By Evie Andreou
EDUCATION minister Costas Kadis announced yesterday that student welfare grants would reach €3.2m to support needy students in local colleges and universities for the current academic year.
The funds, which will be granted for the fifth year, were approved by the Cabinet, with a points-system determining the level of need. Of the 4,782 recipients, 2,386 students will benefit from major grants including for housing, food, purchase or upgrade of computers and the purchase of text books.
The minister said that 526 students with 26 points or more will receive an annual housing benefit of up to €1,800 and 2,185 students with 21 points and over will receive food aid of up to €1,092 (€7 daily Χ 156 days). A further 762 students with 25 points and over will receive €300 for the purchases of text books, and 635 freshmen with 19 points and over will receive €500 for a computer purchase or upgrade.
Kadis assured that the selection of students and the points system will be carried out with transparency and the funds will be paid to the beneficiaries directly by their schools.
Eligible for the grants are students at the University of Cyprus, the Cyprus University of Technology (TEPAK), Frederick University, the European University of Cyprus, University of Nicosia, Neapolis University, UCLAN University, the Cyprus Forestry College and the Higher Hotel Institute.
For Cypriot students abroad, the welfare measures are administered by the State Scholarship Foundation.
The cabinet also approved yesterday the increase of undergraduate places available at the University of Cyprus and the Cyprus University of Technology for the next academic year 2014-15.
It said that 486 additional places will be offered at the University of Cyprus and 191 at TEPAK to students with serious health problems, students who come from families with special circumstances, students in other special categories, members of religious minorities, to Greek students and to graduates of technical schools and night schools.
The places will be offered provided the additional costs created by the student increase can be covered by the universities’ budget.