In general, there are a variety of grants available for students. These are administered at by all levels of government, but the main volume and expenditure is from the national government. Grants are awarded chiefly on the basis of need, but there is a merit element too, so students need to maintain a minimum grade-level to continue to receive a grant. As part of the austerity programme currently in place in Spain students must pay at least 15 to 25% of the real cost total cost of their studies, depending on their circumstances. This means that even with a grant a student must also make a significant financial contribution to their fees.
There are no government guaranteed loans or other centralized systems for student loans in Spain. However, there is a specific government loan scheme for Spanish students entering a Master’s programme. As well, several private universities have partnership agreements with banks to facilitate private student loans, chiefly for higher degrees.
Government grants range from 244 to 6.240 € per year, with the average grant being 2.500 €. Grants are based on a combination of need and academic performance. They cover books and materials, meals, costs of living in residence, transportation and other costs directly related to the needs of studying. In addition to the grant, tuition fees are waived for recipients. There are no tax exemptions for students or their parents in the Spanish tax system, and family allowances for students are not given. These grants are administered by the central government and are applied for through Ministry offices or as a part of the application for a University. Loans are applied for in conjunction with, and conditional on, an application for studies at a specific university.
Students must be resident in Spain and be either Spanish or EU citizens to be eligible for the government grant system. Due to the current emergency legislation grants cannot cover more than 75% of the costs of studies.
Students seeking a private loan for studies must be resident for tax purposes in Spain. They will often need to have a guarantor, who typically would be a parent, but in any case would have to be someone permanently resident in Spain for several years.
For the Master’s programme loan scheme, a student must spend no more than 21 months completing their studies. The loan is interest-free and is to a maximum value of 22.800 €. It must be re-paid over a 20 year period, but the recipients income must reach a certain threshold before this requirement is triggered.
EU citizens who are resident in Spain can apply for a government grant on the same basis as a Spanish student. Students from countries outside the EU are not eligible for government grants.
Loans linked to enrolment at specific schools, usually private ones, may be available to international students. Interest rates are higher than for Spanish residents and there is a cap on the total amount, which may not be sufficient to cover all costs.
The government grant system is the major form of grant in Spain. Some grants are also offered by regional and local governments. Loans under the government-sponsored scheme for Master’s students, or through private affiliations between universities and banks are offered by a number of different banks.