Portuguese Prime Minister announces increased funding for higher education – EURACTIV.com

On Thursday, Prime Minister Antonio Costa announced a package of measures to support higher education students, including an increase of 25 million euros for institutions, and a 10% increase in the number of scholarships available.

Costa announced the measures at the opening of a session dedicated to World Science Day at the Thalia Theater in Lisbon.

“There will be an extraordinary strengthening of higher education institutions totaling 25 million euros,” said Costa, following a speech by Minister of Science and Higher Education Elvira Fortunato.

In his speech, the Prime Minister also highlighted the importance of supporting higher education at times when “the world, Europe and Portugal are facing a dangerous inflationary phase”. He added, “It affects the functioning of institutions, the ability of families to keep their children studying, and the ability of the children themselves to continue studying.”

In addition to the €25m increase for higher education which aims to help institutions defray energy costs, “there will also be an extraordinary boost to increase all scholarships by 10%” as well as a five percentage point increase in scholarships offered abroad for displaced students.

There is a 50% increase in Erasmus grants. We want to create better conditions so that more students can continue studying and higher education institutions can continue to do their job of training human resources and research.”

In terms of government action, Costa has introduced a target of investing 3% of the country’s GDP in research and development by 2030, with two-thirds of financing from the private sector and the remaining one-third from the public sector.

Other goals for 2030 include increasing participation in higher education to 60% among 20-year-olds while ensuring the “most ambitious target” of “50% of the population aged 30-34” completing higher education.

In his speech, the Prime Minister also referred to the “critical issue of student accommodation,” announcing a 78% increase in the number of student beds from 15,073 to 26,868 between 2021 and 2026.

“This is one of the most ambitious RRP programs,” he said.

For now, the government had to consolidate the €375m saved in the Rapid Response Plan with funding from the state budget, given the “high need and very strong initiative capacity”.

(Pedro Moraes Fonseca | Lusa.pt)

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