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Jun 22, 2017

US secretary of education: agreement on CEU should be discussed with state-level authorities

Zoltán Balog welcomed the US secretary’s acknowledgement of the changes in Hungarian regulations and said that Hungarian officials have already taken up contact with the states of Maryland, Massachusetts and New York

The US secretary of education has clearly confirmed in a letter sent to the Hungarian Human Resources minister that the United States has no authority or intention to enter into negotiations on the operation of Central European University or other universities in Hungary.

According to MTI, Betsy DeVos expressed appreciation for the information Zoltán Balog provided her in relation to the amendment of the law and the status of CEU. She also took note of the other higher education institutions with US ties that might be affected by the amendment. However, she clearly insisted that education is a state and local issue in the USA.

The secretary wrote in her letter that “the US higher education institutions engaged in higher education activities in Hungary were all chartered or authorized by a competent state-level authority and are accredited by a US-based accreditor recognized by the US Secretary of Education.”

Regarding the stipulation in the amendment requiring that an interstate agreement be signed before foreign universities may award degrees in Hungary, DeVos wrote that the feasibility of such agreements needed to be discussed with state-level authorities.

Hungary tightened rules governing the operations of foreign universities in the country in April. The amendment ”LEX CEU” seen by critics as an attack on the George Soros-funded CEU, stipulates that to issue degrees in Hungary, foreign-registered universities have to undertake education in their home countries or have an interstate agreement sanctioning their activities in Hungary.

Zoltán Balog welcomed the US secretary’s acknowledgement of the changes in Hungarian regulations and said that Hungarian officials have already taken up contact with the states of Maryland, Massachusetts and New York. “We hope that the negotiating parties will come to a mutually satisfying resolution concerning this complex legal issue," he said.