A survey released Wednesday (Jul. 20) by the Brazilian Association of High School Supporters (ABMES) shows that over 50% of youths planning to attend university need the aid of government initiatives. When asked whether they could afford monthly tuition fees, a total of 37.3% of youths answered yes, whereas 12.2% said maybe. The survey heard a thousand Brazilians aged 18-30, all of whom graduated from high school.
The two major government initiatives in Brazil that facilitate the access to higher education are the Programa Universidade para Todos (University for All, in a literal translation), known as ProUni, which grants full or partial scholarships to students based on their performance in the ENEM (Brazil's national high school examination); and the Fundo de Financiamento Estudantil (Student Loan Fund), or FIES, which helps students finance their studies at private (paid) higher education institutions, with an interest rate of 6.5% per annum. The total lent is based on the student's family's monthly income.
Respondents also had a chance to give their opinion about the proposed reduction in the investment earmarked for education by the federal government. Most (75%) opposed the cut. Regarding the possibility of charging monthly fees at public universities, 57.3% were against the proposal.
In the view of Janguiê Diniz, president of the ABMES, which represents 1.2 thousand private educational institutions, the student loan program is beneficial to the country. “It's the country that needs FIES, not the private institutions,” he argued.
Political scientist Adriano Oliveira, a member of the survey team, believes the study shows that young people see the state as having the duty to promote social inclusion in education. If youths were to choose a university to attend, 71.2% would go for a public institution, whereas 25.1% would select a private university.
Despite the preference, Diniz maintains that private institutions have showed higher quality rates. “If Brazil had the same system as the US [where public schools charge tuition fees], this feeling that private universities are poorer in quality wouldn't exist,” he said.
Translated by Fabrício Ferreira
Fonte: Agência Brasil.