Chilean Lawmakers ratify free of cost university education

Lawmakers of Chile's Congress approve law granting free university education for young Chileans

Photo by: AP
Photo by: AP

A protester is detained by police after a student protest ended in clashes in Santiago, Chile, Tuesday, Dec. 22, 2015. Students marched against what they consider "improvisation" in the government's proposals to free education.

Both houses of Chile's Congress approved a law Wednesday granting free university education to many of the South American country's students.

The measure is a pillar of President Michelle Bachelet's reform promises. It is expected to aid about 200,000 students at state universities. Students attending private institutions are also expected to join with some conditions.

Demands by young Chileans for a free education at the college level have fueled numerous protests in the recent years, and some students say the government's plan doesn't go far enough.

Chile's Constitutional Court had recently blocked a part of Bachelet's proposal to provide free university education to half the country's poorest students.

The court ruled that portions of the plan discriminated against students by forcing them to attend specific institutions to qualify for the benefit. The government then amended the $765 million plan, which is included in its budget for 2016.