Scholarships vs Loans for University Students

For quite some time I have been pondering about blogging but work overload simply meant that I did not have the energy left when coming home. Things did not change from that side but, unless I put myself to do it, this blog will never start. So, here I am with this first post.

Yesterday the secretary of state for education (Montserrat Gomendio), while talking at the Fórum Europa, discussed the perspective of changing the university scholarship system from, well… scholarships to loans. It is rather weird that one of the governments that spends substantially less (as proportion of GDP) than the European average in education and R+D, considers that the expenditure for the university system is very high. Also, there seems to be a misdirected perspective, as for the secretary of state the problem is not if the university education system is free or not, but who is paying for it and in which way (“no es cuestión de gratuito o no, sino de quién lo paga, cómo y cuándo”, according to Gomendio).

But… sorry, we all as citizens pay for it, with our taxes! And that’s where the money should come from.

In the secretary’s view, the people going to university should pay themselves as they directly benefit from higher education and future better possibilities in the work market. Apart from the fact that only certain university careers might offer higher level of success in finding a job (so, should we close all those ones that do not offer such a bonus?) education is an investment for all of us, not only for those who received it. Furthermore, if a graduate more easily obtains a better paid job, he/she will pay more taxes and therefore reimbursing the investment made by the country in proportion to the financial benefit they have received.

Education is a major investment for a country. Better educated people make better countries, better industries, better employers and better employees. We all gain from it and that is why education (and research) should be funded by our taxes. Access to education must be without bias, independently from our social background or current situation we should all have access to it.

This current Spanish government leaves me, more often than not, appalled by the ideological drive of their policies and the totally illogical justifications that they are trying to put together as a smoke screen.