Higher scholarships, meal subsidies for students confirmed

Ljubljana – The National Assembly endorsed an opposition bill on the status of university students that will rise state scholarships by 20% by 2024, increase funding set aside for the construction of student dorms, and raise meal subsidies.

Another notable feature is that a large share of income earned through student work and scholarships, up to the level of minimum wage, will be exempted from means testing.

There are also provisions on assistance to special-needs students, according to Speaker Igor Zorčič.

The bill was tabled by five opposition deputy groups and was initially rejected by the government, but Education Ministry State Secretary Mitja Slavinec said amendments attached on committee made it acceptable.

The legislation was confirmed in a cross-partisan vote. Several deputy groups said it was a long overdue improvement for students that would make their studies easier.

In a separate vote, the National Assembly endorsed a bill to equalise the minimum gross hourly pay for pensioners with the minimum rate for student work.

Pensioners will thus get the same rate as students for work they are allowed to do after retirement, though the net pay will be slightly different due to differences in contributions.

The rate has been set at EUR 4.49 net for pensioners, which is 29 cents more, as the coalition rejected the idea of the original proponents of the bill, the opposition Left, that the rate should be equal on a net basis.