By Constantinos Psillides
EDUCATION Minister Costas Kadis will be meeting the Cyprus Students Association (POFEN) on Wednesday in order to clarify his intentions on a proposed bill reducing the number of students receiving a grant.
The bill proposes lowering the income-based ceiling set for those entitled to grants, which has angered both POFEN and main opposition party AKEL.
AKEL argued the move could take grants from hundreds of students, and accused the government of not consulting those involved. Christos Christofides, a high ranking member of AKEL, issued a statement saying: “Students are facing the probability of losing their grants because their family just happened to own a plot of land along with the family’s home.”
Responding to the accusations, Kadis said that the government aimed at targeting the grant so people who were truly in need could benefit. The education minister pointed out that while the ceiling would be lowered, the budget for the grant was not being reduced.
The student grant was amongst the first benefits that were slashed due to austerity measures. While in the past the state would give €2,550 to each student, with an additional €850 if the student came from a large family, restrictions were put in place so as students coming from wealthy families wouldn’t receive the grant.
The grant even extended to Cyprus University students, who didn’t pay any tuition, while a large number didn’t even have to pay for food and board since they came from Nicosia.
A press release issued by the education ministry yesterday assured the Students’ Association that the government wasn’t merely seeking to cut back on expenses, but to better manage the available budget available.
The amount of the grant is based on each applicant’s needs.