Hundreds of Belgian students forced to pay back grant paid out two years ago
Thursday, 05 December 2019
Students from the university of Louvain-la-Neuve, some of whom are affected.
The government of the French Community is to set up a working group to look into the case where hundreds of students are being asked to pay back a student grant they received two years ago, which many are unable to do, according to the minister for higher education, Valérie Glatigny.
Under the system in Francophone Belgium, a student who fails too many classes becomes “not fundable” and is thereby not entitled to any government financing in the form of study grants, scholarships etc. Such is the case for a number of students described as being in the hundreds. These are students whose failure was justified for personal reasons, so that they were allowed to continue studying, but at their own cost.
The trouble is, the status of being not fundable is only determined after the fact, whereas the students in question had already received the grant to which they were later ruled ineligible. They now face being made to repay the grant, as well as footing the bill for their tuition.
The federation of French-speaking students (FF) has called for the issue of fundability to be split off from the question of grants. Glatigny herself has promised “to examine the rules currently in place, taking account of the difficulties encountered by the students, and in particular, the damaging consequences,” Le Soir quotes her as saying.
The working group will be charged with finding a concrete solution to the problem.