Business Schools: 'To End Funding Inequality, Let's Act Now'

Business Schools: ‘To End Funding Inequality, Let’s Act Now’

TRIBUNE – Students are alerting high school funding difficulties and suggesting solutions, on the brink of the presidential campaign.

This forum was written by the National Office of School Student Management (BNM). The editors are Theo Doyes, Roman Vismara, Julie Louise, Margo Kaemerlin and Danny Leroux.


In October 2021, the National Bureau of School Student Management (Bnem) conducted a survey on study funding with students from more than 25 different schools. By funding studies we mean the financing of all expenses related to our studies: costs of passing competitive exams, daily life, community life, tuition fees.

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The aim of this survey is to understand the origin of financing difficulties and provide solutions. Of the 3,800 students who took part in the survey, 40% are scholarship holders (1). 63% of the students surveyed said they had financial difficulties. We propose five concrete actions that align with students’ expectations.

1. Competently inform and educate students about the financing of studies before they enter the College of Management

Its funding remains one of the main obstacles to pursuing studies in the School of Management. Solutions exist, but due to a lack of accessible information, many students do not receive the help they would be eligible for.

Bnem offers schools to inform students in advance and more efficiently about the systems in place for funding studies. In particular, with a clear and readable infographic about the various utilities and systems laid out. The latter will be sent initially during the oral examinations of the competitions, and in the second phase, schools can remember this information in the email before re-entry. The goal is for every student to benefit from the assistance if he or she is eligible.

2. Funding solutions proposed by students

Information about financing solutions must be accompanied by tangible means that meet the expectations of the students. According to our survey, 27% of management school students believe that setting up a loan, whether guaranteed by the school or by the state, would be the preferred financing solution.

“So it is about expanding the number of interest-free student loans available annually.”Tribune National Office of Management School Students

However, few students seem to know what a Parc loan is, and a feature of this loan is that it is guaranteed by the state. It also has the peculiarity of allowing the debtor to start repaying it when his income reaches a sufficiently high level. This loan was also part of the solutions proposed by the “Hirch Committee” in December 2020. We therefore invite management schools to conduct a trial of the park, over a period of 10 years, while evaluating the effects of such a measure.

In addition, 45% of management school students would be interested in democratizing the interest-free loan, eliminating the additional interest burden. However, the conditions to be met to take advantage of them still make them a minority. Indeed, this loan, with a maximum of 20,000 euros according to the bank, is granted only to a limited number of beneficiaries annually. Moreover, its payment cannot be deferred. These criteria make it difficult to obtain an interest-free loan for students of management schools. This will entail increasing the number of interest-free student loans available annually, so that more can take advantage of them.

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Finally, work-study is a beneficial financing solution because the student’s tuition fee is borne by the company. In addition to the unimportant financial aspect, the work-study program is often a stepping stone to employment within the company where the student has completed it. But there is still room for everyone! We encourage schools to open up more places of work and study by adapting master’s courses for this purpose.

“We encourage schools to open up more places of work and study by adapting master’s courses to this course”Tribune National Office of Management School Students

Rotation must be offered in all schools. In addition, it is necessary for the state to support companies so that they can submit work and study contracts. Until June 30, 2022, assistance of 8000 euros is granted to companies to hire an adult trainee. We want this support to continue.

• 3. and 4. Sigem procedure: greater readability and modification for scholarship students

Sigem’s procedure allows candidates from preparatory classes and submitting for BCE and/or Ecricome competitions to record their integration preferences and know their final assignment at the end of the oral exams. Integration into the school is conditional on respecting this procedure, which includes the payment of a deposit of the tuition fee of 800 euros.

However, 55% of the students surveyed only know a few months before they register for a Sigem (2). If we extend the time horizon, 80% of middle school students will be informed of the Sigem procedure one year or less in advance of enrollment. We want more clarity about this procedure from the beginning of the preparatory class.

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In addition, scholarship holders, although exempt from registration fees (3), you have to pay a Sigem deposit, which causes many complications for some and forces them to find an urgent way to release the required amount. 59% of students face difficulties in paying the deposit, while 70% of them would have passed more competitions if they had not encountered difficulties with financing.

Bnem proposes adjustment to the level of Sigem fees for scholarship students from the 2022-2023 academic year with the following mechanism: the higher the level, the lower the Sigem fee (€700 for level 0 bis at €100 for step 7). This solution would promote equal opportunity, without encouraging affirmative action.

5. Basic, but still expensive, community life: let’s make it easier!

Union life is an integral part of the training of students in management schools and allows them to gain experience that is valued by professionals. However, 83% of students have difficulties paying for union life in their school. Contributions to associations, financial contributions to campaigns or prices for major association events (WEI, sports and technical leagues, etc.) can affect the budget.

“It would be interesting to promote the payment in installments when possible for association events”Tribune National Office of Management School Students

That’s why schools can inform and educate students about the cost of community life before the start of the school year, so that they can organize themselves accordingly. In addition, it will be interesting to promote payment in installments when possible for association events and contributions of a certain amount. Such actions will make community life easier for all students.

The solutions are there, let’s make them come true.

(1) Of which 21.5% belonged to levels 0bis to 2 inclusive, 9.5% belonged to levels 3 to 5 inclusive, and 5% to levels 6 and 7 implied.

(2) 35% 3-4 months ago, 10% 1-2 weeks ago, 9% when registering with Sigem.

(3) Except for the Ecricome competition, the scholarship applicant must pay an amount of €80.

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