Coronavirus, Spain: via the merit requirement and raised the income threshold to access scholarships. Beneficiaries will double


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The Spanish government has decided to double the number of university students who will be able to take advantage of one full scholarship with the structural reform of the aid system which presented on Tuesday and approved on Saturday. Among the main innovations offered by the ministries of education and universities there will in fact beelimination of academic requirements and the growth of minimum income thresholds family who had established the former Minister of Popular, José Ignacio Wert.

The average of 6.5 that has been required for scholarships for eight years (thanks to the selection criteria introduced by the Wert maneuver, which removed the scholarship even from those who had previously obtained it) leaves 45 thousand students without the help that would fall to them if only income was taken into consideration.

These new measures, together with others, have been designed to increase the number of people who will benefit from the full scholarship which, according to the executive, will increase from 89,376 current beneficiaries to 175945. Specifically, financial support consists in the payment of registration fees plus a fixed amount of 1,600 euros per year (and another 1,500 euros for students who live outside their place of residence). The government’s idea is that the provision will come into force as early as next year with a 22% increase in investment for scholarships: 1,900 million euros that will reach more than 600,000 students.

The system contemplates three thresholds within which household incomes must fall and which allow access to various aids. Only threshold 1, the lowest, gives access to a full scholarship, which includes the payment of the freshman, a fixed amount and another variable.

At the end of April 2020, on the Creup (the Coordination of the Representatives of the Students of the Public Universities) was denounced with an official communication such as, with the beginning of the health crisis deriving from the COVID-19, families with college students feared for their future. “Thousands of students will have to drop out of university if the criteria for accessing scholarships and fees are not changed “, reads the note of April 28, 2020.

After the government-submitted reform, the students said they “appreciated the measures announced in the change of scholarship setting – he told Laura Alcaide Sánchez, Director of Communication for Creup – These are interventions that we have been calling for since the selection criteria have changed. Scholarships are the materialization of the right to education, must be a subjective right and not an academic performance reward. Changing the thresholds and lowering the academic requirements seem a good starting point. ”

Martí Moreno, President of the Student Council of the University of the Balearic Islands, contacted by takes a position of “Moderate optimism” about the reforms in question. “Even so there will be students who need help and will be left without a scholarship. Another necessary change is that related tofacilitation of the payment process of the scholarship. You can’t wait to know something until December and, if you don’t get the scholarship, you have to pay the freshman in March. ”

The director of communication for Creup also said the same opinion: “We are happy that they have listened to the proposals we have made in recent years, but we also recommend caution. This is a positive advance, but without the necessary continuity it will not be enough to make scholarships a subjective right. We are very concerned about the situation caused by pandemic may affect the right to study. In order to apply for the scholarship, the 2019 income is taken into account which absolutely does not reflect the current situation of Spanish families “.

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