In view of the impact of the economic downturn on students, the Ministry of Education yesterday launched a NT$12 billion (US$361 million) project to help students in need.
Minister of Education Cheng Jei-cheng (鄭瑞城) told a press conference yesterday that the ministry would grant an annual subsidy of NT$10,000 per person to students at public universities whose parents had been laid off and unemployed for between one month and six months.
For students at private universities in the same situation, the subsidy will be NT$20,000 per person, he said, adding that the ministry would grant public and private high school and vocational high school students in financial straits stipends of NT$8,000 and NT$16,000 respectively.
The ministry would fully subsidize the tuition of students participating in industrial collaboration programs whose families have an annual income below NT$600,000, he said.
For students in the program whose families have an annual income of between NT$600,000 and NT$800,000, the ministry will subsidize half of their tuition, he said.
The ministry also said it had relaxed the threshold for student loans.
High school, college and graduate students whose parents have been laid off may apply for student loans, it said.
Under current regulations, only students from families with an annual income below NT$1.2 million are allowed to apply for the loan.
“The Ministry of Education decided to push this schooling security-net project because of the financial storm. I hope we can all join hands and serve as guardian angels for our children so that no child in our society will be forced to drop out of school because he or she cannot afford to go to school,” Premier Liu Chao-shiuan (劉兆玄) said at the press conference held at the ministry.
Meanwhile, National Taiwan University secretary-general Sebastian Liao (廖咸浩) told the Taipei Times that the school was drawing up plans to help students with financial problems, including measures to help students experiencing stress that could lead to suicide.
In related developments, Shih Hsin University said yesterday it would allow students to pay tuition with consumer vouchers for fear that students would suspend their education next semester because of the weak economy.