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‘Adopt a student’ scheme, a new concept in Spain?

Struggling with financing tuition fees? Spanish universities have launched a new scheme consisting in “adopting a student” by funding the tuition fees. Considered to be an emergency measure, Spanish universities are hoping this will be temporary. The aim is mostly to help students coming from low-income families, as there are more and more students tempted to abandon their studies because they cannot pay for them anymore. And it works. 11 students from Polytechnic University of Valencia have already seen the benefit of the new scheme, their tuition fees have been funded by a citizen of Alcoy. Another anonymous donator has given 70,000€ to University of León.

With the Spanish government cuts in funding higher education institutions implemented since 2008 along with the global financial crisis (1.2 billion €), universities had to drastically increase their tuition fees in response. The latters are now between 680€ and 1,280€. Even worse, since the financial crisis started in the country, youth unemployment has now reached 56.1% in Spain, the second poorest rate in Europe after Greece and students are particularly struggling. Scholarships offered by universities are of course not meeting student needs, and the conditions to obtain have been toughened this year.

A few months ago, 30,000 students in Spain were at risk of being expelled because they haven’t paid their tuition fees. For example, at University Complutense of Madrid more than 3,000 students received a notice regarding their expelling because they didn’t pay their outstanding fees but the university agreed to work on a plan allowing students to pay later.

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