UDU: The government must immediately allocate more funds to cover student grants!
Ever since the publication of Ministerial Decree 1320/2021, which increased the amounts of student grants and raised the ISEE and ISPE thresholds, as Students’ Union, we have pointed out that there was a risk of a total lack of funds and that a huge investment by the State and the Regions was needed to cover student grants for all.
In the published draft of the Budget Law, however, the lack of attention to higher education is confirmed: the government would not provide any increase in the State Supplementary Fund (SSF, FIS in Italian) for 2022 and 2023, limiting itself to an increase in funds of 250 million euros, but only for 2024 and 2025.
With the publication of the first final rankings for access to student grants for the current academic year, the severe underfunding affecting the system for services for Student Grants in Italy is becoming increasingly evident, even though it is still impossible to make a specific estimate of the shortfall (many allocation rankings have yet to be published).
At the University of Padua, the eligible non-beneficiaries are more than 2,400; at the University of Verona, more than 1,000; at the University of Teramo, 169, while in Lombardy alone, 25 million euros would still be needed to cover all the student grants, as of today only 78% of the students that meet the requirements will be able to receive them.
Without an extraordinary investment by the State, HEIs will have to pay a huge amount to cover the grants, or else many eligible non-beneficiaries will return, i.e. students who, despite meeting all the requirements for receiving the grants, cannot receive it due to a lack of funds.
Unlike in previous years, the amounts required from HEIs to cover non-beneficiaries out of their own pockets are significantly higher, and inflation makes it complex to guarantee this allocation. For this reason, we immediately mobilised by contacting deputies and senators to request the submission of an amendment in the Budget Law that would invest EUR 300 million in the SSF for each of the years 2022, 2023, 2024 and 2025 to supplement what has already been provided.
We need an immediate increase of 300 million euros in the State Supplementary Fund for this year: without these funds, many students risk being deprived of the possibility of continuing their studies!