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Sunday, February 5, 2023

Madrid shuffles family income and per capita income to defend private center grants

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Madrid has again defended its controversial scholarship policy with a confusing and incomplete figure: 94.2% of checks for high school diplomas in a private center go to families with incomes below 20,000 euros and the rest of the money, about 100,000 euros, for income over 30,000. This was stated by Presidency Minister Enrique López at the press conference after the Governing Council. What was not clarified, but an education spokesman later confirmed when asked by EL PAÍS, is that he was referring to per capita income and not to the maximum income per family unit. That is, if I spoke of families with 20,000 euros, the beneficiaries are actually couples with one child with a total income of 60,000 euros, or 80,000 if they have two children, or 100,000 if they have three, because the number is 20,000 Euro is the limit for each family member. López defined his scholarship policy as “true equal opportunity for all students,” without counting what those dates actually meant. It has also faced criticism from unions and opposition (except Vox) with incomplete figures, as it only reported funding for high school students, 21.6% of all to be awarded next year (60,108). In order to understand the final balance of the scholarships, it is also necessary to know those intended for students from private centers attending the educational levels of early childhood education, vocational education (FP), middle and higher grades.

This Friday is the deadline to decide on the high school diploma scholarships, which the regional government says will cover the 13,000 applications submitted, meaning it remains to be seen what happens to the 47,108 other scholarships that will be awarded for studies in early childhood education (34,193) , Intermediate FP (1,102) and Advanced (11,813) in private centers.

“The regional executive is very proud of this grant policy,” said López. “And that’s why it’s time to ask everyone who criticizes these policies to take these numbers into account, to stop distorting reality and being demagogic and intoxicating public opinion with untruths, interested half-truths.”

The regulations published by the Autonomous Community of Madrid use the concept of family income per capita as a benchmark, unlike the rest of the regions and the Ministry of Education, which use family unit income. The figure used by Madrid is that of the INE of 2019, when the average in the Madrid region was 35,913 euros. This means that the family that chooses a scholarship next year has to do a simple calculation: the income of the family unit (the whole family) is divided between the number of eligible members of all and the resulting number for each one of them must not exceed EUR 35,913. Therefore, a couple with one child can access the scholarship when the three of them reach 107,739, which is the result of adding each’s 35,913. If the fixed measure is the income of the family unit, as in the rest of the Autonomous Communities, the total amount that a family earns is taken into account, so these 35,913 euros per year should be the total amount of money going into that house.

According to the data provided by the administration, the families of high school graduates who earn less than 10,000 euros per year (they receive 63.1% of the allowance) are the most preferred for the next high school exam; followed by those with up to 20,000 (31.1%). Those between 20,000 and 30,000 barely reach 4.9% and those at the highest limit remain at 0.4%. Taking into account the per capita income, this means that when the Madrid government refers to families with 10,000 euros per year, this aid is granted to families with three members with a total of 30,000 euros per year; four members with 40,000, five with 50,000 and so on.

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The same goes for calculating the dates for the 20,000 to whom Madrid will allocate 10.6 million euros in public money, 31.1% of the total. This scholarship is awarded to couples with one child earning a total of 60,000; with two children entering 80,000 or with three children entering 100,000.

And the same is true for families with a per capita income of 30,000 euros, which make up 4.9% of beneficiaries. A family of three actually has an income of 90,000; from four, 120,000; or by five, 150,000. This 4.9% will eat up 1.7 million euros of the budget.

Until last year, there were scholarships for high school graduates with a per capita income of 10,000 euros. This enabled families of three with a total annual income of 30,000 euros to receive a grant. For the coming school year, however, the scale has risen to 35,913 euros, so the offer will be expanded so that families who want to bring their children to a private facility and have an income of 107,739 euros if it is made up for by three family members can access it 143,652 euros for four or 179,565 euros for five.

López has defended that of the 34.37 million that will be invested in this aid program for high school students, 33.17% will go to those who “have less than that income”. The Autonomous Community of Madrid has increased the endowment of the entire scholarship program for the academic year 2022-23 to a total of 62.5 million euros, 29% more than the previous year, reaching a total of 226 million euros.

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Source elpais.com

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