By Eric Burgraff
EIn Belgium, the number of students dependent on a CPAS has almost tripled in 15 years. They were 8,913 in January 2007 compared to 25,507 in December 2021. This is the hidden side of the iceberg, because beneath the surface is the phenomenon of “rights abuse”, all these young people who are in need and yet meet the required criteria , receive no social assistance. Various studies estimate that half of the beneficiaries – or even more – do not receive a social inclusion income from the PES. Mostly out of modesty, fear of family reactions or ignorance.
What is less well known is the renunciation of all other forms of assistance: student grants, international mobility grants, promotion of access to housing, reduced transport, sports vouchers, socially-tapped Internet access, food aid, etc.
Higher education: Many needy students do not receive any help
It’s very simple, according to Valérie Glatigny, Minister of Higher Education MR, less than 60% of students know that there are study grants that can be granted by the Wallonia-Brussels Federation. This lack of knowledge was evident during the health crisis, when thousands of students were robbed of their jobs and cried out for help. This also applies to the help of the other levels of power.
All help in one place
That is why Valérie Glatigny launches a communication campaign to no longer leave young people in the dark: “There are many mechanisms at all levels of power to support young people and their parents in financial difficulties, but they are not always known or legible for students and their Parents. It is important to gather as much information as possible in order to facilitate the search and then the application for aid related to study aid, accommodation or even transport,” stresses Minister Glatigny, launching a specific website (1) and several media digital Communication via the platforms used by young people and/or their parents.Sponsored content is made available on classic platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat and YouTube, but also on Twitch and TikTok.
The focus is obviously on the opening of the scholarship season for the year 2022-2023. The amount that can be granted to a university student varies between 400 and 5,000 euros, with an average of 1,172 euros. In addition, scholarship holders benefit from free registration fees and reimbursement of compulsory course materials. For this academic year, the total budget for study grants increases from 71 million euros to 77.3 million euros.
“The campaign will convey a positive message: Getting student finance when you need it is possible. The gray matter of our students is one of the rare raw materials that we have in the Wallonia-Brussels Federation. We want to enable every young person to realize their potential and support them in their academic career with all means possible. This is all the more important when you know how important a degree is for a job,” adds Valérie Glatigny.