When the Minister for Higher Education said at a press conference that “it is unacceptable for a student to be deprived of a scholarship because their parents’ income has increased by a few euros”, then this seems to have been a punishment for Maëlle, a young student in the German-French course at Sciences-po.
Chance of the Calendar, while his TikTok video sparked an avalanche of support and the creation of a kitty, the long-demanded grant reform by the student unions was just launched by the ministry on Oct. 7. Calculation method, amount, indexation by place of residence and study, change of amount or proposal for student income… We are examining what might change.
Calculation Method and Amounts
Currently, based on parental income, the number of dependent children or children in college, and distance from home, the amount of scholarships may soon depend on student income. Several student unions have submitted this proposal to the Ministry. This is the case of the FAGE, which proposes “to decouple the calculation of the subsidy from the parent’s income to avoid threshold effects”.
“The profile of the students has changed significantly in the 60 years since the system has been in existence. Today it is a parental encouragement that does not take into account the reality of the students. Adolescence is a complicated age: we are adults, adults, vaccinated and responsible, but socially and economically we remain children,” notes UNEF, which already during the crisis “envisioned an increase of 100 euros for everyone (by level). ) and an additional grant of 100 euros for the overseas departments and regions”.
The same position applies to Solidaires Étudiant-es: the calculation must be based on the income of the students, “because the parents do not always help”. The union wants to go even further with the amount and increase the grants by 20 percent “so that it becomes more relevant”.
The Studentenwerk advocates “a subsidy that is calculated on the students’ own income by a declaration”, but which also includes what the students receive monthly from their parents: “It allows for a fairer calculation” .
On the other hand, some unions oppose calculations based on student income. This is the case of L’alternative, which prefers not to “create a poverty trap”. “Students will not have time to take the steps to file a separate tax return. The risk then is that they will be penalized rather than favored. »
More in Paris, less in Poitiers?
Territorialization of the stock market is another possible route. Few have suggested it, but it is a wish from FAGE, which asks that we establish “geographical criteria and amounts according to those criteria”. “With five euros a year you can earn or lose up to 100 euros more a month. The formula needs to be adjusted, especially with a balancing system based on living space,” Etienne Matignon explained to us at the beginning of the school year.
The UNEF, for its part, is “against the territorialization of the amounts”. “It’s no different with the dependent remainders, given the already territorialized housing allowance,” the union assures. A red line for L’alternative too, “because there would be a breach of equality and universality… and overly complicated calculation methods”. For the Studentenwerksbund and the student solidarity “this is a misconception! We are also fighting in Paris and La Rochelle, where transport is relatively expensive. »
8 rungs… or more
Today there are 8 scholarship levels from 0to to 7 which awarded scholarship to 750,000 students in 2020-2021. UNEF proposes expanding it to 100,000 more students by modifying these criteria. The same on the L’alternative site to “attract more students by increasing the number of levels” and with a maximum monthly grant of 1102 euros compared to 596.5 euros today.
The Studentenwerk does not represent a fundamental position, but at least would like it to be expanded to include more students (and thus more scholarship holders).
A permission to go further
UNEF, like L’alternative, is committed to “an autonomy allowance for all students of at least 1102 euros”. As for Solidaires student-es, the union proposes the introduction of a socialized student salary equal to the minimum wage, financed not by the state but “by employers’ social security contributions, in order to avoid government funding”. The reason ? “Companies must participate in our support as future workers, because we will enable the development of these structures.”
The Studentenwerk’s position is clearer than the others: it does not ask for a specific allowance in order to avoid “the system of inflation, especially in housing” and the risk that “private owners integrate the general allowance”. [à leur calcul, NDLR] “.
“We want to get students out of the market [au sens large, NDLR] Therefore, dedicate to them university accommodation and university restaurants at cheap prices. The union believes that the priority must be to increase scholarships and open up to more students.
In the government, beyond Sylvie Retailleau’s statement on the effects of the threshold, it is specified that the consultation will last all year with the delivery of the conclusions “until the summer”. In the meantime, a progress report is planned for early 2023. It will make it possible to facilitate the ministry’s first exchanges, in particular with the trade unions, the conferences of the Grandes Ecoles and the French university. When changes arise “with a relative consensus and which are operationalizable fast”, they could be implemented next year. For further structural changes you might have to wait a little longer.