Madrid, 26 February 2019 – Autónoma University of Barcelona (UAB) and Banco Santander have awarded 80 Ithaca Salary Santander Scholarships in a ceremony held in the auditorium of the Faculty of Philosophy. The event was led over by Margarita Arboix, chancellor of the UAB, Matías Rodríguez Inciarte, president of Santander Universities and vice-president of Universia and Gabriel Masfurroll, president of the Social Council of the UAB.
This scholarship program, which celebrates its tenth anniversary, facilitates access to university and the continuity of studies for high-performing young people that come from difficult socioeconomic backgrounds. The aim of both institutions is to promote talent and equity and equal opportunities for these students.
At the ceremony, the diplomas accrediting the scholarships awarded this academic year 2018-2019 and the three previous ones were handed out. Each year, twenty salary scholarships are awarded, they include the payment of 500 euros per month for ten months of the year, renewable over the years of undergraduate studies. The endowment also includes the tuition fee, other campus services and, if necessary, accommodation expenses at the University City, on the UAB campus. This initiative began in 2010 and was the first of its kind to be implemented at a Spanish university.
The scholarship students come mainly from localities in the geographical surroundings of the UAB and from other places in Catalonia. With respect to the careers they pursue, there are degrees from all academic fields.
Joel Seba, first-year student of the Grade in Primary Education, has stated that the Ithaca Salary-Scholarships mean that "effort and perseverance over the years" are finally "rewarded", while "they open many doors to a good future full of dedication and enthusiasm".
Giulia Abbate, fourth-year student of the Degree in Audiovisual Communication, has declared that this aid "is not only a current investment, but also an investment for the future, thinking that if we have been able to get here, we can continue to give shape to everything we have in our mind.
Also, Maria Rodríguez who was entitled the 2017-2018 academic year in the Degree in Translation and Interpreting, has assured that, thanks to the Ítaca Salary-Scholarships, "we have been able to focus on our academic life". She has affirmed that the students who recieved the scholarships have been "very lucky to live and coexist at the UAB", where "they have felt accompanied, understood and motivated".
The president of the UAB Social Council, Gabriel Masfurroll, stated that this is one of the "most relevant and emotional events that we do every year at the university". After congratulating the scholarship holders and their families, Gabriel Masfurroll advised them to take advantage of the opportunity: "if you are doing well in life and one day you can help young people who need it and want it, do it".
The president of Santander Universities, Matías Rodríguez, pointed out that promoting this scholarship program "is part of the commitment that we have had for more than 20 years through Santander Universities to society, education and research, convinced of the decisive role that the university plays in modern societies".
Finally, the rector of the UAB, Margarita Arboix, praised Banco Santander's commitment to social objectives and especially to higher education as it is "the bank that has most committed to universities" and said that education is "the main element of citizen empowerment.
Ítaca Campus for high school students
In addition to the Ítaca Salary-Scholarship program, the collaboration between the UAB and Santander, through Universities, also allows nearly 400 secondary school students to participate in the Ítaca Campus every summer at the end of the school year. An initiative designed to motivate economically disadvantaged teenagers and good academic performance to continue their studies once they have completed the compulsory stage. The students stay on the Bellaterra campus where they take part in recreational and educational activities that allow them to come into contact with different academic disciplines and become familiar with the university environment: they carry out research work, do scrimmages, take part in debates, etc. The program is organized by the Fundación Autónoma Solidaria with the funding of Banco Santander.
Banco Santander and Santander Universities
Santander has a firm commitment to Higher Education that materializes through Santander Universities, a unique international initiative that distinguishes it from other financial institutions. Santander is the private company that invests the most in support of Education in the world (Varkey/UNESCO-Fortune 500 Report) and maintains, through Santander Universities and Universia, more than 1,200 collaboration agreements with universities and institutions in 21 countries. Since 2002, the entity has allocated more than 1,600 million euros to initiatives and academic program.