"The Education Safety Net" Program Keeps Children in Educationin
The Education Safety Net helps children with unemployed parents continue their education
The program has different plans for students at different levels of the educational system. These plans are designed to provide those students encountering economic difficulties with timely assistance.
- Establishing an Education Safety Net platform, office and website: An "Education Safety Net Program Office" will be established, with hotlines and platforms where students of various levels can get assistance. Local educational authorities and schools shall be requested to set up hotlines, taskforces and single contact points.
- Paying education allowances to children with unemployed parents who involuntarily lost their jobs: Concerned about those students whose education is negatively impacted by their parents losing their jobs, the MOE is subsidizing the education of children with parents who have been involuntarily unemployed for one to six months. Eligible students enrolled in public colleges or universities are entitled to an annual subsidy of $10,000, while those enrolled in private schools are entitled to $20,000. Eligible public senior high and vocational school students are entitled to $8,000 each year, while their private school counterparts are entitled to $16,000.
- Applying for emergency relief payments and work-study subsidies: Students from recently impoverished families, those living close to the poverty line and those from disaster-stricken families are given living subsidies by the school depending on their circumstances. Criteria for selecting eligible applicants and the operating procedures are decided by the individual schools.
- Awards for payment of tuition of students on industry-academia programs: The current economic downturn is having a negative impact on students in industry-academia cooperative programs. Starting from the second semester of school year 2008, the MOE began providing awards for payment of tuition to senior high and vocational school students. First- through third-year students unable to continue their programs are given an award equivalent to their tuition. In addition, students from families with an annual income of $600,000 or less are given an award equivalent to their tuition, and those from families with an income between $600,000 and $800,000 are given a subsidy equivalent to half that amount. Students from families with an income of $800,000 or more will receive $10,000 as stipulated in the "Rules Governing Private School Tuition Awards".
- Relaxing student loan criteria: The MOE has relaxed the criteria for granting loans to senior high and vocational school students. In addition to students from families with an annual income of $1.2 million or less or those deemed by their educational institution to be in need of a loan, children with parents involuntarily unemployed (for one month or longer) are now eligible to apply on the school's approval.
- Subsidies for payment of fees: Relaxing the criteria for granting the subsidies for payment of fees to include students having difficulty continuing education as a result of their families stricken by an unusually unfortunate event (including parents becoming involuntarily unemployed, or being laid-off or forced to take unpaid leave), which causes the family financial difficulties and results in the children being unable to continue their education. If the students'teachers visit their homes and decide they need help, the students shall be eligible for subsidies.
- Subsidies for payment of school-run lunch services: In addition to students from low and medium-income families, from families that are experiencing an unusually unfortunate event or are considered by teachers who have visited their homes as being in need of help, those who are experiencing economic difficulties (whose parents have been involuntarily unemployed for at least one month or on unpaid leave) are eligible for this subsidy as long as their teachers are willing to vouch for their circumstances. Primary and junior high school students meeting the above criteria will receive subsidies sufficient to pay for their lunch.
An "Education Assistance Information Net" website will be set up to provide information on the application for assistance and consultation in an attempt to publicize the program and assist students in applying for the required help using a variety of methods.
An "Education Security Donations Distribution Review Committee" will be formed by the relevant organizations, experts and public figures to handle and distribute the funds raised through the program in an open and transparent manner.
Persons enrolled in a Taiwanese college, university, senior high or vocational school (excluding those enrolled in the National Open University, a graduate program for working people, or postgraduate program) who have not studied longer than the usual numbers of years permitted, whose household incomes are NT$1.14 million or less and whose parents or legal guardians have been involuntarily unemployed for one to six months are eligible to apply.
The program plan stipulates that persons whose parents are both involuntarily unemployed may apply for this type of assistance only once by providing either of their parents'information. Those who have applied for other types of MOE assistance such as reductions or waivers of tuition and fees or subsidies for underprivileged college students, or other types of governmental educational assistance (scholarships and awards by the Council of Agriculture for the children of farmers and fishermen, educational allowances by the Council of Labor Affairs (CLA) to unemployed workers'children, CLA awards for workers' children to develop additional skills, educational allowances by the Central Personnel Administration to the children of public servants and teachers, scholarships and awards by Veterans Affairs Commission for the children of veterans with limited financial resources, awards for the children of unemployed Taipei residents etc.) may not apply for this type of assistance.
Schools'work-study committees will give preference to those students with unemployed parents. Criteria for selecting eligible applicants and the operating procedures are decided by the individual schools. In addition to the above assistance, needy students may apply to the Academia Industry Foundation for help.
Awards for payment of tuition of students on industry-academia programs
Donate to help needy students
Every branch of the government is taking the necessary steps to cope with the effects of the current economic slowdown. The program is being financed by a special budget for the new economy revitalization project, the MOE annual budget and the Academia Industry Foundation. Schools at all levels have been requested to contribute to the program with their school affairs funds.
The MOE is urging the public to take part in the program. It hopes that charities can help raise funds, form a consensus among people that society should help needy students, and establish an educational assistance network through various feasible, innovative measures for this worthy cause so that no children are deprived of education.
In addition to the Ren'ai Fund and Save for Education program, the MOE has opened a special bank account for needy students to receive donations from the public. The MOE has launched an initiative to encourage its staff to donate a day's income to help needy students and it hopes that this will encourage others to take similar actions.
Account opened with: Hua Nan Commercial Bank, Sales Department. Account name: "The MOE Special Account 302 for Needy Students". Account number: 100361000041. Please make your donation with a note that reads: Donation to the MOE for needy students.
You are welcome to visit the Save for Education website at http://www.edusave.edu.tw/ for information on those students in need of help and ways to make a donation.