Flunking students will have to return grants

Latest austerity move will leave family-income qualification for scholarships intact but punish academic underachievement

University students who fail to pass half of their courses will have to return their grants under a new decree passed by the Cabinet on Friday.

Under the new legislation, which is due to come into force next academic year, students applying for full scholarships will also need the same grade in their final high-school exams as those applying for college grants: 5.5 out of 10.

Making the announcement after Friday's Cabinet meeting, Education, Culture and Sport Minister José Ignacio Wert said the changes maintained the same income bands, but would introduce a "prudent and staggered amendment" of academic performance requirements.

The new move comes on top of a large-scale rise in university fees due to be applied when the new academic year begins in the fall.

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