Student grants unfair and slow

Education ombudsman says student funding needs reform as complaints almost double in a year

24 June 2010

GROWING numbers of students are being denied grants to study at university, according to an official report.

France's education ombudsman, Monique Sassier, says in her annual report that the current grant scheme is based on out-of-date calculations and is too slow.

The number of formal complaints to the regulator has almost doubled in a year, up 88%.
One of the main concerns is about how the grants are calculated.

A student starting university this September will have their entitlement based on their parents' 2008 income - regardless of what might have happened to the family's financial situation in the past two years.

The ombudsman also says that the payment is too slow. About half of students wait until December to receive their first grant installment for the academic year, which should be made in October.

Students' union Unef said in a statement to 20 Minutes: "The entitlement to a grant should be based on the applicant's financial situation, not that of their parents.

"A lot of students are not allowed a grant because their parents earn too much, but their parents do not give them any financial help."

Unef also says that students are not provided with enough information about what financial aid is available to them.

Higher Education Minister Valérie Pecresse says she will set up a committee to look at the ombudsman's recommendations.

Pavel Losevsky - Fotolia.com

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