Wed, Jul 20, 2005 - Page 2 News List

MOE reaches out to needy students

ASSISTANCE Responding to growing public criticism, the MOE upgraded its student resource Web site and launched a hotline for students who need financial aid

By Mo Yan-chih  /  STAFF REPORTER

The Ministry of Education (MOE) announced yesterday it will launch a hotline and update its student resource Web site to provide better services for students who are in need of financial assistance.

The Scholarships and Financial Aid Resource Website For Youth, which was launched in February, compiles information about scholarships and financial assistance provided by government agencies, schools, hundreds of foundations and businesses and private individuals.

The Web site is designed to provide detailed information scholarships so that needy students in high schools, colleges and universities, and graduate schools can learn about opportunities to lift their financial burden. The total amount of money offered by all scholarships and financial aid programs combined is NT$17 billion (US$532 million).

The MOE said it hopes that more students will take advantage of the new hotline to learn more about scholarships and financial aid. The toll-free hotline is 0800-081-082 and will operate during the summer through Aug. 31.

Facing growing complaints from the public that college tuition costs are becoming unreasonably high, the ministry has been trying to give opportunities to students and underscore its efforts to assists them.

Addressing the opening ceremony of the 2005 National Colleges, Universities and Graduate Schools Expo at National Taiwan University last weekend, President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) also stressed that the government attaches great importance to the financial burden on students.

With the number of colleges and universities having increased rapidly, the overall investment in higher education, including government appropriation and funds raised by individual colleges and universities, has also shown dramatic growth, Chen said.

The investment was NT$177 billion (US$5.619 billion) in 2001, but has increased to NT$207.8 billion, or an increase of 17 percent last year, according to MOE.

Besides the financial investment to help the next generation to reduce students' financial burden, the MOE also launched "The Last Mile" program starting last year to provide more practical courses for vocational school students.

According to Chang Guo-bao (張國保), head of the MOE's department of technological and vocational education, the ministry is working with the businesses to design courses which would train students in professional skills geared toward certain industries. By closing the gap between what the schools teach and what the enterprises really need, students could hopefully find jobs more easily, which will make education more practical, Chang said.

For more information on the resource hotline, visit the ministry's Scholarships and Financial Aid Resource Web site at: http://scholarship.stut.edu.tw.

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