Santander, through Universia Foundation, encourages the academic progress of university students with disabilities. Since the Universia Foundation Scholarships Programme began in 2007, we have invested upwards of EUR 3 million in more than 1,800 undergraduate, master's and PhD scholarships for disabled students.
We are working in several areas to create an inclusive education system. This work is beginning to show results, as more and more disabled young adults are now going to university. Since 2007, Universia Foundation, with the backing of Santander, has been committed to reducing the gap for disabled students accessing university and to fostering their academic progress and international mobility experiences at universities other than their alma mater.
Beatriz and Isabel Calvo are two examples of how our efforts to make quality education available for everyone are working. These sisters from Catalonia have the same disorder: a congenital myopathy that produces pronounced muscular weakness throughout the body and especially in the extremities. Thanks to Santander, they both managed to complete their university studies.
When the time came to go to university, they looked for financial support: “I looked at different options but, as well as being one of the most well-known companies, Santander is one of the few that offer scholarships for undergraduate as well as master's degrees and it is also the one that offered the most financial aid,” explains Beatriz Calvo.
Beatriz is 22, has a 94% degree of physical disability and has centred her ambitions on science. She completed her studies at the University of Barcelona with an average grade of 8.6 in human biology and she wants to dedicate herself full-time to research into rare diseases.
Her sister, Isabel, 21 years of age, has the same disorder. She has completed her studies in psychology at the University of Girona and is very clear about her goal: to develop her career and continue training in clinical psychology.
Educational inclusion as a starting point
Isabel agrees with Beatriz's opinion that: “Although society may not be ready yet, it is very willing. Through the simple fact of going to university, companies that provide grants like Santander does, are helping to eradicate prejudice."
Since we started our scholarship programme, we have invested upwards of EUR 3 million in more than 1,800 undergraduate and master's scholarships for disabled students.
The scholarship programme is an initiative linked to United Nations Sustainable Development Goal No. 4 : to ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all.
Through the Universia Foundation, Santander supports the inclusion of people with talent and disabilities through higher education and professional development in a society that respects diversity.