A poll conducted by Insite indicates that the majority of University students are in favour of the Government’s announcement that maintenance grant funds will, as from next academic year, get sent to students’ bank accounts rather than to a smart card. From a sample of 348 respondents, 66% were in favour of it.
The University Students’ Council (KSU) said that this new system will make the purchasing of educational products more flexible. It also means that students who want to buy items online will no longer need to “go through the same tedious process to get a refund”. It will also help Gozitan students who will now be able to use maintenance grant funds to buy Gozo Ferry tickets and pay for accommodation rent. KSU also recommended the reinvestment of the money that the Government will be saving as a result of this new grant system into research at the University of Malta.
This request was similarly echoed by student organization Pulse who “call[ed] upon the Government to invest the savings from such a reform back into the educational system.”
However, KSU also voiced their concerns that this new system will widen the scope for the possible abuse by students of government-funded money. “The Government should work hard to strengthen the mentality that money is not given for any reason and is, on the contrary, an investment for which the student should give something in return,” KSU said. They therefore asked the Government to explain how they will monitor this new grant system to ensure that students spend the money on educational material and extracurricular activities of the type that were previously smart card refundable.