Greek citizens wishing to enroll in foreign university affiliates that will be established in the country – assuming a forthcoming draft bill is ratified by Parliament – will be required to first sit nationwide college entry exams.

The latter are held every late May and early June, with most of the candidates being high school seniors seeking to enter one of the myriad of universities and colleges in Greece, although any adult can take the admissions exams.

Education Minister Kyriakos Pierrakakis made the statement on Wednesday, as opposition continues in the country to the prospect of allowing state recognition of non-state, non-profit tertiary institutions operating on Greek territory.

Although numerous private higher education institutions and colleges currently operate in Greece, degrees, diplomas and certificates bestowed by the latter are, for the most part, not recognized by the Greek state. Greece is among the few, if not the only western state where non-state, non-profit universities operating on its territory face a constitutional obstacle preventing their recognition.

Protests and sit-ins at several campuses have taken place this month around Greece, mostly staged by militant leftist-affiliated college student groups, educators’ unions but also by self-styled anarchists and anti-state groupings.

Pierrakakis added that applicants for such non-profit, non-state institutions would also have to meet “some minimum pre-requisites in order to secure a spot”, along with admissions criteria set by the affiliate’s parent university.

He said the draft bill is expected to be unveiled for public debate and consultation on Wednesday.

The minister also cited, possibly for the first time, the minimum investment required for establishing such an affiliate, namely, two million euros for a university branch, along with 500,000 each for a minimum of three faculty departments and another half million euros for buildings and infrastructure. One exception will be for the “top 20” universities based on global rankings, which will have the option of establishing an affiliate with a single department.

Pierrakakis promised that the government will enact the strictest criteria in Europe, with oversight granted to the public National Authority for Higher Education. Affiliated colleges will be legal entities of the overseas parent university, with the latter deciding on the curriculum.

Faculty members of state universities will not be allowed to hold employment at non-state institutions.