The Government will increase the amount allocated to scholarships by 386 million euros, representing a 22% increase in investment for the 2020-2021 academic year. With this increase, the most important in the last ten years, the total amount invested in the State System of scholarships and study grants is more than 1,900 million euros, which will benefit 625,514 students next year.
Of these, 372,240 are at non-university levels and 252,274 are for University and Master's degrees.
As announced by the Minister of Education and Vocational Training, Isabel Celaá, in Congress last February, the Ministry of Education and Vocational Training and the Ministry of Universities have carried out a major reform of the State System of Scholarships and Study Aids that will reverse, throughout this legislature, the measures adopted in 2012 and strengthen scholarships as a right subjective based on income that ensures equal opportunities for all students, regardless of their economic and social circumstances.
The reform is based on four main points: the modification of the academic requirements; raising threshold 1 to practically equate it to the poverty line; raising the fixed amounts by 100 euros and improvements in scholarships and aid for people with disabilities.
This important modification of the State System of Scholarships and Study Aids, one of the main objectives of the Government, seeks to progressively increase, increase the amounts for the lowest incomes, move towards a fixed amount model and improve management to advance notifications and collections of these aids.
In the case of university scholarships, it is, as in the rest, a structural reform of the system whose objective is to democratize the right to education and substantially increase the number of students who enter universities according to a criterion of socioeconomic situation.
These measures will be reflected in a Royal Decree of thresholds that both ministries will present in the coming weeks to the University Observatory of Scholarships and Study Aids.
Main points of the reform
1. Reform of the academic requirements: The scholarships will require the passing of the previous course and the supplementary requirements that currently require certain qualifications will be eliminated. This measure reverses the criteria introduced in 2012, which tightened academic requirements and left out of the scholarship system many students who lack the financial means to continue their studies. The grade for access to non-university scholarships will be reduced from 5.5 to and grade scholarships will be accessed with the passing of a percentage of credits, eliminating the average grade required. The new measure will benefit 61,059 students, of which 54,853 are university degree students.
2. Raising threshold 1 to almost equal it to the poverty line. This economic threshold, which has not been updated since the 2010-2011 academic year and had not been adapted to the economic context, will allow students from families with fewer resources to access the full scholarship (tuition, fixed amount of income, amount of residence in your case and variable amount).
With the current reform, threshold 1 is practically equated with the poverty threshold, which implies, in practice, raising the income threshold very considerably and, therefore, increasing coverage for students with fewer financial resources, which they would go from threshold 2 to threshold 1 and they would access the fixed amount linked to income.
This measure will benefit 161,603 people, of whom 71,155 are university graduates (65,627) and Masters (5,528).
3. Increase of the fixed amounts in 100 euros: In order that the amounts of the scholarships progressively approach the real costs of post-compulsory studies, the fixed amount of income obtained by students from threshold 1 will be raised by 100 euros , the fixed amount of residence obtained by students residing outside their municipality and the so-called basic scholarship awarded to certain non-university studies. 513,620 students will benefit from this measure.
In the case of universities, the scholarship amounts for Bachelor and Master students are also increased by 100 euros. The current reform increases the fixed amount linked to the income of the student (it would go from 1,600 to 1,700 euros), which is what the students with the least resources receive (threshold 1). In addition, an increase of 100 euros is foreseen in the fixed amount linked to the residence obtained by those who reside outside their municipality (it would go from 1,500 euros to 1,600 euros). In the event that the person meets the requirements for both types of scholarships, the amounts will be cumulative and not exclusive.
4. Increases investment in people with disabilities: Students with Autism Spectrum Disorder (TEA) recognized by certificate will be able to access the call for aid for students with specific educational support needs (NEAEs). Until now, only people with a recognized degree of disability of 33% could access this type of aid. In the case of university studies, this reform proposes to cover the full annual cost of enrollment of students with disabilities at UNED. Therefore, only for university studies, this measure would have an estimated cost of 3,726,401.98 euros and would benefit 4,737 students with disabilities.
Increase in full scholarships
Of the 386 million euros increase, 207 correspond to non-university education and 179 to university scholarships.
The added impact of the measures mentioned for university students means that the number of students who will be able to access a full scholarship practically doubles, either because they were at threshold 2 and by increasing threshold 1 they have access to the full scholarship or because they already met the income requirements (threshold 1) but they did not obtain the full scholarship because they did not meet the academic requirements. In this way, in the academic year 2020-21 the number of Undergraduate and Master students who will receive a full scholarship will be 175,945 while currently they receive 89,376, that is, the number of beneficiaries doubles. In total, 252,274 undergraduate and master university students directly benefit from different grants.
For their part, 263,928 non-university students will be able to receive the full scholarship in the academic year 2020-2021, while this year they will receive 169,135.
It is a comprehensive reform of the scholarship system that considerably increases the number of beneficiaries and democratizes the criteria for access to benefits, with the aim that scholarships are for those who need it most. As a consequence, access to education is democratized.
This budget increase will allow the majority of families affected by the Covid-19 crisis to be served, who are requesting scholarships and study grants. Reforming academic requirements increases the predictability of scholarship access, which is very important in these uncertain times, and raising threshold 1 will allow many families to achieve full scholarships.
In addition, the scholarship reimbursement criteria will be temporarily modified to adapt them to the anomalous academic situation at the end of the 2019-2020 academic year.