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Spanish Universities urge "adopt a student"

Source: El Pais - Thu 5th Sep 2013
Spanish Universities urge 'adopt a student'

Faced with escalating tuition fees and stricter requirements to access grants, some public universities are coming up with creative ways of fundraising. One idea under consideration is an "adopt-a-student" scheme that would seek donations from companies and individuals to sponsor a college education for struggling learners.

Málaga University's president, Adelaida de la Calle, said her institution will propose creating a fund for this type of donation, noting that enrollment has gone down. "Just as you can sponsor a child, people could sponsor a student by paying their fees."

An analysis by EL PAÍS shows that at least 30,000 university students in arrears (2.3 percent of the total) are on the verge of being kicked out of campus. While university leaders are trying to offer formulas like payment in installments, they are increasingly turning to private initiatives for support. José Carrillo, president of Madrid's Complutense, called the sponsorship idea "a positive initiative" but there is some fear in university circles about shifting the burden of funding to the private sector.

Xavier Grau, president of Universidad Rovira i Virgili in Tarragona, says "donations are positive in some cases and situations, but the ordinary functioning of the university cannot depend on them. It's a very subtle line that we should not cross."

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