The bank committed €110 million to higher education last year through Santander Universities.

Santander’s support for the university community was 56% higher than in 2019, a record increase in beneficiaries in the bank’s history, driven by its strong commitment to bridging the digital divide and meeting social and healthcare needs in the pandemic. 

Madrid, 26 February 2021 - PRESS RELEASE
Banco Santander, through Santander Universities, awarded more than 156,000 grants for study, internships and entrepreneurship in 2020 totalling €110 million, a 56% increase from 2019.

More than 48,800 undergraduates and graduates received grants to develop their skills; over 32,700 grants went to young entrepreneurs to help them launch and elevate their projects; and more than 75,200 grants were awarded for internships and other training and employment orientation programmes.

The strong impact of the pandemic on education, social issues and the economy led the bank to quickly rethink its support for universities in its geographies in March 2020. 

To assist undergraduates, graduates and young professionals in their academic and career endeavours, Banco Santander accelerated its scholarships and grants programme in 2020, with an emphasis on digital transformation and social and healthcare needs in the pandemic.

Covid-19 challenged universities’ ability to continue to educate and support students safely. More than 100,000 people in education benefitted from Santander Universities’ grants, financial aid and supportive efforts for digital transition, thanks to the more than €30 million it had earmarked for the Supera COVID-19 Fund for research; for social causes and the bridging of the digital divide; for students in financial distress; for employability and professional development; and other initiatives. 

To bridge the digital divide among students, the technological resources Santander deployed were fundamental, along with its online alternatives to certain classroom programmes and its mobility grants, which had to adapt to restrictions necessitated by the pandemic.  

Santander also helped vulnerable young people continue their studies, and the #IstayAtHome and #InvestInYourself scholarships for crosscutting, digital and language skills aimed to boost the employability of undergraduates, graduates and teachers. For the first time, those scholarships branched out to new groups affected by covid-19 (such as the unemployed) to bolster their skills in a rapidly-transforming job market.

Through Santander X, Banco Santander ran global and local initiatives in 2020 as part of its commitment to supporting young entrepreneurs. They included the Santander X Tomorrow Challenge, which sought innovative solutions to the socio-economic consequences of the pandemic; and the Santander X Global Award, to identify high-impact projects in need of faster growth and innovation in the early stages of business development.

Part of this change is here to stay, because the pandemic will continue to affect social and university life, and online and hybrid training will be cemented as key responsibilities of higher education. Banco Santander will not waive its support to universities in dealing with these and other challenges, allowing them to continue playing a major role in the future of society,” said Santander Universities Global Director Javier Roglá. 

Santander has continued to show its commitment to education, entrepreneurship and young people’s employment as the foundations of its support for higher education, with digital transformation being the key focus in 2020.

For 25 years, the Santander Universities grants programme has been part of Santander’s commitment to inclusive and sustainable growth, positioning it as a leading socially responsible bank. As one of the largest private initiatives of its kind, it has already allocated nearly €2 billion to education programmes since 2002 and awarded 600,000 scholarships since 2005.