The Spanish government has gradually increased the budget provision for the system of study grants and aid to amount to 1.42 billion euros in 2016, the highest figure ever. The aim is to guarantee access to non-obligatory education to all students.
The Council of Ministers approved a Royal Decree establishing the thresholds for household income and capital and the amounts of study grants and aid for the academic year 2016-2017.
The acting Minister for Education, Culture and Sport, Íñigo Méndez de Vigo, declared that under this regulation, “the government has enshrined the entitlement to a grant as a subjective right of students and thus meets the constitutional obligation to guarantee equality in the right to education”. Grants “guarantee access to non-obligatory levels of education to all students”, he added, and clearly manifest “the government’s commitment to the social dimension of education”.
“No-one in Spain should abandon post-obligatory studies on economic grounds. We will ensure that those who have the vocation and aptitude can develop these skills and we are making progress in terms of effort, responsibility and equal opportunities”, he stated.
Both the minister and the acting Vice-President of the Government, Soraya Sáenz de Santamaría, highlighted that the budget for general study grants and aid reached record highs in Spain of 1.42 billion euros in the academic year 2015-2016.
Iñigo Méndez de Vigo claimed that the royal decree approved on Friday is similar in content to the one approved last year in terms of thresholds for household income and capital, although certain changes have been introduced.
In this regard, he explained that the thresholds for capital in rural areas have been modified to deal with concerns from students who feared losing their grants as a result of the cadastral revision that took place in those areas.
Moreover, the requirements to authorise grants in the case of students who decide to change studies have been made more flexible. Similarly, the possibility has been included of students receiving grants to study complementary credits or complementary studies to official degree titles under the university system prior to the Bologna Plan. The regional governments will also be allowed to have greater powers in managing the variable part of grants.
The Minister for Education stressed that through the amount allocated by the government to grants in the General State Budget, those who are entitled to receive grants will be guaranteed to receive them. He also highlighted that in the academic year 2015-2016 “a record number of grant-holders” was recorded: 332,035 in non-university education and 323,931 in university education. A total of 655,866 students benefitted from a grant in Spain in total, he stressed. “We have tried to provide security and certainty to students and their families and we already have the legal framework in place for the next academic year” for grants to be authorised, concluded the minister.