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Correct scholarship Policy

The aid system improves academic performance but seriously affects equity

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Correct scholarship Policy

Five years after reform of scholarship system under mandate of Minister José Ignacio Wert, some indicators show that new model encourages academic performance, which is very positive, but seriously affects equality of Opportunities and fairness. It has been confirmed what many experts predicted. The annual report of Conference of Rectors of Spanish universities notes that, although number of students with scholarships has increased, amount of aid has been reduced by an average of 483 euros. In particular it has gone from 2,231 euros per course in 2011 to 1,748 in 2015, ie, 23.4% less. Counting amount of tuition free, which is different according to studies and territory where university is located, total expenditure for each scholarship has fallen from 3,256 euros to 2,562. This cut has serious effects on fairness. Its social impact is greater because it coincided with a few years in which family income of segment of most disadvantaged population has fallen as a result of high unemployment rate, precariousness of work and devaluation of salaries.

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The fact that a minimum of 5.5 to 6.5 has been required has allowed average yield of scholarship students to have increased: number of credits approved has been in 2016 a 23% higher than 2008. It must be concluded that this has been case, but impact that se requirements have on fairness should also be assessed. The requirement for a higher-than-approved note becomes a barrier for many young people whose academic results are negatively conditioned by adverse socioeconomic circumstances. The rectors estimate that 70,000 potential beneficiaries have not been able to study for requirements of new system. In fact, 7% of 220,000 new students who enroll do not reach a 5.5 note on ir record and 15% do not reach 6.5.

The result is that while in OECD countries one in three students study with scholarships, in Spain only one in four receives help. It must also be taken into account that Spain is among countries with highest university rates. In fact, only five countries have higher tuition prices in Europe.

Scholarship policy is one of most important instruments for redistributing wealth, but above all it is an essential tool to ensure equal opportunities. The time has come for a rigorous assessment of results of reform both in terms of efficiency and equity. and urgently correct some organisational misalignments that in addition to an unnecessary difficulty for all scholars, end up affecting also to a greater extent to most disadvantaged because it can dissuade m from initiating university studies. In particular, fact that student does not know in many cases if he has obtained aid or amount of it until well entered course. This particularly affects most vulnerable families, who do not have resources to advance money y will n receive from scholarship. It would be better for note to be taken into account outside previous course.

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