After “Adopts A Dude”, “Adopts A Student”? In Spain, private individuals could be allowed to “sponsor” students in order to allow young people in financial difficulty to pursue higher education.
Between the explosion of youth unemployment, rising tuition fees in public universities and the tightening of the criteria for granting scholarships, it is not good to be a student in Spain at the present time. To avoid seeing their numbers melt and promising young people dropping out of their studies, the Iberian faculties want to create a fund that allows private donors to finance the curricula of students in financial difficulty. “In the same way that it is possible to sponsor a child of the Third World through associations, individuals could take charge of a Spanish student by paying tuition,” explains to the British daily The Telegraph Adelaide de la Calle , Rector of the University of Malaga and President of the Spanish Association of University Presidents.
Since 2010, government spending on universities has been cut by 1.2 billion euros, more than 10% of the total budget. Until then, among the lowest in Europe, tuition fees have also increased from 22% to 92%, depending on the region. They now reach between 680 € and 1280 € per year in public establishments. While the youth unemployment rate is now 56%, this situation places many young people in an embarrassing position. In June, a study published by El Pais revealed that about 30,000 students were about to be excluded from university. Already heavily indebted, they were unable to pay their registration fees.
A solution that universities hope for
Student scholarships exist to support young people, but the number of applications today exceeds the amount spent on these grants and the government has recently tightened eligibility criteria. In order to avoid a hecatomb in the student ranks, it is therefore at the private level that solidarity is organized. Eleven students from the Polytechnic University of Valencia recently benefited from a donation of about 10,000 euros from a citizen of the city of Alcoy to pay their tuition fees, says El Pais. of León received, for the same reasons, an anonymous donation of 70,000 euros. So it is to allow this charity to walk in full, and to better supervise it, that the rectors of universities are considering creating a dedicated structure.
Other solutions are also being studied. Some universities provide additional scholarships, within the limits of their available funds. Others propose to split the payment of tuition fees. But the rectors remind us that, while these outbursts of solidarity are positive, they must not constitute anything other than an emergency measure, which is not intended to replace long-term government funding.