In 2011, the government offered €51m in scholarships to 27,000 students to study a foreign language course over the summer. This year the budget has halved to €24.5m due to austerity cuts across the board.
Despite a reduction in funds, the government is still aiming to award the same amount of scholarships as last year, but offer less funding per student. “We’ve changed the amount offered but that doesn’t affect the number of scholarships available to study abroad. We’re going to make adjustments but still help 27,000 people like we did last year,” a government spokesperson told The PIE News.
“We’re going to look for any way to cut superfluous costs of [the programme] in order to reduce the economic effect,” they added.
The scholarships are part of the Comprehensive Programme for Foreign Language Learning (Programa Integral de Aprendizaje de Lenguas Extranjeras) initiative established last year with the aim of promoting multilingualism and to place priority on foreign languages in Spanish society.
Last year’s scholarships (Becas) funding focused on English language courses, offering €41m in total to anyone over 16 years old interested in doing an English summer course abroad.
The bulk of this year’s budget is earmarked for university students looking to study English, German or French
However, the bulk of this year’s budget, €20m, is earmarked specifically for university students looking to study English, German or French outside of Spain. The range of scholarships offered varies depending on the student’s country of choice. Students interested in studying English in Australia will receive €2,645 while scholarships for Malta will be €1,245. The US, Canada, New Zealand, the UK, and Ireland are also valid destination countries for English language courses.
Any country in the European Union where German is the official language is accepted for the German language scholarships of €1,745. The same is offered for French courses with the addition of scholarships of €2,145 for courses in Canada.
Students studying to be educators are eligible for programmes with the same criteria as university students, but only €2m has been allotted for their scholarships.
500 scholarships of €1,255 are available to young students, between 17-20 years old who have an intermediate level of French, to study in France only in the month of July.
The programme also includes an additional 2,000 scholarships of up to €900 for English immersion courses offered in Spain for young students, individuals enrolled in teaching courses and university students.