On 5 December 2019 in Brussels, fi-compass organised an interesting debate on the use of European social Funds financial instruments in the higher education sector.
Fi-compass organised the event to discuss the issuing of loans to higher education students and to increase participation and attainment levels, particularly for disadvantaged groups.
Andrea Leruste, Deputy Head of Unit at the European Commission’s Directorate for Employment and Social Inclusion opened the workshop.
Since 2013, Portugal has been implementing ESF and non-ESF loan projects, ranging from EUR 1,000 to 5,000 per year. These loans are issued through a mutual guarantee and the ESF incorporates the financial endowment of the counter-guarantee fund. This replaces the past exclusive participation of the national state’s budget resources.
As of May 2019, 454 loans were distributed for a total amount of EUR 4.98 million. Cristina Jacinto (Human Capital Operational Programme, Portugal) and Marco Neves (Sociedade Portuguesa de Garantia Mutua, Portugal) presented the project.
Two more ESF financial instruments supporting students will be operational by 2020 in Italy and Malta.
Chiara Amadori, of the European Investment Bank, also presented the “Skills and Education EFSI Guarantee Pilot”. It is a new EU financial instrument aimed at supporting the access of EU students and workforce to proper education, training and skills development. This instrument will be available before the end of 2019.