Sunday, 14 February 2016 20:41

New system for student grant applications

Help is available with costly studies Help is available with costly studies

February is the month when higher education grant applications become available. Though the system has been in place for 10 years now, new rules may not be known among non-Greek speakers, as all pertinent information and the new application form are in Greek.

Student grants are given based on financial criteria to families living in Cyprus as permanent residents for at least five years. The student must either be a Cypriot or EU citizen. If the student is of another nationality, at least one parent has to be Cypriot or an EU citizen and the student must have graduated from a school in Cyprus.

If the parents are divorced, the parent with whom the student is residing is entitled to submit the application. Grants are awarded for studies at a university or college recognised by the Ministry of Education in Cyprus or abroad. There is no age limit, part-time students and students to study for a Master’s Degree may also apply.

Depending on a degree’s curriculum, one can apply for the minimum academic years of the normal duration of the studies.

However, an application refers to the current academic year and has to be resubmitted annually. Last year, a total of 25,000 students received grants.

The amount awarded will range between €1,710 (annual family income >€39,000) and €1,450 (>€59,000), with additional amounts granted for families with three or more dependent children.
Apart from the above-mentioned criteria of nationality, various financial aspects are taken into consideration.

For the application to be considered, both parents and their dependent children over 18 years old (aged 18-19 and still attending secondary school; boys between 18-21 doing their military service and the concerned student) must sign an authorisation allowing the government to access all financial information for the sole purpose of examining the grant application.

Financial criteria: the family income may not exceed €59,000 per year per family. This limit is increased by €3,000 for each dependent child after the second one. Property and assets: property and assets may not exceed €1.2 million in value, a criterion which was introduced in 2013.

A new, longer form
For the first time this year, the form combines the application for a student grant, which used to be received by the Finance Ministry and the application for student benefits, received by the Education Ministry. The Education Ministry is now in charge of both, making the form 10 pages and the information leaflet 11 pages long.

Student benefits
Student benefits are now applied for in the same form as student grants. However, only families with an annual income of below €39,000 may apply for benefits which are to help cover the cost of rent, food, books and (for first year students) the upgrade or purchase of a computer.

The criteria for benefits are different and follow a point system. Points are awarded for different circumstances (financial, social and health status of the family) and only students with a high number of points will receive benefits.

These are usually only awarded at or after the end of the academic year as numerous details need to be verified.

Forms can be obtained via Citizen Service Centres (CSCs) and at the main district post offices of Limassol, Nicosia, Paphos and Larnaca as well as via the website. Assistance with its completion is available via the island-wide CSCs. Applicants can either send the form in the mail or visit the CSC, where it can also be checked for correctness before submission.

Deadline
The deadline for submission is March 31 and a reply can be expected within 2-3 months for the grant, later for the benefits. Citizen Service Centres are ready to assist and clarify any questions regarding the grants applications.

Limassol’s Citizen Service Centre supervisor Stavros Christofi urges parents to read the instructions carefully before filling in their forms and come prepared, bringing all documents necessary for submission, in order to avoid delays and long queues.

A list of CSCs can be found here and the free island-wide number is 1434

Article as published in The Cyprus Weekly of February 12, 2016 

Mary Anglberger

I’ve been travelling the world for over 20 years teaching English and am now taking time to follow my passion for photography and writing. I want to share all the things, events and people that have inspired and inspire me and spread those positive vibes all around.

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