. In terms of accommodation, we expect our foundation higher education institutions to create an opportunity for at least 10% of the students in need this year.”

“We expect you to honor your commitments about tuition fees”

CoHE President Özvar emphasized that they expected foundation universities to honor the commitment they made regarding tuition fees last year and that they would follow this closely. Özvar noted that providing higher education services with the understanding of a foundation is first and foremost a great and honorable public responsibility and said, “Training new and young generations who will rule our country in the future do require a great sacrifice. The result of this sacrifice is worth all the effort. I have no doubt that you, as the administrators of foundation universities, will take the necessary steps in these issues by being aware of this responsibility and the sacrifice it requires.”

- Meeting Decision: “Foundation universities will support students in terms of tuition fees and will endeavor to meet their accommodation needs”

In the statement made by TOBB President Rifat Hisarcıklıoğlu after the meeting, it was stated that foundation universities decided to support students who wanted to enroll in foundation higher education institutions in terms of tuition fees within the bounds of possibility by taking into account the extraordinary occupancy and placement rates of the quotas.

Hisarcıklıoğlu also stated that it was decided at the meeting that the accommodation needs of the students to be enrolled would be evaluated by foundation universities and that they would make efforts to resolve the issue.


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