To increase access to higher education and reduce social exclusion, Kaunas University of Applied Sciences has established a scholarship fund. Of this fund, 10 freshmen who enrolled this year, who met all the criteria, were awarded scholarships of 200 Eur per month for the first year of their studies.
Social responsibility is inseparable from the activities and strategic objectives of the Kaunas University of Applied Sciences. The higher education institution encourages socially responsible businesses to contribute and, at the same time, to solve problems such as social exclusion and to provide opportunities for all to achieve higher education, regardless of their economic situation or social environment.
“We are a socially responsible higher education institution, so we feel obliged to help young people from socially sensitive groups and strive to limit their choice to continue their studies in higher education. In the 2021-2025 strategy of Kaunas University of Applied Sciences, we have planned to contribute not only to the growth of the Kaunas region but also to create added value for the progress of Lithuania as a whole. We cannot dissociate talented students who contribute to Lithuania’s progress through their work. Unfortunately, not all of them can choose to study in higher education because they are limited by financial difficulties. We must help these students,” says Paulius Baltrušaitis, director of the Kaunas University of Applied Sciences.
It is important to note that access to higher education has a significant impact on the further economic and social development of the country, ensures the competitiveness of the state, and therefore it is necessary to increase access to higher education. Until now, social initiatives aimed at socially sensitive groups have been carried out every year at the Kaunas University of Applied Sciences, therefore the establishment of a scholarship fund is another targeted step of the university, which will contribute to reducing social exclusion and increasing access to higher education.
The number of applications received is concerning
More than 120 scholarship applications were received during the selection process in August and September. The selection took place in two stages, during which the designated commission formed a priority row. The scholarships were awarded to ten freshmen who had chosen the study programme at the Kaunas University of Applied Sciences as their priority, had not previously obtained a bachelor’s or master’s degree, and met at least one of the following criteria: the average income of their family was less than 350 Eur per month per person; come from a large family (3 or more children under the age of 18 or 24 if they are studying); ones raise/cares for the child(-en) under the age of 18.
According to P. Baltrušaitis, director of the Kaunas University of Applied Sciences, the large number of applications for scholarships shows that the economic situation and the social environment can still become an obstacle for young people to achieve higher education.
“We are happy to help at least some of the students by awarding these scholarships, thus alleviating the financial burden they face when continuing studies in higher education institution. However, several times the number of applications for scholarships shows that it is important to look for measures to increase the accessibility of higher education,” says P. Baltrušaitis.
Businesses can also contribute to improving access to higher education
The number of applications submitted for a scholarship signal that financial support is indeed needed for part of the students, and in some cases receiving it becomes a basic condition for deciding whether to study or not to study in a higher education institution.
Mindaugas Samuolaitis, Head of Career Centre of the Kaunas University of Applied Sciences, reveals that the involvement of business is also important to solve the problem of access to higher education and reduce social exclusion. “Social partners, in cooperation with higher education institutions, can help young people from socially sensitive groups to discover themselves, gain education and start a successful career path. Every young person has undisclosed talents, but not everyone can succeed in revealing them if the necessary assistance is not provided in time, both financially and morally.”
Companies wishing to contribute to increasing access to higher education and reducing social exclusion and give scholarships to students from socially sensitive groups are invited to contact Mindaugas Samuolaitis:
Head of Career Centre of Kaunas University of Applied Sciences
M: (8 37) 35 11 11