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Public scholarships in private centers in Madrid for families earning more than 100,000 euros

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The President of the Autonomous Community of Madrid, Isabel Díaz Ayuso, is applauded by her PP colleagues during a plenary session of the Madrid Assembly on June 23, 2022.Carlos Lujan (European Press)

The government of the Autonomous Community of Madrid has made the family income criterion more flexible, restricting access to the scholarships it gives to study in private centers for early childhood, baccalaureate and vocational training, three non-compulsory levels of education. This means that couples with one child who start up to 107,739 euros are now eligible for funding, while previously the limit was 30,000 euros for Abitur, 60,000 for vocational training (FP) or 75,000 for child training. Couples with two children who have a total income of 143,652 euros can also apply for these scholarships; or those with three children and a household income of 179,565 euros.

The community expects that these partial grants, which will not cover the full cost of tuition, will benefit more than 62,000 students, whose families will continue to foot the brunt of the bill. In addition, the state government approved the first scholarships of this type for middle vocational training this Wednesday.

“This is a measure to promote freedom of education,” defended a government spokesman. “In order for these subsidies to reach the largest possible number of students, the Madrid government has increased the income limit of the host families, taking as a reference the GDP per capita of the Autonomous Community of Madrid in 2019 of 35,913 euros,” he details. The decision represents unprecedented flexibility in accessing assistance. “The fact that families can apply for these grants does not mean that just because they apply, they are beneficiaries. Lower incomes take precedence,” adds this spokesman.

And how is per capita income calculated? It is necessary to divide the total income of a family among the group of its members in order to know if the maximum amount is exceeded above which the administration considers that no help is needed.

With the new criterion of 35,913 euros, the maximum income limits in the academic year 2022-2023 have increased by 259% compared to the academic year 2021-2022 in the Abitur (the per capita income limit goes from 10,000 euros to 35,913 euros), 80% in higher vocational education (from 20,000 euros to 35,913 euros) and 44% in early childhood education (from 25,000 euros to 35,913 euros). The community has pledged to tap into the $43.4 million it will spend on the baccalaureate program and also give the scholarship to those who don’t meet established income requirements unless all the money was spent on those who did.

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Díaz Ayuso’s government made this decision as the 2023 local and regional elections are already on the horizon. But some of these guidelines come from afar.

In its infancy, aid to private kindergartens took its current form with Esperanza Aguirre in power (2003-2012): since then, its level has multiplied (including the influence of Ciudadanos in the PP governments between 2015 and 2021). ) and the ways of obtaining it (e.g. through the possibility of including a conceived but not yet born child in the calculation of family income). Higher vocational training aids came in the second decade of this century. The baccalaureate scholarships were promoted by the government of Ángel Garrido in 2018 but limited to private concerts and now they have been expanded to purely private by Díaz Ayuso. Finally, the scholarships for the middle level of VET will be released in the next academic year, and it is amid great controversy: if the government allocated 64 million for all these scholarships in the past academic year, the next one will invest 127.

“Post-compulsory education is almost never funded in this way anywhere,” says Adrián Zancajo, a lecturer at Manchester University specializing in education systems, who believes Madrid is ” witnessing the culmination of the most liberal policies that began with Esperanza Aguirre.” . Yes, it is true, Zancajo explains, that there are other PP-governed municipalities, such as Murcia, that use a relatively similar system, but only in early childhood education. That it also extends to Baccalaureate and FP is something Madrid have made a flag about. “And in that way it’s the families that decide where public money is allocated and the administration loses complete control over what grades of VT, for example, get funded or not based on something objective like territorial distribution or supply and demand labor market,” he explains. “That leads us to the pure market, because any kind of planning where public money goes is impossible. It generates more commodification and less equity.”

“The reason for the scholarships is to seek justice, that is, to compensate for the needs of those in need, and when you raise the entry threshold, that spirit is perverted and they become a direct obstacle to private education funding,” laments Isabel Galvín, Spokesperson for Education of the CC OO, on the fact that the community has raised the family income limit per capita to 35,913 euros. “They are leading us to an ultra-liberal model that clashes with the Spanish constitution, which states that we are a welfare state,” he denounces. “In Madrid they have already extended it to all phases of non-compulsory education and therefore there will be more and more inequality,” he argues. “With everyone’s taxes, they finance those who have the most. You double fund them because you give them those checks and then they allow them to deduct taxes on their tax returns. reverse redistribution. They fund inequality and encourage inequality among the people of Madrid.”

In each case, steps have been designed to provide greater assistance to lower-income families or those earning the minimum essential income or minimum deposit income. Students from families with a per capita income of up to 10,000 euros receive a total of 3,750 euros in the Abitur, while students from families with a per capita income of up to 37,913 euros receive a grant of 2,000 euros.

Teresa Jusdado, Spokesperson for Education of the UGT, denounces “the ministry’s privatization policy, which continues to increase the funding of private centers, as well as the different treatment of the public network, in which the offer continues to decrease of modalities and optional subjects, which a large proportion of students forced to leave their reference center and apply for a change of institute”. And he adds: “These inquiries, which in many cases do not offer a solution in the school process, force families to make pilgrimages in search of a place in the chosen high school. And we ask ourselves: If these students do not have the right to continue in the institution where they finished secondary school, how does the advice to create these tools in private institutions justify?

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Source elpais.com

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