SAIIER 2018:Scholarship and Educational Fund

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Scholarship and Educational Fund


The Scholarship and Educational Fund (SEF) was established in 2008 to provide financial assistance to Aurovilians who seek educational opportunities outside Auroville, including with exam fees. Financial support is provided in the form of interest-free loans, repayable once the recipient begins earning an income.

Activities of the year:

During the 2017-2018 financial year (April 2017-March 2018), 41 loans were disbursed to 33 Aurovilian applicants.

Outcomes:

32 Aurovilians received financial assistance to pursue educational opportunities. Of these, 27 pursued college or university level studies in India, and 1 travelled abroad to study. 3 additional grant recipients received assistance with exam fees, including 2 for CBSE exams (conducted at New Era Secondary School) and 1 for O or A level exams (conducted at Future School).

Reflections:

This year the SEF drastically cut back on providing financial support for exam fees. As mentioned above, just 3 recipients were helped with their exam fees, whereas many more received help in previous years. This was based on a decision made by the group that was partially based on a shortage of funds. Also, it was felt that high school aged students taking exams were too readily applying to SEF for help with paying fees, possibly also including in cases where assistance was not really needed. One of SEF’s primary criteria for providing support is financial need; support for exam fees was cut back to ensure this criteria was met.

This year the SEF also carried out a survey of early grant recipients (see Bajaj Auto projects supported 2017-18).

Another thrust this year has been a preliminary attempt to seek repayment from past recipients who have completed their studies and are now working. The survey described above was in part an effort to connect with these past recipients and determine ability to begin repayment. All repaid funds will be used to provide financial assistance to future applicants.

Conclusion:

The SEF juggles financial constraints with students’ often very clear financial need and academic merit. This year, in addition to providing financial support as usual, the group also implemented a survey. This was done in an attempt to inform and improve on our process going forward.