Students smart card to be replaced by a direct payment allowance

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Students smart card to be replaced by a direct payment allowanceThe Minister for Education and Employment Evarist Bartolo, today unveiled the student maintenance grant reform whereby the smart card will be replaced by a direct payment allowance into the student’s bank account.

The value of the grant will remain the same as previous scholastic year and no changes will take place in the stipends system.

Following the NAO Report of 2010 in which the management, viability and “ineffectiveness of the smart card scheme” were highlighted, the Ministry said that it looked at simpler ways to support students through a better system.

The NAO report highlighted various shortcomings that allowed students to circumvent the scope of the smart card, a scheme which was costing the Ministry in excess of 175,000 Euros every year as well as considerable human resources.

The Minister said that the new system will not monitor a student’s every purchase putting full trust on the student and enabling him to purchase all educational material from a wider range of outlets, including online purchases without the hassle of bureaucratic processes.

“With more trust comes more responsibility and students will be expected to abide by a number of stipulations enlisted in their application forms,” The Minister added that, “through these stipulations, students who discontinue their studies or have a poor attendance record will have their grants and stipends terminated and will be required to pay back any overpayments paid to them.”

Through the stipends and smart card system, Government was owed over half a million Euros in back payments from 2001. Through this improved system including through the use of e-ID for online registration, the Government will be in a better position to recoup any overpayment to students owing to the obligations of the registration.

As in previous years, University students will be asked to apply for the students’ maintenance grants through the university eSims system upon enrolment.

However students at Junior College, MCAST, Higher Secondary, St Aloysius College, De La Salle College, St Edwards College, St Martin’s College, Verdala International School, FES, Malta Youth Ballet and Sir Michelangelo Refalo (Gozo) will be applying online through the new eforms. Students must have an active e-ID to register.

More information is available online. The education website will be updated periodically with more information and updates for all students.

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