By Michela DellaMonica, Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL — Selected ProUni (Programa Universidade para Todos, or University for All Program) students for the 2014 school year are now able to register their documents for either a full or partial scholarship since last week. After presenting identification, proof of residence, proof of income and high school diploma the selected students will receive their earned scholarship money on July 29th and July 30th.
For the current year the program reports providing 115,101 scholarships and had 653,992 registrants. A program of the Ministry of Education, created by the Federal Government in 2004, it grants full scholarships and partial scholarships to private institutions of higher learning in undergraduate programs for Brazilian students without a diploma from a higher level institution.
The ProUni process takes place twice a year with one ENEM (Exame Nacional do Ensino Médio) entry exam done in the beginning of January and the other offered the first week in July.
According to the ProUni website, those who can also participate are graduating high school students from public or private high schools with full scholarships from the school itself. Furthermore, all students who apply for the ProUni scholarships must take the ENEM exam and show results higher than 450 points.
Since the beginning of June 2013, students who scored above 450 on the ENEM 2013 exam, could register their test results and await the selections, which the first selected group was announced in mid June and the second half of the selected group announced the first week of July.
To compete for full scholarships, the applicant must show the total monthly household income, and that the combined income is less than 1.5 times the minimum wage (in 2014 the minimum wage is R$722.90 per month). For partial scholarships, the total monthly household income must be less than the total of three individuals at minimum wage.
The scholarships are provided for the entire duration of the university program, but to continue receiving the grant, the student must pass at least 75 percent of the courses studied in each semester.
One success story from Fernando Rodgrigues who was selected for a full ProUni scholarship to Universitário Senac in São Paulo in 2007 said that, “my overall experience was good, I received the ProUni financial support throughout my five years of my [course studies] and there was never any trouble. I just needed to prove my socioeconomic situation every year since it was required, keep my grades above average and sign a statement of commitment semiannually.”
Earlier this year the government reported that half of beneficiaries from the ProUni are black or mixed-race. The information was disclosed by the Secretary of Higher Education, Ministry of Education (MEC), Paul Speller, seminary which celebrated ten years of the program. Since it was created, ProUni graduated 400,000 students and offered a total of 1.27 million grants, and about 635,000 were aimed at blacks.
In Brazil, 50.7 percent of the population are black or mixed-race, according to the census of the Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics (IBGE). However, the group is a minority in higher education. The Higher Education Census 2012 shows that, of the seven million students, 187,000 are black and 746,000 mixed-race, which represents 13.3 percent of the total.
In 2012, the Brazilian Senate passed a bill that required the prestigious federal universities to reserve fifty percent of their places for public school students. Public universities in Brazil are heavily subsidized and cost little to attend, while private universities are much more expensive and in general less academically respected.
Registration for the ProUni scholarships can be done only through the program’s website. To successfully register, the student must provide their CPF, registration number from the ENEM 2013 exam, and password.