In a letter addressed to US Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos, Hungarian Minister of Human Capacities Zoltán Balog thanked Secretary DeVos for her acknowledgment of the amendment to Hungary’s Act on Higher Education and for once again clarifying that individual US states have the right to enter into direct negotiations with the Hungarian government.

In a letter from the US Secretary of Education dated June 15, Betsy Devos thanked Minister Balog for the information Hungary provided concerning the Amendment to Act on Higher Education passed by the Hungarian National Assembly. Secretary DeVos wrote that she was aware that the new regulations also affect a number of institutions of higher education with links to the United States.

“Education is primarily the responsibility of federal states and local authorities,” explained Secretary DeVos in her letter. "The U.S. 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 U.S. Secretary of Education.

The Secretary of Education indicated to the Hungarian Government that, because issues relating to the legal status of most institutions of higher education and their right to issue diplomas does not fall under federal jurisdiction, state-level authorities are suitable partners for negotiating such agreements.

In his reply on Wednesday, June 21, Minister Balog thanked US Secretary of Education for the information and indicated that the Hungarian Government is already in negotiations with officials from the states of Maryland, Massachusetts and New York. Hungary previously named Prime Ministerial Commissioner Kristóf Altusz as US chief negotiator.

Minister Balog closed by expressing his hope that “this complicated legal issue can be resolved to everyone’s mutual satisfaction at the earliest opportunity in view of the fact that American institutions of higher education operating legally in Hungary help reinforce Hungarian-American relations.”

(Cabinet Office of the Prime Minister/MTI)