On August 31 the Ministry of Education issued a set of guidelines instructing higher education institutions to ensure that students from low-income families receive suitable financial assistance during the autumn semester 2020.
According to the guidelines, targeted measures should be implemented to ensure eligible students are more aware of the country’s student assistance schemes, and offer them clear guidance on how to apply. For example, a financial aid brochure will be attached to college acceptance letters and sent to every student offered a place.
The guidelines also instruct higher education institutions to open a “fast track” for students eligible for financial assistance during new student registration, to streamline application procedures and protect their privacy.
The guidelines require that full financial assistance should be provided in a timely manner, and the amount of assistance should be adjusted to any change in students’ circumstances. A more flexible mechanism should be set up to keep track of student loan repayments, and all necessary help should be offered to alleviate the burden of student loans. Emergency aid and mental health support will be provided to students suffering major life changes.
The guidelines also stressed that special attention should be given to students from areas severely affected by the COVID-19 epidemic or flooding.