President authorizes University scholarships for tech and med students

(Moscow region) In a meeting with regional governors, University rectors, and the representatives of student organizations across Russia, President Medvedev discussed the issues of increasing scholarships, improving student living conditions, developing campuses and addressing students’ healthcare.

During the meeting President Medvedev announced that he had signed an Executive Order establishing scholarships for students enrolled in university programmes in five areas essential for economic modernisation, as well as scholarships for graduate and undergraduate students for achievements in science and education. The scholarships will be paid out from 2012.

President Medvedev at higher education meetings.

The president started the meeting by stating; “Russia has more than nine million students, which is 6% of the population. I think this is a very substantial figure if we compare Russia with other countries. It is vitally important for the country that young people receive the kind of education that is most in demand and later take up competitive positions in the economy and social sphere, that they become modern, thinking and creative people who have the opportunity for self-realisation.

“The first thing that is of great concern to students is the financial aspect and their scholarships. The scholarships students receive today are not very big, 1,200 rubles. Scholarships were always modest, also at the time when I was a student, but in comparison with the purchasing power today, in real terms scholarships have become smaller than they were in Soviet times.

In September authorities raised the average scholarship amount by 9% and up to a 20% increase for high ranking students.  Scholarships across Russia are awarded in accordance with criteria set out by the Russian Union of Student Organizations.

Students at Moscow State University.

Mr. Medvedev had earlier in the day signed an Executive Order on awarding scholarships to students enrolled in higher education institutions which train personnel for the five priority areas for the modernisation of the Russian economy. During 2012 students at these schools will receive 7,000 rubles, while graduate students will get 14,000 rubles. In addition Mr. Medvedev said that government scholarships will be paid to undergraduate and graduate students in the amount of 5,000 and 10,000 rubles, respectively. As a comparison, based on today’s trading 1 Ruble converts to .31 cents (USD) and 5000 rubles equals $159. dollars. Annual tuition, books, fees and dorm costs vary from $6,000 to $15,000+ depending on the region, the university and the course of study.

The president also addressed student accommodation by saying, “It’s no secret that many student halls were built decades ago, some even hundreds of years ago, and they are morally and physically obsolete. I remember my own student years. The dormitories at Leningrad State University were appalling. I am from St Petersburg so I lived at home, but when I went to the dorm to visit my friends I couldn’t believe that people not only slept there but they also studied and managed to learn something and get good marks.”

The president issued a challenge to regional governors in attendance, promising that Russia would not only renovate existing buildings, but also build new dormitories, which meet modern sanitary and safety standards.

Russian President Medvedev watches a Russian student in class.

Recently Russia has announced plans to build new campus facilities at other universities as well, in particular at the National University of Science and Technology MISIS, and in other regions, not only in Moscow or the Far East.