Scholarship applications being accepted for next year

By Antonio De Jesús Aguado

Currently, 26 sanmiguelenses, 80 percent of them young women, are attending universities on scholarships that cover 100 percent of their tuition. Over the next nine years, 224 more full scholarships will be awarded.

In 2007, the local government donated land valued at 15 million pesos to the Universidad Allende, located behind the new presidencia building.
According to an agreement with the university, the institution must match the cost of the land with 250 scholarships at a value of 60,000 pesos each. These scholarships will be awarded to students from families with low incomes. The scholarships must be awarded each year over a 10-year period (25 per year.) Also according to the agreement, after the 250 scholarships have been awarded the university must continue to award scholarships to five percent of its students. The agreement also states that the scholarships will be administered by the municipality, through a council set up for that purpose.

In 2011, the Council of Scholarships UNE was formed; it is made up by representatives of nonprofit organizations such as the Municipal Institute for San Miguel Women, Mujeres en Cambio, Municipal Institute for San Miguel’s Youth (currently off the council following three consecutive absences from council meetings), a representative from the university and one from the city council (Laura González, president of the education commission).

According to González, the scholarships “have been handed out very conscientiously” and most of those who have benefited are women. The secretary of the city council, Juan Rosario Licea Perales, commented that the requirements for getting one of the scholarships are to have a grade-point average over 8.0 (out of 10), to be an inhabitant of a rural community, and to be from a family with a monthly income lower than 6,000 pesos. González said that calls for applicants have not been published because “the requests are brought to the council by the representatives of the nonprofit organizations, members of the board” and have been previously assessed. Qualified students make a presentation before the council to explain why they are the best candidates to receive support, after which the council makes its decisions.

The scholarships for beginning university studies or for starting high school have closed for this school year, and the awards process for the 2013–2014 has begun. Those interested must request information from any of the institutions represented on the council, or they can request the information directly at the university or at the offices of the city council.

City Secretary Licea Perales said that there are more agreements with other universities such as the ITSSC, but interested students must go directly to those schools to get the information. The Education and Culture Department also provides scholarships for students. “Even if the financial support is not much, students must go to pick up their money, because if they do not, they automatically lose the benefit,” said González.

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