President Santos announced Thursday an expansion of a Colombian student-loan program that will benefit 230,000 Colombian students.
Santos announced that he will boost the government’s student-loan budget to $2 billion, $680 million of which will go towards subsidies for students.
Santos delivered his announcement during the proclamation of this years recipients of Colfuturo’s scholarship program. Colfuturo is a non-profit organization with state support that awards scholarships to Colombian students studying in graduate programs abroad.
Santos praised Colfuturo, noting that since its creation in 1991 the organization had funded 900 doctoral students and 2,300 master’s candidates. Santos further noted that that 74% of recipients were between the ages of 20 and 29 and came from lower class neighborhoods. Santos was pleased that the top destination schools for Colfuturo were the London School of Economics, Columbia University, New York University, Polytechnic University of Milan, and Harvard University, all of which Santos called “the best schools in the world.”
Last week the Colombian minister of education announced that the state budget for public higher education would be doubled. President Santos has also pushed for private money to be injected into the public university system which has met resistance from Colombia’s teacher’s unions.
In 2007 Colombia’s UNICEF education index, which measures levels of literacy and enrollment, was ranked 83rd out of 179 nations.