Brazilian Student Loans policies during Covid Pandemic: Uncertainties, Amnesties and Top-Down Decisions

Authors

  • Igor Gomes Duarte Gomide dos Santos PhD student in Socialeconomic development at Universidade do Extremo Sul Catarinense. LLM from Universidade Federal de Mato Grosso do Sul. Author
  • Reginaldo Vieira de Souza PhD student in Socialeconomic development at Universidade do Extremo Sul Catarinense. LLM from Universidade Federal de Mato Grosso do Sul. Author

Keywords:

Brazil, Education, Fies, Policy, Pandemic

Abstract

In order to accomplish Social Development Goals and international compromises with World Bank and other organizations, Brazil has developed a policy to offer subsidized credit to encourage (and create the possibility of) enrollment in higher education. Based on low interest rates and both public and collective guarantees, Fies has been one of the most important public policies towards a degree. However, since the presidential impeachment in 2015, Brazilian fiscal policies have been dramatically changed, in order to achieve an austerity that would prevent an economical breakdown. In this way, several structural changes were carried out at Fies policies, imposing an increasing burden on university students, most of them already underprivileged. This precarious situation worsened during the pandemic, since federal government refused to impose restrictive contamination measures and, at first, to grant aid to the population. In the midst of this, the Ministry of Education was slow to provide answers and regulate how classes would be taken, since mobility restrictions were defined by local authorities, without any coordination, and it was only on 2022 that an amnesty was considered for students on debt. The present paper aims to identify how this delay in proposing amnesty to Fies debtors impacted individual decisions during more than two years of uncertainty, and what are the consequences in both private and social life. We have found that without any insurance that they could afford to continue their studies during the pandemic, many students dropped out or put their undergraduate courses on hold, only to find out later that these decisions would exclude them from the amnesty. Consequently: (a) there is an unprecedent number of dropouts with a huge debt to pay; and (b) those who struggled and sacrifice themselves and their family to keep up with payments are unsatisfied.

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Published

2024-03-18

How to Cite

Brazilian Student Loans policies during Covid Pandemic: Uncertainties, Amnesties and Top-Down Decisions. (2024). GLS KALP: Journal of Multidisciplinary Studies, 3(4), 10-19. https://www.glskalp.in/index.php/GLSKALP/article/view/17