The IKY, or State Scholarship Foundation, was established in 1952 to coordinate all scholarships provided or administered by the Greek government. It controls the distribution of scholarships by having a single application form for all students, who are then assessed and may be awarded a scholarship appropriate to their area of study, level of study, background and needs. Students may also apply for one of several scholarships aimed at different target groups, such as students of Hellenic descent, or those from developing nations.
Greek law also allows universities and other Institutions of Higher Education to award their own scholarships based on academic merit. These are applied for internally at the student’s own university, or may be awarded without any application based on grades achieved..
The State Scholarship Foundation’s scholarships vary in their value. Typical monthly stipends are from 450 to 600 €. Emergency medical treatment is usually provided to all enrolled students. Students who score the top mark in their entrance exams for first year receive an automatic grant of 1,500 € provided they and/or their family are considered to have a low income. An additional 300 € is awarded with no income restriction.
Some Greek scholarships are especially targeted at the study of Greek language and culture. Through the Hellenic Foundation for Culture, the Universities of Athens and Thessaloniki offer study programmes for foreign students to study language and culture. There are also programmes to promote the study of Greek at all academic levels which are funded by private foundations.
Greece is a party to the Bologna Process, so EU students automatically have access to higher education and therefore scholarships, based on their high-school graduation. No-EU students and all students applying for higher degrees will need to have their qualifications assessed by the Inter-University Centre for the Recognition of Foreign Academic Titles in Greece. For non-state scholarships, each issuing body will have their own requirements and many can be applied for while a potential student is still in their home country. Greece is unusual among European countries in providing emergency care for all students of any origin at Greek hospitals, something which is usually an extra condition for receiving a scholarship. Students from developing countries receive full medical care free at hospitals. EU students may also use the European Health Card to access care, which is then paid for by their own country.
In addition to the IKY scholarships, there is a statutory obligation for all Institutions of Higher Education in Greece to provide merit-based scholarships to 1% of students enrolled in each department for undergraduate studies. Once enrolled, these would be available to all students.
The Hellenic Scholarship Programme for Foreign Students from Developing Countries provides a 600 € monthly stipend, free meals and free educational materials. It also provides 1,000 € on arrival and departure for travel expenses, plus an additional 150 € settling-in amount and exemption from tuition fees for Greek language courses and some post-graduate programmes. Accommodation is not however covered. Foreign students can apply for these scholarships through the Greek embassy in their home country.
A student at a Greek University may be receiving one or more of several scholarships, depending on their academic performance, country of origin and field of study. The majority of scholarships are provided by the state, but private foundations also fund study, especially for non-Greek students.