The shifting financial aid system in SpanishUniversity:

grant-recipients’ experiences andstrategies

Manuel Ángel Río Ruiz
María Luisa Jiménez Rodrigo
Manuel Jesús Caro-Cabrera
Publicado en:  Critical Studies in Education. Vol. 56, Nª 3.
Año de publicación: 2014
Páginas: 332-350

In 2012 Spain inaugurated a reform of its higher education financial aid systeminspired by three principles: cost-sharing, increasing academic performance and schoolefficiency. This reform has shifted the aim of the system from equality of access to atype of meritocracy that can be defined as class-biased, as it is only applied to low-income students who require scholarships to fund their university education. After contextualizing this changing Spanish financial aid system, the life-experiences of grant-holders are discussed, based on in-depth interviews with scholarship recipients.Our analysis shows how the hardships and constraints that these low-income studentsendure during their university education have been toughened after the reform. The paper concludes that the reform increases and naturalizes the social inequalities that traditionally exist between youths of different social classes when planning, accessingand staying in university, as the critical sociology of education has shown recurrently.

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